Welcome to the Chubby Chatterbox Newsletter, where I’ll be posting favorites from the Chubby Chatterbox archives. In addition, my complete thriller Return of the Mary Celeste will soon be serialized here for those who have asked for something beyond a regular post.

My novel is based on a true event, arguably the greatest maritime mystery of all time. In 1872 the crew and passengers of Boston brigantine Mary Celeste abandoned their seaworthy ship and its valuable cargo, vanishing in the middle of the Atlantic. Speculation over their fate has never abated. History records that after the Mary Celeste tragedy no one from that fateful voyage was ever seen again. History is about to be rewritten…

Return of the Mary Celeste


Tragedy struck the brigantine Mary Celeste on the morning of November 25, 1872. The hourly log was later recovered from the deserted vessel; At 8 a.m. the last notation was made. By 9 a.m. no one remained aboard to chalk the next entry.

Something had terrified Captain Benjamin Briggs and his crew, prompting the seasoned skipper to make a decision certain to affect not only himself, his ship and crew, but his family as well—his wife and two year old daughter were aboard Mary Celeste. Much ink has been spilled in fanciful and scientific attempts to explain the calamity that engulfed this perfectly seaworthy ship, yet all that is known for certain is this: in a matter of minutes Captain Briggs became convinced that the only way to save their lives was by ordering everyone into a hastily launched lifeboat. By giving the order to abandon ship, he also launched the greatest of all maritime mysteries.

On December 5, 1872, a month after leaving New York Harbor, Mary Celeste was found drifting on a calm and empty sea. The ship was in fine condition, perfectly intact with valuable cargo safely stored in her hold, but the crew and passengers had vanished. None were ever seen again.

Until now….

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Early Memories

July 22, 2015


I accept the fact that the human brain is an incredible device with a photographic memory, but I have my doubts when people claim they can recall their own births. I’m thinking about this because last night I had a peculiar dream. Actually, it wasn’t really a dream, it was a recollection of a situation that happened when I was six months old. But since I was asleep at the time I guess it technically qualifies as a dream.


I’m a baby in my crib, and it’s unbelievably hot. I’m sweating profusely and wearing only a diaper. Something other than the heat is bothering me. I’m too good natured to cry. Mom will later say that had I been colicky like my older brother we’d still have been a family of three because she’d have killed herself. I just lay there and play with my toes. I have a feeling I won’t be able to do this much longer. Then the bad thing starts happening again.


It’s a hissing sound, one I’d grow up to associate with snakes, but there isn’t a snake in my bed, it’s the fitted sheet beneath me. It’s too small for my mattress, not that I know what sheets and mattresses are. All I know is that if I move, the thing under me sticks to my back and the cloth at the corners of my crib come loose and slither toward me. I don’t like it one bit.


I remember trying not to move, but I’m a baby and babies aren’t good at staying still. Like I said, it’s hot and sticky, and now this thing pinned around my middle is soaked with something that doesn’t smell good. I’m not happy, not happy at all.


This is the dream/memory I relived in my sleep last night. Nothing dramatic, only I know it isn’t a dream. I talked to my ninety year old mother about it. “I have a memory that goes back to when I was around six months old,” I said.


She laughed. “No you don’t. People can’t remember that far back. Whatever it is you think you remember, it’s just something someone told you, something you forgot and then it came back to you.”


“But this isn’t anything anyone would have bothered to tell me.”


I described the dream to her. To my shock, she was silent. It didn’t last. “That is strange,” she finally admitted. “When you were six months old we briefly lived in a place called Airport Village near the old San Jose Airport. We were housed in these metal buildings from the war.”


“Quonset huts?”


“Yes, that’s what they were called. All metal, and my they were hot! I haven’t thought about living there in…in, I can’t remember the last time!”


“What about the sheets?”


“I couldn’t keep them on your crib. They were cheap and shrank something awful when washed. We didn’t have money to replace them. I haven’t thought about those sheets in years. But I must have mentioned them. I just can’t remember.”


“Mom, do you think you did?”




“Then maybe this is my earliest memory.”


“Why is it always something about you? Has it occurred to you that maybe you’d be more successful if you focused less on yourself? Why don’t you write more stories about me? Did I ever tell you about the time…”




Not me. I’m told I was much cuter than this.



What is your oldest memory?



