Growing Up in the Midwest


First Memories

It is believed that memories are best retained when they involve emotion and coherency. They make sense in the construct of the other experiences organized in the brain. Other experiences just slip into oblivion. Everything that happened between my birth and my eighth birthday did not register in my brain.

My earliest memories involve the unordinary in my life–my first vacation with my parents. It would be the longest vacation I would ever take with my parents. These memories could be deceptive. They may be nothing more than an imaged forged through another person’s account or a photo of an event. However, I think I remember family events that occurred sometime between age 5 and 6 during a family trip from Iowa to Colorado. My parents could never agree about the exact year of the trip. They were in agreement it was sometime between 1950-1951. The trip was made in a 1949 two-tone green Chevrolet.

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My Dad and I beside our 1949 Chevrolet

My memories include a stop at an eating establishment that featured both cowboys and Indians. There were teepees and other vestments of the Wild West. I think the emotions of the bizarre foods and Indians, teepees, and horses caused my brain to recall this family time. Buffalo and baked beans were served from the back of a chuck wagon (field kitchen).

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A Typical Chuck wagon

We also visited a cave in the Denver area. It was dimly lit and damp. I remember a bit of fear in the darkness. When everyone was warned to watch their head while passing through a low ceiling in the cave, I bent over just like all the adults. Everyone laughed at me. Isn’t it strange how such an experience can affect a person in a number of ways? I could have felt criticized and began to fear crowds. I believe I liked the attention and for good or bad it might explain some of my behavior since that time.

I forgot to ask my parents during their lifetimes about what cave we visited. It was probably the Cave of the Wind in Colorado Springs, the most visited cave of the area. I also remember it was really cold and desolate at the top of Pike’s Peak.

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