Earliest, Most Vivid Memory

I have not read a lot of books about writing. I own a lot of them, but aside from Stephen King’s On Writing, I think a majority of them are unread. I may or may not own Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, though according to my GoodReads I read it in 2007. Darling Ones, I’m pretty sure that’s a big, fat lie. As, I’ve begun listening to the audiobook version of it from the library and this all brand-new information.

So much brand-new information that I had to google Anne Lamott to see if she’s as goofy-looking as she claims. Aside from the unfortunate white woman dreads she sports, she seems perfectly fine to me.

Right now she’s going on and on about how great a likable narrators are. It was boring and I disagreed so I turned it off.

Instead, I came here to do one of the things she suggests — writing down everything you ever remember.

My earliest, most vivid memory is my cousin Colleen’s funeral. She died in July 1976 at the age of 17 from bone cancer. I was four. I remember she wore yellow in her casket, and my dad picked me up so I could see her lying there. I remember that I wore purple polyester pants, with a weird faux crease thing down the front of each leg. The top was fuzzy, but not a sweater, and I think it had a drawing of a Mexican man (maybe men) in a sombrero and a donkey on it. Seriously, what the fuck was my mom thinking? I’m sure she got it at KMart. I’m pretty sure 99.9% of all my clothing came from KMart until I was in 8th grade and had outgrown all KMart had to offer. I mean that in a literal sense. I was 6’1″ in 8th grade.

The other thing I remember about my cousin’s Colleen’s funeral is running around the luncheon portion with my cousin Wendy, Colleen’s youngest sister, who would have been five. In my memory, someone stopped us from laughing and running and chastised us. We didn’t understand the solemnity of the day. Not even close.

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