The garden at the house I grew up in was big. My mum worked hard to make it pretty, we had a vegetable patch, a rockery. I had a swing and a Wendy House. I suppose it would be considered idyllic, really.
We always had dogs, there was a kennel in the garden where our Alsatian stayed and we also had a cat.
This is my earliest memory.. I have since learned that I was only 2 years old at the time but I remember being on the swing.. I can see my legs swinging out in front of me and I swing up and back, up and back, the sun glinting on the buckles if my shoes, the birds singing.. the fence between our garden and our neighbours wasn’t low but as I swung I could see over in to their garden.
There was a thrashing and squealing sound coming from the bush in their garden.. I swung up I could see the bush shaking.. I swung up and I saw our cat struggling in the bush.. I swung up.. still thrashing about.. and that’s all I remember. My mum filled in the blanks.. our cats collar had gotten caught up in the bush and it got strangled. I stuttered from that day on.. could barely speak, my mum said, she took me to the doctors and got me help but I struggled to speak for the next two years.
So that is my first memory. I wonder how much of an effect it had on me as I grew up. I believe it certainly contributed to my anxiety in some way, my fear of losing things and people and my love of animals.