My First Memory

Posted by Davidd Birko on
Category: Childhood50 Comments

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Forgive me, I know it is a little early to be talking about Christmas but I promise I do have a good reason. As we have thrown the old Jammy Toast away and have started over, I thought I would start right at the very beginning with my first ever childhood memory. Now, I don’t want any sniggering at the back when I relay this tale, because whenever I tell anyone that is their usual response. The first thing I can remember was at Christmas time and I was about four or five years old. I remember my Dad was at home for once, him being in the Merchant Navy he was away most of the time. So, Christmas that year was going to be a good one.

I remember getting up and there was a massive parcel all wrapped in Christmas paper waiting for me downstairs. I tore off the paper and there was a blue, metal, pedal car. I was made up. The weather outside wasn’t too bad so I was wrapped up in a coat, hat, and scarf and up and down the path I was racing in my brand-new pedal car. It was tiring work pedalling the car so I stopped at the end of the path to catch my breath. I remember a feeling of euphoria; life couldn’t have been better. It was Christmas morning; I had a great new toy and I was out playing in it while Granny (who was probably called mummy in those days) was cooking the dinner.

I sat there at the end of the pathway looking at the houses opposite. Suddenly I noticed a sleigh parked on the roof-top of one of the houses. I couldn’t believe me eyes. I looked on in amazement as Father Christmas climbed out of a chimney pot, got into the sleigh, and flew away into the morning sky.

I know you are all thinking; the old fella has finally lost it, but I swear on everything I own that is what I saw. A few years ago, I started researching online thinking that maybe I was a nut, or something, and it turns out that childhood hallucinations are more common than I first thought. For years, kids’ tales of seeing, hearing, and experiencing things that weren’t there, were considered part of an invented world – an “overactive imagination”; a “fantasy world”. The Alice in Wonderland approach. But as it was recognised that hallucinations can be reliably identified in children, science began to look at why these imagined experiences are many times more common during our early years.

Hallucinations often reflect a bizarre, blurry version of our realities and because play is an everyday reality for children, the content can seem similar. Both can contain quirky characters, strange scenarios and inspire curious behaviour. One child described how he saw a wolf in the house, another that he had “Yahoos” living inside him that ate all his medicine. On the surface, these could just as easily be a child’s whimsy, but genuine hallucinations have a very different flavour. “In play and make-believe, children are imagining,” says Elena Garralda, a professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at Imperial College London. “They do not have the actual perceptual experience of seeing and hearing.” Another key difference, notes Garralda, is that “hallucinations feel imposed and children cannot exercise any direct control over them”.

A recent UK study found that almost two-thirds of children reported having at least one “psychotic-like experience” in their lives, a category that also includes unshiftable and unrealistic beliefs and fears. When focusing purely on hallucinations, a review of research found that 17% of 9-12-year-olds have these experiences at any one time. The number roughly halves in teenagers and drops again in adults.

It is interesting that hallucinations become less common as we move towards adulthood. Because very young children are more difficult to test and haven’t been studied as widely, it’s not clear whether we start out in a more hallucinatory world, which becomes increasingly stable as we age, or whether middle childhood is a peak time for unreal experiences. For all its reputation for causing emotional mayhem, puberty might be a stabilising force on our perceptions.

One thing on which the experts agree, is that hallucinating does not cause a child any harm. They do not put much credence into their hallucinations and tend to shrug them off, I know I did when I saw Father Christmas.

So, if you did laugh when I told you of my childhood hallucination, bear in mind, as Christmas approaches, I shall not be putting in a good word for you with my childhood friend with the beard and the red, fur-lined jacket.

So there!

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Posted By

Davidd Birko

A sad and lonely old man who used to have a life but it has now been taken over by his dedication to the cause of saving teddy bears, running Jammy Toast and searching eBay, car boot sales, charity shops, lofts and even under beds for unwanted bears. He has even now taken in Flat Eric to save him from homelessness – his life is no longer his own!

50 Comments on “My First Memory”

  1. Like you’re not on the naughty list now. Shut the feck up! You have done some BAD ass things Dad so lets not be deluding ourselves here that you’re on a good list somewhere :roflao: CRYING!

  2. I have a theory: Maybe with all the energy you were expending with your nice, new pedal car (I hope you still have it!) all the blood pumping extra oxygen and nutrients into the outer corners of the brain of your small child’s body caused you to see your bearded fur-lined jacketed friend. That’s my take on it.

    Or maybe it was a burglar.

  3. Gagging for a pint but buggered if I’m going into a pub and risking 2 weeks off for a swift one. Just been to M&S food hall though. Is it acceptable to neck half a can of 2.8% sitting in the car?

  4. I tried my dog on cbd oil a while back it worked wonders but she was throwing up jelly the next day. I’ve just tried it again an if it doesn’t work who wants her cos I’m gonna lash her in the loft?

  5. Barbara loves to be stroked, but has always hated being picked up. Not any longer! He often visits Jeanette’s plot and she has got him used to it now. I’ve never had a problem with being picked up, but we are all different, aren’t we?

  6. Rolf report 16 Sept

    You can take the cat out of the campus but you can’t take the campus out of the cat. Even though I’m hanging out with my campus mom Dr Claudia at her house, I’m still near to mementos such as her university cats exhibition poster & her FoR certificate.

    Rolf x

  7. Our destruction of nature is truly horrible. But perhaps the most alarming thing here is that this barely makes the news. Because that means that as it is now, we won’t be able to change it. The public opinion needed will never exist if people aren’t even aware of the problem.

  8. I’m truly bowled over by all the lovely comments about The Red Planet… hopefully some Red Planet shows next year… already planning!

    Two more days of filming for the RWYouTube TV. It’s going really well and it’s a lot of fun to film… I just hope it’s as much fun to watch!

  9. It’ll be a relief when Barbados becomes a republic, to tell you the truth. The time difference means one has to reign in the middle of the night; and it’s tiring at this age, one doesn’t mind telling you.

  10. My daughter was convinced she had £110 saved but she only has £100. I told her she must have counted it wrong.

    On a completely unrelated note the window cleaner turned up today.

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