第四天:童年的记忆 Day 4: Earliest Childhood Memory

I read memories earlier than the age of three are often too hard to recall. Any detailed memories stored in the deepest recesses of my mind have also faded, thanks in part to a phenomenon known as “childhood amnesia.” In a similar vein, I may be guilty of storing false memories, mainly because I do not have concrete recollections, as say my husband ZJ does.

He remembers aspects of his childhood so vividly, and recalls dates, dinners, outings, and even conversations he had with me early on in our relationship. ZJ wonders off at times, and I wonder what memories he will extract, translate, and share…

I could have talked about the memory my parents aided me in recalling; my grandfather, 爷爷 yeye, dad’s dad, loved to feed me fruits, and he would pit the cherries then halve them before I inhaled them from his hands. I still love cherries, albeit the rainier kind, to this day.

The memory in its entirety will not be the earliest one but uncovers an early connection I unknowingly had to China.

One of the earliest childhood memories I have held onto is my parents reading to me. I requested Where the Wild Things Are on so many occasions that I memorized and recited the book, claiming it as the “first book I read.” We still have many of the books, including Where the Wild Things Are and Lon Po Po, in storage or collecting dust on our bookshelves.

Ed Young’s Lon Po Po is touted as the Chinese version of Red Riding Hood. Lon Po Po is written from the three children’s point of view, who happen to be three sisters (my family is also comprised of three girls). The majority of the illustrations are divided into three pictures per every two pages to form a larger picture. Young also employs dark colors to set the tone of the story.

Young translated and illustrated Lon Po Po, winning the 1990 Caldecott Medal for the books’ illustrations.

My little birdie ZJ said 狼婆婆, Lang Po Po, the Chinese fable does resemble Red Riding Hood and many variations of the tale exist, as is the case with most fables.

I of course was oblivious to all of this until months ago when ZJ eyed his way through my bookshelves as we moved items from my bedroom to our living quarters on the first floor of my parents’ house.

Much like when I was about seven or eight, after being chastized, I told my parents I would go in the backyard and try to dig a hole to China, I’d like to think this event and early memory had something, subconsciously, to do with studying abroad, living abroad, and marrying in China.

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Cover of Ed Young’s Lon Po Po

What is your earliest childhood memory?

Check back tomorrow for day five, where I fess up to a number of my guilty pleasures…

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