Finding the First Memory

You may have experienced telling parts of your own life story to others as a way of communicating who you are -- your identity. Families often have stories that are "handed down," or retold from one generation to another, remembered and repeated as part of the enjoyment of being together. Friends enjoy recounting personal experiences. Close relationships involve the sharing of a story.

Remembered and retold, these memory-stories undergo creative changes. The selective use of language increases interest and dramatic effect. The creative act of remembering shapes our understanding of the events of life. The remembered past becomes a work of the imagination.

"Life imagined as a journey" may begin with a First Memory. Imagine and write a description, in the form of a short story or poem, of your first memory or of an event early in your life that seems particularly vivid or important.



If possible, ask each of your parents and grandparents to describe his or her own First Memory. Record and transcribe the stories carefully. Compare and contrast the language of your story with the stories of your family.