My earliest memory is watching the eruption on Mt. St. Helen, on May 18, 1980.
I was in my mother's arms, as she bounced me and walked across the floor behind the couch, when she suddenly stopped, and turned slowly towards the little television across the room. The television is a small rounded box with rabbit ears on the corner of a counter, and all the adults in the room go silent. Their silence frightens me, and I burst into tears. I am 2 1/2 years old.
It's only because I can put a date on it that clearly marks my age. (A mountain exploding tends to stick out!)
Another early memory, I was four. We were visiting family in Arizona and stopped to see the Grand Canyon.
I remember standing near the edge with my Aunt Charlene, and specifically wondering what the view looking up looked like, and thinking that the fastest way down to find out, was right off the edge. I never even considered that it might be dangerous.
But as I prepared to find out, my Aunt Charlene called my name, once, sharp, with a hidden 'No!' in it, "Janin!".
I blinked and stepped back to her, and she told me to stay away from the edge so I wouldn't fall. Once she told me I couldn't, I couldn't. Aunt Charlene said so. But I remember being really wistful that I had missed my opportunity to know what the canyon looked like from below.
Maybe that means I need to plan a trip back to show the canyon to my boys, and from the bottom... but do it safely (NOT right over the edge) (;