Thursday, May 3, 2012


Foggy Memories

Sara Lautman lives and draws in Oakland. Her blog is here and everything else is at www.saralautman.com.

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That book complicated my relationships with female "best friends" for YEARS. Basically all of 3rd-6th grade. Thanks, Judy Blume.

Also, spying on her children while they drowned in pools of their own sweat while she mocked them with other adults is for sure something my mother would do.

sara lautman@twitter

@bananapants For me Judy Blume was a reliable star to steer by; except she inspired me to talk like her characters a couple of times. Like, quote directly from the books in conversation. Which rarely works out in any case.

I think I need to stress in my mom's defense that the doors to the car were left unlocked the whole time and I had CHOSEN to stay in the car.


@sara lautman@twitter I talked like book characters a lot. That's probably always a dopey thing to do, and unfortunately, I read books written anywhere from the late 1800s on. Stilted syntax and arcane vocabulary? I had that on lockdown. I gravitated towards books written between the 1960s and early 80s, and I was born in 1986.

In preschool we took a field trip to the City-County Building, which has a pretty sweet observation deck. In the elevator up, my main rival Leslie punched me in the stomach. Dramatic little me declared, "Teacher! Leslie struck me!" Soooo Little House on the Prairie.


I'm really curious as to what the book is about!


@whateverlolawants My dramatic litle self*


@whateverlolawants "Teacher! Leslie struck me!"
I am laughing out loud. Baby-me totally would have thought that sounded badass in a book and whipped it out on the school yard.


@kittennnnns We would have gotten along quite well.

Reginal T. Squirge

Hey, this was really cool but your drawings of faces scares the shit out of me.

Reginal T. Squirge

*scare the shit out of me.

I would edit but am forced to use IE at work and editing comments isn't possible on IE.

Bus Driver Stu Benedict

@ReginalTSquirge@twitter It's not a Hairpin article unless it scares the shit out of a least a couple people.


@ReginalTSquirge@twitter They remind me a LOT of a '90s cartoon, but I can't put my finger on which one. Is it…Rugrats? Or maybe…The Wild Thornberries?


@rockproblems Definitely rugrats.


@rockproblems It totally reminded me of Rugrats.


@Poubelle Klasky Csupoooooo!!!


@BoozinSusan reminds me of the cray cray drawings in "Wayside stories from Westside School"

fondue with cheddar

@Craftastrophies Yeah, Rugrats were all I could think of while reading this.

Genghis Khat

I love your preadolescent leg hair! Such an endearing detail!

Toby Jug

And so concludes our children in precarious-but-ultimately-benign circumstances week on the Hairpin.


@Toby Jug: The mummified babies might beg to differ about the "benign" part.

Toby Jug






@Bittersweet I was about to be like "babies dying in the heat of cars their parents left them in is the opposite of benign!" but then I realized that was just an article linked to in really long comment thread on Nicole's emergency room article, and the Hairpin didn't actually post it. Man, I get on these Internet article tangents, and I always lose track of the source. But now my mind is more enriched with sad news articles!


@olivebee I read that article after it was mentioned in the comments too, and for most of this comic I felt anxious, even though I knew the kid would be ok in the end since it was the author. Eek!


I had a foggy memory of two men emerging from underground wearing tuxedos, except one was wearing a tuxedo jacket with shorts. Turns out it was from the opening sequence of Perfect Strangers! I watched a lot of TV as a toddler, I guess.

nevernude cutoffs

@cuminafterall THIS may interest you then. http://nothingsgonnastopmenow.com/ (A Perfect Strangers game I just found out about this morning)

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

I remember once sitting in the backseat of my mom's minivan in the elementary school parking lot when I was in, like, third grade, and pressing my hands against the window like I was being trapped and kidnapped. I'm not sure why; maybe I was trying to scare the other kids? My mom - if she even noticed - probably thought I was pretty ridic.


I had a foggy memory of stealing a doll blanket in preschool! It was one of my "earliest memories" until my mom told me that I had been given that blanket as a birthday present. I think I was just remembering a dream, which: I was having Paranoia Dreams already?

(I told a coworker recently that I'd had my first work dream; she asked me what it was about and I said, "Oh, screwing something up, that's what all my work dreams are about."


I love weird memories like these that are shrouded in mystery... until you finally call your mom / dad and say, wait, was that for real?


