What are your very earliest memories?

What are your very earliest memories?
by Ari Siletz

It’s a fun game, digging up very early memories. Someone told me once that she remembered being so young she had not yet learned to speak. I believe her!

Here’s one of my oldest memories, circa four years old:
Picnic by the river. Cloudy day. Starts to rain (Sizdeh bedar maybe?). A village woman(?) said to me, “If you take two river stones of exactly the right shape and tap them together, the rain will stop.” She took her time finding the right stones.Tapped them together. It stopped raining! I'm still wondering what that "right" shape was.

An earlier memory than that has to do with seeing a kid in a koocheh playing the harmonica. When I described the koocheh to an aunt, she said I could not have been more that three years old when we lived in that house. Oddly, the kid with the harmonica had ugly blisters on his mouth. I don't think that part of the memory is real. Likely I started whining that I wanted a harmonica too and an adult told me it would make my mouth ugly. I think kids that age can't tell the difference between reality and imagination.

What are some of your very first memories?


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Anahid Hojjati

Good idea Ari

by Anahid Hojjati on

to ask your kids about their earliest memories of you. I should do the same with my daughter.

Ari Siletz


by Ari Siletz on

What a touching memory. May your father rest in peace.

Anahid: Somehow your comment and farshadjon's reminded me that I should ask my kids what their earliest memory of their father is.

JJ: The worst thing about not writing on paper anymore is that you can't make paper airplanes out of computer screens.

As far as I'm concerned the Iranian title eengleesee outclasses any knighthood, especially if the title was earned in Abadan.



Thank you for the blog, Ari!

by farshadjon on

I was about three years old. My plastic bike was broken somehow, when I was playing with the kids in the street and when my dad returned from work, I told him “baba jon, Boom Boom shekasht”.

My dad gave me a ride to the nearest toy store and bought me a brand new” Boom Boom”.

Rest in peace, Baba jon!

Anahid Hojjati

My parents have told me of this so

by Anahid Hojjati on

now I can picture it but I if they had not told me, I am not sure I would remember it. I share it since it is a bit unusal. Apparently, my parents were not too happy that when I was very young, may be toddler or a bit older, when we went to "bashgah arvand" for dinner, I used to go to other people' s tables and start talking to them. I think it shows that I was very sociable but I don't think they were too thrilled about it. I have other memories too but i have no idea what age I was. Many of these memories, I would have to check with my parents to know how young I was  but I remember going to Annex with my aunt, also I remember our summer trips to Tehran when we lived in Abadan but then we made summer trips until I was 7. I remember eating Ferni and that must mean that I was very young since they gave young kids that but I would have to ask my parents about how old we were when they last fed us that. I think this is interesting topic, too bad that I did not think of it today to ask them. It would have been perfect time to ask them.

Jahanshah Javid

English memories

by Jahanshah Javid on

My earliest memory is the floor on Mrs Willis' house and a couple of toddlers in diapers crawling about.

Mrs Willis was English and she ran a nursery for the children of oil company employees in Abadan.

I know you've been making a lot of English jokes these days, but I'm kidding you not.

The other early memory I have is Mrs Asghari teaching me how to make a paper airplane. It was so thrilling to see it fly. Mrs Asgari was by the window ledge in one of the rooms in our house in Abadan; at the time I believe it was #113 Braim.

By the way, she was English too :)

I swear I've said the truth!

Ari Siletz


by Ari Siletz on

Agree about shame being learnt. I actually remember one of my first lessons. Took a chunk of cone sugar sitting outside our local maghaazeh and proudly ran home with it to show my parents! I was so pleased with myself. The exhilaration seems like instinct now--as though a social primate in the wild had raided eggs in a bird's nest and brought food for the family. I fully expected to be rewarded with approval. But, Mom, why is it OK to steal cherries from our tree? Well dear, the tree wants you to take its fruit; that is why it puts sugar in it for you. That is how baby trees are made. So, Mom, our chickens want us to steal their eggs? Is that how baby chickens are made?  Well dear that's a bit....The instruction in shame had to do with regarding other humans (the sugar owner) at the same level as other living things. Still a complex study in shame after all these years.


Planned Post: never forget to keep all letters

by ComraidsConcubine on

 The first letter I received, I was advised to keep. Marriage proposals to a 3 year old... I still do this with emails. It sometimes comes in handy.




