From first days of walking until after my third birthday, Mum would strap me into a tight harness, at the end of a long rope, attached to the even longer cloths line. An ingenious kenneling technique allowing her to get on with the endless chores of a 1960’s housewife with six kids, and expanding the playpen into a large patch of grass, framed with gardens, hedges, a large pear tree, and gravel driveway. I’d busy myself for hours digging, squishing, pebble flicking, bug watching, cat peek-a-booing, and shrubbery fort exploring. We didn’t have a TV.
My earliest memory is between one and two years old, after playing in the backyard, standing filthy at the porch kitchen door. Mum heaves me up and through the kitchen to the circa 1950’s deep porcelain sink. Completely disrobing me during the flight from door to pantry, sitting me bare bum on the kitchen counter, legs dangling in the basin. Gotta get me clean before I get the whole house dirty. A threadbare washcloth lathers with Ivory under running water. In less than a minute I’m soaped, rinsed, wiped, and dried down with a tea towel, digging deep into nostrils and ears. It’s a good memory.