I have only one retrievable memory of being a baby. I was sitting on the floor in the kitchen at Colebrook. My vantage point was shin height. The legs of the table and chairs were the jungle through which I would crawl. The old patterned linoleum stretched out before me with its intersecting yellowed lines of red and green.* For years this floor functioned as a giant grid of roads, highways and overpasses on which my sister and I would drive matchbox cars and build Lego houses.
On the other side of the room, was an object that captured my interest. I do not recall what this object was but I was intent on getting my hands on it.
I had only recently learned how to walk and I remember asking my one year old self, if I should walk or crawl across the room to get to this object. I decided to crawl. I knew that I would get there quicker in this way, without the interruption of losing my balance and falling over.
What interests me about this memory is that though I may have had a few words in my vocabulary at this time, I would have been largely pre-verbal. I would not have been able to vocalise this brief internal dialogue. But I was able to think about it and make a decision based on a knowledge of my own strengths and weaknesses in the area of perambulation.
* Years later my sister and I had both, at different times, visited the house and almost wept when we discovered that the lino had been replaced with a bland timber veneer and the door jamb where our heights had been measured, had been repainted.
And now, as I scroll through hundreds of google images of 1950’s linoleum, I find my heart beating a little faster at the prospect of perhaps finding that familiar pattern (no luck).