This post is in response to this week’s prompt at The Red Dress Club. We were asked to write about our memories from either Kindergarten or First Grade.
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My memories of my childhood are a bit scattered, a bit faded, and some have been completely erased by time. I have tried to recall my early life, years spent living on my grandparents farm in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. I have tried to drudge up memories of the military life we led in Northern Kentucky that my dad recalls so fondly. I catch glimpses of things I did, people I saw – tiny bits of memory that fade as soon as I concentrate on them too hard.
I do not recall Kindergarten at all. I recall three things during my first grade year of elementary school. One of them is a vibrant memory that has actually haunted me through most of my adult life, so I chose to share that today.
When I was 6 or 7 and living near Louisville, Kentucky, I had a Guinea pig named Ignat. Being the non-creative child that I was, when we bought him a wife, I named her Mrs. Ignat (I wish I was kidding). He was the first pet I recall having, aside from the pet cow I had on the farm (oh boy, that’s another story entirely).
Ignat was adorable, squishy, cuddly, stinky and squeaky. In other words, he was perfect. We kept his cage in the bathroom and during the winter, subsequently, Mrs. Ignat caught cold and died. I don’t recall caring too much that she died. I honestly don’t even remember her at all, I just have the knowledge that she existed.
We lived on the military base, which was a trailer park. We had a single wide, two bedroom trailer and from what I recall, it wasn’t very fancy…just a basic trailer in a trailer park. The bathroom was very cold and very drafty. I vaguely recall being able to look at where the floor met the wall and there being a teeny tiny crack that was open to the outside. That may just be my memory playing tricks on me…
Ignat became sick and eventually died. I was devastated. I recall very few things about my childhood in Kentucky, and almost nothing at all about my time in North Carolina. But this? My beloved pet dying on me? I remember being devastated. I was crushed. I couldn’t wrap my little brain around the reality of death, especially when it happened so fast. One day he was there, squeaking away, and the next? Gone. To my little 7 year old mind, little Ignat dying was the end of the world.
I couldn’t say the damn pig’s name without breaking into tears until I was about 25. I am serious. It was my first pet. It was the first thing that I lost. My dad used to like to torment me as I was older and make me cry by bringing it up. I would have to run out of the room as tears filled my eyes.
Of all of the things I could remember from my early childhood, that is what sticks in my brain. The emotional trauma of losing that damn guinea pig! I don’t even know where the hell I got that strange name. Who names a pet Ignat?!
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OMG! I found a picture of my with my little Ignat! What is more shocking than the fact that I actually have a picture that survived Hurricane Andrew is that….I have the same haircut right now! I guess I’m more vintage than I thought!