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I don't go back that far--wow! But I did write about my earliest memories for a college class assignment. (I was 2 years 10 months old when my brother was born.) https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=3861821963101964309#editor/target=post;postID=5188483646766443028;onPublishedMenu=posts;onClosedMenu=posts;postNum=20;src=postname
By: Rita McGregor on July 22, 2015
I have several from about age 5 forward. Nothing from my infant or toddler years.
By: Terri @ Coloring Outside the Lines on July 22, 2015
I have a lot of memories... or snippets of them, anyway... from the time I was about three years old or so, but nothing earlier. From the time I was born until I was five, my older brother and I shared a bedroom, so what I'm about to tell you happened somewhere in there. My guess is I was maybe three. I woke up screaming, and insisted there was something bad in our room. My father must have been working the midnight shift, because it was my mother who came running into the room with a butcher knife in her hand. The "something bad" turned out to be my nine-year-old brother's coat hanging on the back of the bedroom door, with a Halloween mask at the top. It even scared my mother at first. Whether my dear brother did that on purpose was never ascertained.
By: Susan Swiderski on July 22, 2015
Wow. I can't remember even close to that early. It reminds me of a Homer Simpson line: "Do you know how many memories I have? Three! Standing in line for a movie, having a key made, and sitting here talking to you. 38 years and that's all I have to show for it."
By: Katy Anders on July 22, 2015
I have a vague memory of seeing a doctor at maybe 4 1/2 when I had the mumps. Other than that I remember anything past 5 years old. Hell I barely remember high school and college.
By: cranky on July 22, 2015
Interesting post, and you need to include your mom in more posts.
By: cranky on July 22, 2015
I have a vivid memory of my being in a hospital when I had my tonsils removed . I was two years old and remember my mother and dad leaving and me screaming and crying because they had to leave. Your memory is amazing.
By: Kathe W. on July 22, 2015
Yes, I remember answering a phone at our old house in Redwood City and my mom was on other end. She said I had a new baby brother and I hung up on her!
By: Linda on July 22, 2015
Sorry--had the wrong link. Duh! http://soulcomfortsstories.blogspot.com/2009/08/mommy-and-that-baby.html
By: Rita McGregor on July 22, 2015
haha it was a fun post to read/
By: izdiher on July 22, 2015
I'm not sure we can remember that far back. (Heck, I don't remember what I had for dinner last night.) But maybe you did remember. At least the snake wasn't for real.
By: Alex J. Cavanaugh on July 22, 2015
That's pretty awesome. I remember Preschool days, and the first day of kindergarten. Everyone laughed when the teacher called my name to go up and get my name tag. I was devastated. Mom never explained. I'm sure it was because I was so tiny and cute, or maybe a long piece of toilet paper was dragging from my panties.
By: Robyn Engel on July 22, 2015
My Sweetie's earliest memory is from 6 months old, too. He and his twin were blinded soon after they were born by the excess oxygen in their incubators. At 6 months, their parents took them to the doctor, who told them there was nothing that could be done for their two blind children. At that moment, together, their eyes started following a light for the first time. The shocked doctors kept them there all day, running tests and checking their vision, and when they left the building the street lights were one. His first memory is that first sight of being in his daddy's arms and seeing a street light against the night sky. My oldest memories are from age 5 or so. Mostly of being afraid of things.
By: mimi on July 22, 2015
I "think" I can remember learning to walk. But it is hard to accept whether it is a true memory or something someone told me. I can see and feel the white dishtowel that I held as I walked around the dining room table.
By: Tabor on July 22, 2015
I remember riding in a car with my parents, wrapped in a blanket between them or in my mom's arms. It's early post war, they don't have much money and the car they are driving has a hole on the floor in the back seat and under the passenger side. There's a board laid over hole in front of the passenger but the back is wide open and drafty, thus the blankets around me, even though the destination is a lake. Much like you, I had this "memory" and years ago it was confirmed by my parents. They were surprised I could have had that filed away. Funny how the mind works. Makes you wonder what else is stored away that we could "access."
By: Tom Cochrun on July 22, 2015
either way, a very neat return to the past.
By: TexWisGirl on July 22, 2015
I'm leaning towards that being an actual memory. Details only some one in the crib would know. My first was around 2. I was walking but directionally challenged. I ran up to my brother's kite which had fallen to the earth, stepped on it and broke it. I remember him yelling at me and my mother trying to make peace.
By: Akansas Patti on July 22, 2015
Wow it was interesting reading everyone's memories. New research in infant development is proving that memory begins long before we ever thought possible. My earliest memory is from kindergarden. My dad dropped me off at school on Valentine's day and I ran like hell into the school so the cupid dude didn't shoot me with an arrow and make me fall in love. YUCK. Your mom makes me smile. Cheers. Beckie
