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strange things remembered

October 27, 2011

For a lot of years I had a recurring memory of standing at the top of a long flight of stairs. There were so many steps that the drop off was foreshortened, as an artist might depict a road disappearing down a long hill. At the bottom there was a small expanse of wooden floor and a wall. The wall had a window, high up, with a colored design of flowers in the glass.

I was standing on a landing looking down. To my right was a shorter flight of stairs and at the top of those three or four steps there was a wide hallway. At the far side of the hallway I saw my mother standing in the bathroom door as though she were saying something to me.

On my left, as I stood on the landing, there was a window through which I could see some leaves and the upper parts of another house.

The picture was very clear in my mind and still is today.

The second image I remembered was of me sitting at the bottom of the long flight of stairs looking up at my mother who was standing on the landing. The stairs were again foreshortened and my mother looked smaller than I knew her to be. I don’t remember crying until I recognized my mother. Then I yelled. Until that point the memory was completely silent.

Through my childhood and much of my teens I had no idea where the memory came from. I suppose I simply regarded it as the remnants of some strange dream.

Then at some time there was a family conversation regarding how I had fallen down the stairs when I was just a baby, barely walking. We were living at 1010 Tuscarawas Avenue in New Philadelphia. All of my conscious memories were of the house where my grandfather lived further down the same street. Mom and Dad had moved in there to take care of him when he wasn’t able to care for himself or live alone. I think I was about three.

The recurring memory of the stairs and my fall was from the first house almost before I could talk well. No wonder I had no frame of reference to make it seem real. When I heard the story I began checking details. I recalled them all just as they were in the house that I only remembered in that one instance.

I think it was neat that I could then and still can so vividly remember something that happened when I was so young. I have no other memories of that age.

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