It is yellow. It is hot. Grainy waves of heat radiate from the pavement. Yellow and hot, must be Texas. The hills are yellow, the grass is yellow, the dirt is yellow. Even the adobe houses are yellow. My earliest memory must be Texas. I am playing in the garage of a neighbor. For shade? Maybe. Certainly no ac in the houses of that neighborhood.
A woman asks me to come in now, it is time for dinner. I stop what I am doing. Look around. “No.” I say, “I want to go home now.” I start to back away and she reaches for my hand. That is my first memory.
Another Texas memory, another yellow day under another yellow sun. I am in the backyard. I am by myself. I am “exploring.” Suddenly my skin is on fire, stinging, hot, biting. I look down and my feet and ankles are covered by ants. Biting red ants. I cannot move, I cannot scream the horror is so overwhelming. For seconds I stand there, a statue, as the ants climb my legs, my voice comes back and I scream, scream and run. The teen-aged boy lounging in another yard runs and picks me up, brushing ants off me as my mother, baby on her hip, rushes out of the house. Second memory.
Third memory. Now we are in Alaska, Randy was a newborn, so I must have been six. I am waiting. Waiting! My Brother, sister and I are in the driveway, we have been there for an hour because we are waiting. Finally, far down the street we see the Oldsmobile turn the corner, towing a camper. We scream and run, pure joy. The car has to stop or it might hit us we are running circles around it. And in the car? My grandparents.
After that, I can remember an awful lot. My mother playing the Beatles on the record player and all of us dancing in the living room. My dad, tackle box spread out, teaching my brother how to tie flies. My sister, tagging along after me, “Let’s call her Bunny” I say, but it doesn’t catch on. My family, around the dinner table, talking, laughing, a little bickering, maybe even some singing. And these memories are powerful.