My first memory is pretty clear. What’s not clear is whether it’s real.
Here’s how it goes:
I am small because I am only 5. It was 1949. I am in the bed of my maternal granddaddy’s Ford pickup truck. My sister, who would have been 8, and my granddaddy, age unknown at the moment, were standing beside the truck.
We are outside the farmhouse where we lived in southwest Georgia. The subject of conversation was my impending first day of kindergarten. I was apprehensive.
My sister, who was kind to me when I was young, was telling me how much I would like kindergarten. I don’t recall my granddaddy saying anything. He was the silent type, and he died when I was 12.
A few days later, perhaps it was the next day, I recall entering kindergarten. My mother delivered me, and I squalled like a stuck pig but — as is often the case — I settled down quickly when my mother vanished from view.
The teacher likely was a nun. I recall nothing of her, but I spent kindergarten and First Grade in a Catholic school even though my family is not Catholic. It simply was the best school in Albany, Georgia, or so thought my parents.
By the Second Grade, we had moved to Jacksonville, Florida, and I went to public school from then on. I always did well at school. From kindergarten to LSU, I got good grades, and teachers liked me. I was a very good boy.
It was only later that I went haywire.
As I say, I am not sure if that memory, there in the Ford pickup truck, really happened. I think it did. Memories — like life — can play tricks on you.
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(Tip of the sombrero to Jennifer Rose for this topic idea. Alas, I think I’ve written about this before. But I cannot remember.)