This week’s Weekly Writing Challenge:
“Set a countdown timer for 10 minutes, choose one of the writing prompts below, and just start writing. Whatever you do, don’t stop for ten minutes. Keep your fingers typing. Write what you remember. It need not be accurate — it’s your memory. Do not judge.”
I remember our house, our house I’m told was in Tracy, California. Did I know where that was? No, not at the time, not with any geographical reference. Was it near Los Angeles or near Stockton? I remember that question posed to me by a new grade school teacher after we moved cross country to Ohio. Was it near Stockton? My shoulders shrugged and my head shook side to side. Shy on that first day.
But those aren’t my first memories. My first memories are snippets, snippets centered around that one house, the little inconsequential remembrances that somehow, for some reason stick way in the back of the mind.
Closing my eyes, breathing steady I can see the little white house, flat roof, single-care garage, green trim… I think. I remember being brought home by a neighbor after a trip to an ice rink. It was late and my mom carried me inside as I had dozed off on the way home and was faking still being asleep as she lifted me from the car.
I remember early in the morning, Saturday mornings stepping with caution across the light brown shag, keeping an eye open for cockroaches. Cockroaches that may or may not be there but the fear was fixed upon me after seeing one, one time scurry out from under the couch. The thought of stepping and crunching one under bare feet set squeamish shutters up and down my skin.
I can remember being awaken by my dad, back from a business trip. Happy to see him but too drowsy to do much more than say good night before rolling back over in my green race car bed he made himself out of plywood for a birthday one year.
Eyes closed again, I can watch the Sesame Street prime time special on the small color TV again. The television set upon the flimsy stand. We’re all sitting together on the couch, me, mom and dad. Grover was talking in his high-pitched voice bobbing his head with each syllable. Then the shaking started or was it a barely perceptible rolling roar that we first felt more than heard. Dad herded us out the sliding glass door out into the backyard. A big backyard, plenty of room for a kid to run around in and play with Judd, our new Irish setter. Under the covered patio my rabbit in his cage, scratching about. The shaking, the rumble stopped well before we made it outside, us all looking around waiting for something more perhaps. It was my first earthquake, minor of course, inconsequential but it stayed, set in mental stone, one of my earliest memories.