Shame, Joy or Fear!

by Faramarz on

I am almost certain that shame was not the reason why I ran away. After all, shame is a “learned” emotion and is not instinctual (I am talking well above my pay grade here! Maybe Monda can explain it better.)

At that age, the emotions are very basic and primitive; like fear, joy, pain, etc.

Now, since there was no pain in seeing that girl’s round figure, it must've been joy and fear which is consistent with the rest of my attitude towards women, since you have read many of my posts!

Zigmond, Roohet Shaad!


Ari, possibly true

by Monda on

Sometimes childhood memories are scaffolded by grown ups. But I think the true meaning and gist remains in one's psyche, as longs as unmediated. I mean there are people who seek meaning in or healing from a childhood memory, through narrative therapy for example. Over long periods of work, those memories may take new paths by touching/ creating new neural pathways.

I enjoyed reading the contributions on your thread as much as your blog. Thank you. 

Ari Siletz

Thanks for the memories

by Ari Siletz on

The memories shared here, road, stairs, sunlight, snow, feeling accepted (loved), being carried, have such a pristine pre "I" feeling.

Haiku by a second grader:

Rain dripping down light
Twirling whirling coming fast
Round and soft it comes

(no "I" yet with this kid; he's just being alive)


Faramarz, did you run away from the naked girl because you felt ashamed? Supposedly shame was the first instance of human type consciousness for Adam and Eve. Wonder if that is when "I" is born.


Azadeh Azad

18 months old and in awe!

by Azadeh Azad on

I have a memory that my mother attributes to my being 18 months old.  I processed the meaning of what I saw later on, of course.

I am standing on a vast and high veranda overlooking a large backyard covered in bright white snow. I’m gazing at a snowman.  It’s cold but the sunlight is warming me. I am wrapped in heavy clothing and I notice that everything is huge.  My mind is blank, but I have this feeling of awe! I turn and see my mother's hands.

The reason we are sure I was 18 months old: the high veranda was part of my grandparents’ house, which was knocked down in the beginning of the summer before I turned two. My mother remembers the very heavy snow of the previous winter and the huge snowman my uncles had made.



Shazde Asdola Mirza

At 2, was going up a set of stairs.

by Shazde Asdola Mirza on


Dear Ari and Paykar

by divaneh on

Dear Ari,

I was lucky that some nail roots were left. The nail grew back again but I have a funny looking finger. You are right to point that we were lucky to survive. I have been even luckier later in life. Perhaps you should write a blog about cheating death. I am sure many people here have cheated the death at least once.

Paykar Jaan,

Thanks, I would like to congratulate you on your win too. And with regards to the age and memory, in Abadan people remember everything from the age of around three months.



by Paykar on

Bazigoush Divaneh! I am glad you won out over the other millions!


My earliest

by Paykar on

memory dates back when I was five; my mother used to send me to a Maktab to learn Ammah gozev from the local mullah!! Look how I turned out:)

Scientifically, most of what we think as memory formed in really young age<3, are recreation in our minds based on narratives we have heard in later years during our childhood. 

M. Saadat Noury

The best and most beautiful things in the world

by M. Saadat Noury on

I remember it was cold. We were walking through a road near our home in Tehran. It was winter and everything was covered with snow, which looked marvellously white. I do not know. But I think I was about five-years old at the time. The road that we were taking was too slippery to walk on, so people were taking turn carrying me, passing me from one set of arms to another.
The details about where we were going are vague, but the memory of those arms and the feeling of acceptance I had is one of the most vivid memories of my childhood. That feeling is still in my heart. Though I am not either blind or deaf, this reminds me a line from Helen Keller -- the famous American author, and a handicap, both blind and deaf. She wrote: "The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen, nor touched, but felt in the heart."
More: //iranian.com/Features/2001/December/Nouri/index.html


One of My Earliest Memories

by Faramarz on

I must have been around 3-4 years old and we lived in a two story building. An Armenian family with two teenage girls lived on the first floor. (All these details were given to me by my mother many, many years later.)

One day, I went downstairs and opened a door, I guess out of curiosity. There I saw a naked girl checking herself in front of a big mirror in a dark room. The roundness of her back is the image that is tattooed to my brain after all these years!

