Not sure if this is made up — or not. Can’t ever say, as the human mind is a tricky place, and mine might be tricker than most.
My earliest memories are not parents but grandparents, my father’s father. Family lore, as handed down from mouth to mouth, strictly anecdotal? Familial myth holds that my father told his father he couldn’t see me until my grandfather was sober. Apparently, my grandfather had a bit of a drinking problem.
My earliest memories?
My grandfather, holding me on his knees, or in his lap, and I was probably in diapers of one variant or another, and he was smoking. I know, now, that he smoked L&Ms, in the box, like Marlboro Reds, L&M stood for Liggett and Morris, purveyors of Virginia Tobacco, or something.
I was on his lap, in some kind of a meeting, and I was eye level with a gold-hued ashtray of some sort. There was talking, and praying, and talking, and books, and coffee. Laughter. Best guess, lots of coffee. Papers shuffled. That ash tray is seared in my memory, never saw what was in it, but I recall cigarette smoke.
Sometimes I wonder if it is a manufactured memory, and it might well be, except that I was eye level with that ashtray.
I didn’t identify the brand of cigarettes until long after he left this realm.
There’s another memory, real or imagined, of his big toe, poking out of sandals of some sort. I must’ve been a rugrat at the time. My first six months, so family myth holds, we lived in an apartment over my grandfather’s place. I remember his toes.
He had a magical workshop in the back garage. That much is true.