Reverse Shot – What’s your earliest memory involving another person? Recreate the scene — from the other person’s perspective.

You asked for an early memory. This certainly fits that bill. Funny how I have to come back to life to write this for you, but we all live on, at least in the memories of our children, friends, family.

It was a cold, pre-dawn morning in New York. Marilyn was in her crib. We were still been living in that terrible old house in Freeport because Marilyn was not speaking yet. After she found her words, she never stopped talking … so this had to be early.

I heard her crying. When I came into the room, she was standing there, in her crib. Just looking around at the lights, at the old dresser. There wasn’t much light. No sun is shining at four in the morning and in those days, you didn’t automatically turn on lights when you entered rooms. The legacy of the war, I suppose.

The room was mostly empty except for my little daughter, that old dresser — I think it came from my parents house — and the white, wooden crib. Painted white. Probably with lead-based paint. We were terribly uninformed in 1948.


Marilyn, April 1948

I stood there. Looking at my daughter. She stood there, looking at me. And smiling. I was so tired. The house was cold. The steam wouldn’t be up for hours yet. But she was happy, glad to see me. Too young to worry or be afraid. Life is simple for the very young.

We watched each other. Exhausted mommy, perky baby. After a few minutes standing, holding onto the crib’s railing, she let out a wail. It startled me and I turned on the lights, lifted her from the crib. She cooed a little something. A happy noise. I cooed in answer, a mommy sound with no special meaning. What mattered was I was there and holding her. Easy to make a little one happy.

She stopped crying. Mommy was there. I wrapped us both in blankets, moved the rocking chair in front of the still-dark window. Then, we sat, rocked, and waited for sunrise. And the steam to come up.

Categories: Anecdote, Personal

Tags: , , , , , , ,

23 replies

  1. Amazing that you can remember so far back- to me you nailed what your mother would have been thinking. Lovely post.


  2. That story left a lump in my throat Marilyn. It’s a beautiful thought.


    • I have no idea what my mother might have been thinking … or even if she would remember it. It wasn’t a big deal, just the first thing I remember and it was pre-words. The ONLY memory I have from that far back.


  3. What a cute baby ! You were a sweet child. So full of sweetness post.


  4. Beautifully written!


    • Thank you 🙂 It was a little weird writing it, as my mother died more than 30 years ago.


      • I couldn’t have done it. I have early memories of my mom, but they’re not good. I was one of those babies who cried a lot for “no” reason (colicky baby?) and there were times when that made my mom feel hopeless and like a failure, times when it made her angry, and times when it made her nurturing. I know from later discussions with her that the doctor told her that I was probably bored and that was the only thing I knew how to do. Now I think it was acid reflux which I ALWAYS suffered from. I had dreams of a person when I was very small — it had masks. I opened a door and there was the person and it would take off one mask after the other. Terrifying. That was my impression of my mother and that’s how she was in my earliest days, poor woman. I must have been a terrifying infant since I was very tiny and apparently very fragile. Not so fragile. They’re all gone and I’m still here. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • My mother told me about my always waking up before dawn, before the heat was up and sitting wrapped in blankets waiting for the sun and the heat, so I added it to the story. My mother was exhausted from my brother’s birth until we grew up and moved out. She wasn’t very nurturing, but once I became a person she could talk to, she was a good friend. She hated cooking and housework. I think in another time and place, she’d have skipped the kids entirely.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Interesting! My mom was the opposite. She was a great mom when we were little kids. When we became people with our own ideas (many of which we got from her) she stopped liking us at all. She wanted more children — it would have been good if she’d been able to have more children. She could have spent time raising little kids and by the time they got to be 12 or 13 my brother and I would’ve been gone and she wouldn’t have even known. 🙂


  5. I love this! I love the picture of you! What a little cutie pie!


  6. Reblogged this on LIFE IS FUNNY.


  7. It was a difficult prompt which you mastered well. A memory to treasure.


  8. Aww, that is a beautiful memory 🙂



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