Early memories

Hi everyone,

I just finished responding to questions for an upcoming interview, including one about a favorite memory. I value memories, especially those earliest ones. I can think of four glimpses of me when I was three.

In one case I was playing in the basement. My parents kept a (wait for it . . . ) turtle down there. (Is there any wonder that I goo foff with turtles today?) Anyway I was sliding it across the concrete floor until my mother realized what I was doing and came to the poor creature’s rescue. Later in my life I wrote the book, CONNECTING DOTS, which was all memory-based, and I included a poem about that poor creature in our basement that suffered at my childish hands. Thanks, Wendy Murray, for being such a sensitive editor for that highly personal collection. Some of you may have read the poem but here it is.

by David L. Harrison

I remember the turtle
beneath the basement stair.
I see him sleeping there.

Maybe he’s dreaming of clover,
shade beside a tree,
days when he was free.

When he awakes he lurches,
searches through the gloom
around across the room,
scratches at the stones..
Methodically he crawls,
scrapes against the walls.

The walls mark his prison,
but even if he knows,
on and on he goes.

I remember the turtle –
when I was only three –
whose courage was lost on me.

© Boyds Mills Press, 2004.
By permission of the author.

Anyone else have an early memory to share? Have you drawn from it the inspiration for a poem or story?


5 comments on “Early memories

  1. When you’re a wee critter
    And you look like a toy,
    Say your turtle prayers
    And say farewell to joy,
    When you hear the monster
    Known as LITTLE BOY.

  2. The turtle-love runs deep in your psyche, David. They ARE courageous and noble creatures— I rather fancy them myself. We had a small one as a pet when I was… oh… maybe five. Though what I remember most was flushing him down the toilet ceremoniously when his time was up. (Alas, his courage was lost on me as well.)

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