By: Beckie on July 22, 2015
Oh yes, neither mother nor brother had any recollection of the event.
By: Akansas Patti on July 22, 2015
From an old post--the fishducky theory of memory:If you subscribe to the theory, as I do, that the brain is like a computer, then you know that it has a finite number of memory bytes. As we age, gravity pulls these memories down, filling first our feet, then our legs, our bellies & butts (which would also explain why many older people seem to have gained weight in these areas) & boobs (which is probably what causes sagging) & finally reach our brains, which eventually become full. Since humans donât have a DELETE key, there is simply no room for new memories. This is why we people âof a certain ageâ can remember who sat next to us in the third grade but have no idea of what we ate for lunch yesterday. We are NOT forgetful--WE ARE SIMPLY FULL!!
By: fishducky on July 22, 2015
Of course that was a memory. Too bad it was a negative one, but it's similar to my hubby's early memory of sitting in a playpen smiling and hoping his mother would glance his way. I remember things from when I was three and four, but not before that.
By: Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma on July 22, 2015
That is amazing. My earliest memory is from the toddlerhood. About 2 years old, I think. I was at my grandma's house for a party, and my older cousins were running around, and I got knocked over into one of Grandma's potted cactus plants. You know how little girls wore frilly dresses back then, right? My mom and grandma spent the afternoon picking needles out of my nether regions. Kind of traumatic, actually.
By: Val on July 22, 2015
I don't recall any memories older than from the time I was in nursery school. But I believe yours to be a memory. The mind is a funny thing, though... I remember conversations I had in high school with people, but I remember them in English (the conversations, of course, had been in German). Go figure.
By: Pixel Peeper on July 22, 2015
I don't go back near as far as you do. I think my earliest memory is about 6 years old, in the first grade. We, having been taught to write, were to write a story. I wrote one about a rabbit being chased by a fox and when he got away he said "Whew, what a relief!" My teacher thought that was pretty cool for a first grader. But I'd been read to since I'd been old enough to understand words, or maybe before so it just came natural to me.
By: Catalyst on July 22, 2015
My earliest memory happened after I fell off a rocking chair and bit deeply into my tongue. I was about age three. I don't remember actually doing it, but I remember the next morning when my dad carried me downstairs and I tried to drink orange juice. Wouldn't you think my parents would have guessed it would sting a bit?! Amazing, CC, that you could recall something so early. Very neat.
By: jenny_o on July 22, 2015
Thank god that is not you in the crib-that is one ugly baby...I think of Seinfeld when I see a baby like this:) I think that is rather cool that you had a dream of a memory. My earliest memory is looking down at my feet. I was wearing white leotards and I have these neat dark blue leather (probably plastic) "booties" that were my slippers. They were all the way up to my ankles and they felt so cosy and in my favourite colour. If I would find them now I would buy them! My mom told me I was about 3 or 4 years old. Now about a memory of being born...who would ever want to remember that? You are coming out of your mother and in an area I would never want to see-ick!
By: Birgit on July 22, 2015
You've got me thinking. It's a topic I like. i've heard other claims of people remembering their own birth. Some people remember things from very early in life.
By: red on July 22, 2015
Interesting topic! Unfortunately most of my earliest memories were not happy ones.
By: Daniel LaFrance on July 23, 2015
Wow, that's good.. As for me, we moved summer after first grade. I have only snippets of memories before that -- and like you suggest, many of the m may be real, other are possibly made up.
By: Tom Sightings on July 23, 2015
Amazing memory! I remember cutting all my dolls hair off because I hated her so much. :D
By: LL Cool Joe on July 23, 2015
Wow, the brain really is a remarkable organ. My memories don't go back that far - I have fragments from maybe 5 or 6 years of age but nothing earlier (at least I'm not aware of any as yet).
By: Bryan Jones on July 23, 2015
My earliest memory may be of standing in the yard at my great grandmother's house and being afraid I was in trouble because I messed up my outfit. I had my other grandmother's boxer with me. I may have been two or three, but the weird thing is that my next oldest memory happens at age five - why the gap? Pretty weird.
By: Cherdo on July 23, 2015
A very interesting post and I to have baby memories.
By: John on July 23, 2015
I think that's pretty fantastic. I most certainly believe that this is possible. Our brains have so much potential that we don't even understand. I can remember things at 3 but not too much.
By: Bouncin Barb on July 23, 2015
It is said that incontinence is nothing to be ashamed of. For it just part of growing old, and lots of older adults have to wear diapers. So, you really don't have tell tall tales about having weird dreams, but I understand why you would.
By: Jerry E. Beuterbaugh on July 24, 2015

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