Happy New Year, everyone! The start of a new year is a perfect time to sit back and reflect upon past experiences. You can’t get any more “past” than your first memory!
Do you know those wooden standees that have the faces cut out? I’m sure you do. You stand behind one and stick your face in the hole, then someone takes a stupid picture of you as a lion or a strongman? They are always poorly painted pieces of plywood, with no sense of perspective and suspect balance? Yes, those.
I was maybe 3 or 4 years old. I had a big head full of curly brown hair, giant blue eyes, and I was excited to be visiting the Purina Farm in Missouri. The farm had one of those questionably built, standing cut-outs of a circus wagon. The ringleader was up front driving the wagon and then there were various animals in the back with holes for heads – so children could get their pictures taken as a caged gorilla or a caged lion or a caged elephant. I was so excited at the prospect of pretending to be an indentured animal that I jammed my head right through the hole. Because of my oversize baby head and baby ears, I found myself unable to unjam my head. I was stuck.
The rest of my memory is spotty, but I recall a wave of panic. I recall the crying. I recall discovering that if your face turns purple, your mom gets very worried. I don’t remember how I got out that Damned Circus Wagon, but I heard rumor of a chainsaw being involved. The last bit I remember was the employees on the farm bringing me cup after cup of lemonade, to make sure I was alright. And so we didn’t sue.
That was my first memory.