Most people I talk to have no memories of anything before the age of four or so. Sometimes not before five or six. I don’t know why, but I have several very clear memories from age two.
My father was deferred from the draft because of medical school, internship and residency, finally being called to active duty in January of 1945. Although the war would soon wind down, there were plenty of military families needing pediatricians.
Dad’s first station after training was Camp Barkley, near Abilene, Texas. I was two when we moved there, and we left before I was two and a half, but I have two vivid memories of the place.
There was a tree in our front yard with two branches coming out of the trunk low enough to the ground for my four year-old sister and me to sit on them. We were pilots, and those branches were our cockpits.
My other memory of that place is sorta strange. Our back porch had wooden steps leading up to it with open spaces between them. We could look through the spaces and see an old iron on the ground under the stairs—the kind of iron people used to use that had to be heated on a stove before using it on the clothes. We could never reach it, but I remember how that old iron intrigued my sister and me.
Dad’s next post was Camp Fannin, near Gladewater in East Texas. I was a little over two and a half when I came down with encephalitis. I’ve been told since that if my dad had not been a recent med school graduate with knowledge of sulfa drugs, which were new at the time, I would have died. The old doctor my mother took me to at first had no clue what to do for me until Dad got there.
The thing I remember was the ambulance ride. They had to rush me 120 miles or so to Parkland Hospital in Dallas, and I remember lying in the ambulance and looking up and my dad and his friend Dr. Jack Mallord hovering over me.
Ø What are some of your earliest memories from childhood? Want to share one with us?
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