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Buble gum and adventures

This is entry #3 for the Bloganuary challenge. Today’s prompt is “What is the earliest memory you have?”

Our brain is an interesting concept, it tends to forget things to make room for new memories, at least that is how my brain works. But in fact, I think I never forget things but somehow put those memories into an “archive” section that is harder to access.

For today’s prompt, I tried to access as much data in this archive section as I could.

The memories I have are of mixed ages, one from when I was 2 years old and two other ones from a bit later in life, 5-6 years.

2-year-old adventure in town

The street and the fence of the house where I grew up until 6 years old

When I was a small child I lived in a smaller town than I do now, most people knew lots of other people in town, small distances to every point of interest and so on.

I vaguely remember an adventure I had on my own when I was 2, almost 3. While I was playing outside, my parents were not always with me or checking out on me every second.

In one moment when I was not supervised, I suddenly felt the urge for adventure so I left home and went to a family my parents were friends with. Problem is that that family lived quite far from where we did, around 200 meters until a bridge across a river then another 700 meters, so almost 1 kilometer. This is a big distance for a 2-year-old.

The distance across the river until where my adventure ended

The route until my destination crossed important roads with heavy traffic, a bridge across the river, and so on.

When I arrived at the friend’s house, I did yell and rang the doorbell, but they were not home. So the logical answer would be to go back home, right?

Well, remember I was a 2-year-old little boy. Instead of thinking about going back home, I started to think about where is the next family I know stays. It was around the same destination, maybe 200 meters further to go and it was the family that has cows and we were buying milk weekly from them, so I did the route with my parents a lot. Easy peasy.

I arrived at the destination, went into their house, and started playing with some toys they had from their grandchildren or something like that.

After a few minutes, the lady that sold us milk weekly saw me playing in their house, she saw that I am alone and asked me where my mom is. I said “I came alone” and she was shocked. She quickly figured out that my mom might be searching for me and took me back home where indeed my mom was retracing my steps to find me, but she did not think that a 2-year-old boy would wander so far from home.

Bubble gum

A bit later in life, after my adventure above, all the cool kids were buying “Turbo” bubble gum that had stickers with cars and motorcycles.

Think of those stickers like a modern NFT. We were trading between us duplicates or some of the bigger kids were even requesting money for some cooler cars.

Whenever I had a few Romanian cents I was buying Turbo gum.

Looked something like this (very Eastern European):

River activities

The last memory I am going to share is about the river that was crossing right in front of our house: Aranca.

All the kids in the neighborhood were doing activities at the river. The bigger ones were doing baths, the smaller ones… weird things like throwing rocks from the bridge or fishing with… jars!

I was sneaking into the storage room where my mom kept empty jars and I kept taking jars to fish with them. I was tying a rope around the jar’s neck and from the bridge over Aranca lowered the jar into the water to fish. The problem is I was mostly ending up breaking those jars into the rocks in the water or not tying the rope too well and they dropped directly into the water, breaking.

One day, I and one friend thought we were bigger kids now and we went down beneath the bridge where there were some car tires in the water to form a “dam”. While we were jumping on those car tires, I slipped (wet feet + rubber not a great mix), fell into the water, and went slowly with the flow. One important mention: I did not know to swim. The water was not very deep, but it was enough to take me with the flow. I started yelling at my father and mom, it was my “luck” that the river was near our house and my father heard me. By the time he arrived to get me out of the water, I was on the other side of the bridge.

My friend that was with me quickly ran away because he was scared. I ended up being ok, but remember one detail? Under the bridge, there were lots of broken jars from my failed fishing activities. So I ended up with some deep scratches and a memory I can never forget.

Ending

I have many more memories from Sannicolau Mare, the city I grew up until 6. I could keep going about gardening activities with my parents, being scared of chickens, playing Bible stories acts in the pig’s nest/stable, eating weird fruits from the garden, fruits that to this day I do not know the real name, going to Church and staying with my mom in the orchestra spot, many many more.

But those memories might be boring for you, so I already made this post too long and I am going to end it here.

Every happy memory created for a child is another treasure of a lifetime.

Donna Marie

Material possessions get old and wear out. Memories last forever.

Frank Sonnenberg, Soul Food: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life

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