I have heard that children usually don’t start making lasting memories until they reach close to the age of seven. Although I think my father might argue with you seeing as how he remembers shag green carpet in a house he lived in at the age of three. But this story isn’t about him.
Strong memories made in early childhood are usually associated with some kind of trauma. For my mother, that trauma was a squirrel. As a child, she grew up on a large piece of land in southern Florida. Her grandparents land that housed many animals for her to make friends with. She had a pet skunk who would stomp his feet for cheese at the fridge. At one point her grandfather brought an injured baby alligator home. I believe I remember her mentioning a show pony that was left by a circus making a pit stop on the land. And of course Dewy the goose, another point of childhood trauma.
When a little girl who grew up with so many unique animals in her childhood saw a cute adorable little squirrel she figured he was her friend. My mother has the rare gift of finding a friend in a crowd. I have heard that her grandfather was the same way, he would meet someone and figure out how they were connceted.
My mother decided that she was going to feed the squirrel and as any wild animal might do it bite her. My mother says after the bite she clearly remembers two things.
- She remembers her pregnant mother standing between her and her grandfather. Her grandfather, the one who finds your connection to him, had a snake bite kit in his hand, and as my grandmother tells it the thing was probably from world war two. My grandmother wanted to take my mother to the emergency room.
- She remembers getting rabies shots. I think she mostly remembers how bad her tummy hurt after each one. Her mother would take pillows and help use them to keep the seatbelt off my mother’s needle prodded stomach.
When I was a little girl my mother had a garden. Her green thumb is another gift she got. She will spend hours sitting in the dirt, pulling weeds, planting new flowers, growing all kinds of herbs.
An all too well-known enemy came back to her. The squirrels. Of course, she wasn’t going to go anywhere near them. But my little brother and his BB gun could. so she sent him outside to shoot away the squirrels. Of course, I don’t think she actively encouraged shooting them, just near enough to get them to move along to the next house.
I remember waking up on a weekend to my mother banging on the walls like a crazy person. She was talking to her self telling ‘it’ to go away. The next thing I knew she had pulled the attic door down and was climbing up making a racquet and fighting with an invisible foe. I thought she had lost her mind. When I asked her what was going on she told me There is a squirrel in the attic and I am trying to get it to go away she then asked me if can you hear it. Eventually, after a few failed attempts to get rid of the squirrel, she called a professional to come to get it out of her house.
I asked her what they were going to do with it, she said I do not care as long as it is far away. She then followed it up with I love all living creatures, except squirrels and geese.
So you see my mother must hate squirrels.