I was born in San Antonio, Texas in 1984. A few months before my parents moved to Connecticut in 1986, my pediatrician relocated to a new office. It featured a rainbow sculpture that arched across the sidewalk leading up to the front door.
The rainbow is my earliest memory; the first image imprinted permanently on my brain. For literally as long as I’ve possessed the ability to remember, I’ve had the image of this rainbow in my head, a little hazy around the edges. It’s what I’ve always contributed to conversations about San Antonio: “I remember a building with a rainbow in front of it . . . ”
But it was the one thing that we didn’t have a photograph to look at.
My coworkers, bless their hearts, brought me to the rainbow on the way to the airport after our conference in San Antonio last week.
My parents had sent me the addresses of the hospital where I was born and of my first home, the names of a park where I split my little chin open and of a few Texan landmarks that we visited as a family, but all I really wanted to see was the rainbow.
I wanted to confirm that fading mental image with my own eyes. It’s the one memory of my infancy that hasn’t been influenced by my parents’ memories, like the chin accident in the park, or reinforced throughout my childhood, like the rooms in my grandmother’s house, which is where the three of us lived when we first left Texas for Connecticut.
I felt a little homesick in San Antonio. Without many concrete memories to represent it in my mind, I think of it as a place that I’ll always share with my mom and dad. Before my brother or my dog or pre-school, it was just the three of us among the bluebells.