My First Memory

I remember sitting on furry brownish-green 1970s carpet in our house in Castro Valley (Hayward), California. Above me was my pregnant mom, sitting in the old upholstery-covered rocking chair. She was cross-stitching something (not an uncommon activity for my mom). The room was dark – whether it was night or day I don’t know. But I remember darkness. I remember artificial light – a fire place ablaze or a lamp perhaps.

What are you making? I asked.

A new comforter for your bed, Mom said.

It was colorful, with needlepoint images of farm animals and the words Old MacDonald’s Farm at the top of the barn. She would later attach the cross-stitching to red material to make the comforter and a yellow trim bordered Old MacDonald’s Farm.

But I don’t want it, I said.

You don’t have to have it, Mom said. I’ll give it to the baby.

But I don’t want the baby to have it either, I said.

Mom didn’t argue with me. She sat quietly, concentrating on her sewing. I was feeling ambivalent – about the comforter and this new baby coming into my life.

Mom sewing the comforter. Ambivalence. And our old home. These are the elements that make up the first memory I can recall. I was 3-years-old.

I must have made peace with the blanket my mom made for me since the comforter lay on my bed for many years to come. Mom later removed the Old MacDonald’s sewing and mounted it within a red frame, which hung in my bedroom for as long as I can remember.

The beautiful framed comforter – lovingly made for me by my mom – now hangs in Sophie’s room, with no ambivalence associated with it.

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