They (whoever they are) say you can't remember anything prior to about 4 years of age, unless there is a trauma attached to it, which explains my first ever childhood memory. This a the 2nd in a 3 part series of childhood memories.
My parents were young when they married. After a couple of years I came along and 20 months after me, came My Beloved Sister. By the time they were in their early 20's, mom was a SAHM and Dad was not only the bread winner by day but was also attending college at night. Throw in the two of us and their life was in a chaotic frenzy.
One of Dad's professors was very involved in the local Children's Theater and offered an
"A" in the class and also and "A" for the next quarter's class to anyone who would be a part of the upcoming production. Dad was quite the student (Magna Cum Laude) and probably would have made an "A" anyway, but this was not only one "A" but also the promise of the next "A" without having to go to class which would free up time for him to take another course. Like I said he was a smart guy.
They held auditions and Dad was cast as the male lead. I have no recollection of how long they rehearsed. All I knew was Dad was going to be in a play. When it got time for the show to go live Mother and I got all dressed up, took My Beloved Sister to Grandmother's and went on our merry way to the play. (The only part of this I remember is climbing the stairs from the street to Grandmother's front yard. I remember her meeting us there and have no idea why we didn't park in the back since that is how we normally went in their house. (Probably because there were about 25 steps from the street to the house level) Anyway, I remember waving goodbye to them as we walked down the stairs and I remember getting into the back seat of the car. (Yeah, no stinking car seat for me or any other kid of my era. They hadn't been invented yet.)
I am assuming the ride to the theater was uneventful because my next memory is being in the audience and things were happening on stage. My dad was there in an outfit with a cool hat and a cape. There was also a beautiful blond with long curly hair, and a woman, a bad woman, in a long black dress with wild dark hair. I could not begin to tell you the storyline or what anything was about, but I can tell you what happened next. The bad woman in black threw what I remember as a ball shaped object toward Dad, there was a huge puff of smoke which obscured most of the stage for a few moments and when the smoked cleared there was the bad woman in black, the beautiful blond with long curly hair and a man sized chicken wearing my dad's hat and his cape.
There was a small courtyard outside the hall leading to the auditorium and we hurried out there. Mom sat on a concrete bench and held unconsolable me rocking me back and forth. I remember holding on the her as tight as toddler arms can hold, the rocking motion, and crying and grieving . None of her soothing had any effect on me. I have no idea how long we were out there, but I remember a very kind usher who came into the courtyard to see if she could help. I remember her telling me not to cry, that it was just pretend, and then she gave me a magic"happy" pill, which was a peppermint candy. I remember clearly her opening it for me and I remember putting it in my mouth.
This is where my personal memory of that tragic day ends. The remains of it have been reconstructed for me. Evidently the peppermint was enough of a distraction that I settled down and Mom and I stayed in the courtyard until the play was over. After the curtain call the cast moved out into the hall and I was able to see my dad in his human form again and all was right with my little two year old world. It was a pretty long time before anyone took me to a play again, though. And to this day I find the aroma of peppermint immensely soothing. Could be from this or it could be because peppermint is just a pleasant smell? No idea, but I do know for one moment it's smell and taste were magic for a two year old kid.