What is your earliest memory? Describe it in detail, and tell us why you think that experience was the one to stick with you.
The first memory that pricked my two-year-old brain happened on a warm summer evening at the summer camp where my father was athletics director. I stood outside our cabin with my little sister and our friends. Bugs swarmed around my head.
“Swat at them,” said my friend.
Searing pain sent my index finger throbbing while I stared at something the size of a needle with a yellow tuft on its end. My mother gently removed the bee stinger with a tweezers, rinsed my finger, and abated the pain with a kiss.
The next day I walked out the cabin door, heading to the dining hall. I screamed. Shocked still, I watched my father run toward me from the dining hall. Another stinger stuck out from my heel. After being soothed once again, I ate dinner tucked in the crook of my father’s arm while he discussed with the other men how to combat this army of bees.
That night my sister and I watched from the window as my father stood guard over the burning railroad tie in front of our cabin. The next morning, I surveyed the charred remains of the hive and bee carnage. Then I walked confidently to chapel in my white sandals.
Like the stings that inspired them, these memories stick in my brain. I learned to be wary of advice, even from a friend. I discovered pain happens to the innocent. But, I cherish my mother’s soothing kiss on my finger, my father running to my rescue, and the protective nightlight of the railroad tie burning.