I have early childhood memories of being surrounded by family in East Orange, New Jersey. We moved to New Jersey when I was very young; just a little baby and then later, my parents bought a house in East Orange. Recently I was looking at old pictures and there is one picture of me staring at a toilet seat as I was getting potty trained. I was 18 months old and I had those baby shoes from the 1970s and there I was, looking so cool and staring at the potty. I have vivid memories of the times in our house in New Jersey and my parents would have company over; family, friends, co-workers. They would even have parties back in the day and I would sit at the top of the steps and listen to all of the laughter.
We lived under an hour outside of New York City, Harlem in particular, and we would visit my grandmother (also known as Granny) very often. She was my father's mother and we loved her dearly. My dad would drive over to Harlem and we would spend the day with her and sometimes travel to Brooklyn and Queens to visit other family members; especially around the holidays.
While in Brooklyn, we would visit my great-grandfather, Granny's father and he was the best! He was 6'5", thin and was always smiling. Maybe that is where I get my smile from. My earliest most vivid memory of him was when I was 9 years old and he gave me a record player for Christmas. I thought this was the greatest gift ever and I think today it still is. I remember smiling from ear to ear and we put on records! See, there were no CDs or DVDs back then in 1980. We proceeded to have a dance contest with my new record player which in my mind, I won! My family all gathered around and we made the most of our time together.
A few months later, my great-grandfather passed away but his memory continues to live on in our hearts and passed down to my children. I still remember his smile and his height as he was the most gentle man with a good heart. I think about the times with my family and smile knowing what we all meant to each other. I tear up at times while walking down memory lane but I think this is good and makes me appreciate the life I've built and the walk to my journey.
What is your earliest childhood memory? Is it time with friends or family? Something else? Share in the comments how you think your childhood has shaped the person you are today. To keep the memories going, I began scrap booking a few years ago to preserve the memories and pictures. When I think of my loved ones and see the pictures, I keep the memories close and my smile bright.