I ran away and went upstairs and I guess never mentioned it to my father. He would have remembered it, I am sure!


Actually, AH

by Onlyiran on

I was a pretty good student all the way up until my second year of high school.  Made "shaagerd aval" many times (that one I remember my parents bragging about--and we actually have some photos of "shaagerd aval" ceremonies) until then, and I still graduated with a pretty good "moadel") in high school. 

Anahid Hojjati

OnlyIran, may I ask what kind of student you were?

by Anahid Hojjati on

My guess is that you were an average student. Not bad not good.  If you were a bad student, you would remember the bad grades and being punished for them. If you were a good student, you would remember teachers liking you and getting star and sad afareen and all the commotion Iranian schools had for the good students. This is just a guess.


Ari, No, I don't (sadly)

by Onlyiran on

Oddly enough, though, I have a mental image of a music teacher that I had in elementary school.  I forgot his name (began with an "S"--have to ask my parents).  But that's all I remember.  Just a silhouette of his face.  

Ari Siletz

LOL, pendar

by Ari Siletz on

Mehrban: Still the operating word, "bekhaab!" Yep, sleep makes it so much easier for tyranny.

Monda: Is it true that imagined situations register as real events in kids' memories?

OnlyIran: Do you remember your first grade or kidergaten teacher?

Divaneh: Ow!  Top of the list of major hazzards for kids. Then there was falling off the swing, and drinking bug spray. Scorpion stings, dog bites and other wildlife hazzards also come to mind. How did we survive our childhood? How much fingertip did you lose?

Anahid: Happy memory, a sibling being born. It doesn't feel that way at the time, though.  My brother was born when I was six. I was a bit jealous, but nowhere near as jealous as the family dog. Perhaps because I was allowed to hold the baby for a few worried seconds, and he was not even allowed a few seconds to lick him. 





First my universe went dry, and then the opening...

by پندارنیک on

Mine is, of seeing the new world upside down for a short while.........I think it shaped my personality profoundly!!



by Mehrban on

Loved your story of perfectly shaped stones and rain.  They say ones true  desires stay the same as they were at 5 years old.

Pressing memory, 3 years old, my parents fighting........ horror.

Later, compulsory afternoon naps, ........first (?) taste of tyranny.

Nice blog Ari.


Great blog!

by Monda on

I did a lot of thinking for my first developmental psych class. So these memories are self-confirmed and reconfirmed, 1) Abadan, around age 3, put down for an afternoon nap, wrapped in my naneh's chador in a dark room, gardener peaking through the window - I felt uncomfortable 2) Around age 4, after eating so many konaars, with friend off of their huge front yard tree, I needed to use the bathroom, had to wait a life time until their bathroom got fixed 3) around 5, my sister playing circus with me, holding me by my wrists, swirling until she got dizzy and let go. It took her years to resolve that guilt, even if I still think that I took the bump on my nose from our dad : )


Good topic

by Onlyiran on

I always get accused by my parents of faking loss of memory about my childhood.  But I honestly don't have much memory of it.  I don't know why.  I remember glimpses of my childhood...our home in Iran, our firends, etc., but nothing consistent that I can think off, and I can't really tell what age I was in the glimpses that I do get.  Even my teenage years.  I can't remember much of that either.  And I'm not "blocking" anything either.  I had a pretty normal, happy childhood.  

Some people have better memory than others.  I have also read that you can "train" your memory.  Perhaps I haven't done a good job at that.   


Yes, I remember

by divaneh on

Me (perhaps 3 years), my playmate, my finger, big metal door shutting, lost tip of my finger, darkness.

An earlier one was me, an empty room, a glowing electric heater, a fork, a kick back from an electric shock, burned fuse, everyone running to the room, me crying with fear.

I think an earlier than that must be where I was in a place with millions of others like me ready for a race.

Anahid Hojjati

My first memory is also from when I was 4 years old

by Anahid Hojjati on

When I was 4 years old, my younger and only brother was born. I remember that it was a big deal since he was the first son. I don't remember being upset about all the attention about him being born. I was fine with it. I don't remember much details. I have some other memories from when I was that age or close to it.  Perhaps, If I followed its details and talked about them with elders in the family, I may find out exactly how old I was, but for now, I have to say that memory of my brother's birth is the first that I remember. Interesting blog, thanks Ari.