I have lots of childhood memories that I cannot confirm since my parents don't remember them (or seemingly, much of anything.)


@Too Much Internet: It happens a lot as you get older, I'm guessing as some sort of defense mechanism.

Faintly Macabre

@Bittersweet In my mother's case, she remembers having her mouth washed out with soap for cursing and her mother forcing her to drink a quart of milk with tabasco sause in it after she dosed her older sister's milk. (Apparently tabasco sauce is invisible in milk.) My grandmother, of course, swears that none of this ever happened.


For years I swore my earliest (foggy) memory was my 1st birthday. Not the party or anything, but crawling into my parents room, seeing my dad putting on his socks, and me saying "I'm one." I have no idea if anything close to this actually ever happened, if it's a combination of memories, or if I made it up as a small child and it stuck like it was a real memory. My dad doesn't think it's real, but does admit I was talking a little by then.


@Maria My dad has a friend who swears he (briefly) remembers being in the womb. I have trouble believing this.


@nutmeg I bet he just watched "Look Who's Talking" a few too many times. For some reason, my parents let me watch it a ton when I was in preschool? Maybe it got them out of the birds and the bees convo or something.


@Maria I have some memories like that, and I'm not sure if some of them are real or the other possibilities either!


Sitting/standing around waiting for your parents to be done chatting with someone always seemed to take an ETERNITY.

Heat Signature

@lora.bee My mother would always tell me to get ready because we were leaving, and then she'd spend at least TEN MINUTES MORE talking to her friend! It was painful.

Speaking of cake, I have cake

Me and my older sisters were mercilessly awful to our youngest sister when she was little, telling her she was from Mars, that she was going to be taken back by her space parents some day, that her real name was unpronouncable etc (God siblings can be so terrible to each other! I'm blushing at the memory) and she eventually snapped and yelled at us 'I AM from this family! I remember being born! I remember seeing the doctor!!!' So that's *one* way a false memory could be implanted....


Bravo. I love this and want more of this plz.


this is fantastic! love your drawings.


I have a memory from when I was quite little of someone looking in my bedroom window when it was dark outside--just the top half of someone's head, very quickly, and then he dipped away. This would've involved someone standing on a ladder as my bedroom was on the second floor of our house. I pointed it out to my mother when it (allegedly) happened, but she said, nooo, that's impossible. But, to this day, I have a horrible fear of faces in windows when it's dark outside. i HATE it, hate it, hate it. The weird fear means it really happened... right?


@candybeans This happened to me when I was young! Our neighbor was mentally ill and would wander around and look in people's houses and it was SO scary. And so now I am too creeped out to look at windows in the middle of the night because I am convinced someone is outside watching me. Even though all I do at night is drink wine and scour the DVR for unwatched tv episodes. Did you have a tree near your window maybe?

raised amongst catalogs

@candybeans Oh, god. You just reminded me of one of the worst nightmares I had as a kid -- preschool age, maybe. In this dream there were these terrible pirate clowns trying to murder me and my family. In the worst part of the dream, my grandmother picked me up and held me, reassuring me that no such thing would happen. BUT...she was holding me with her back to the window, so I could see outside, and there they were -- the pirate clowns, holding up sharp knives and grinning menacingly.
Not a real event but a terrifying window-face memory all the same; and I share your fear of faces in windows at night, so...


@bananapants oh, JEEZ. It happened to someone (else??)! That's so scary!!! God, i'm so glad I haven't lived on the ground level in a while; my ex used to sometimes stick his face in my window when he came over late at night, and FUUUUUck i hated it. No trees near my window; there was a covered patio-ish thing that jutted about four-five feet out from the front of the house, so trees were at least five feet away from the window. Mysteries!!




@vanillawaif PIRATE CLOWNS.

The worst.

I had a terrifying nightmare about Duckula's evil brother or whatever, when I was a kid. The best bit was when they trapped me in some gypsy caravan, and I was freaking out, but then I realised that the dream could 'see' me inside, so that meant that there was just a wall missing, so I just hopped out and ran away. Fourth wall, busted! I'm so post modern, you guys.


@vanillawaif I literally got to "Pirate Clowns" and bust out laughing in the middle of my office...alone. It sounds horrifying but the image of a pirate clown makes me giggle.

Heat Signature

@candybeans I have a deep fear of faces appearing in windows for no discernible reason other than that shit is CREEPY AS FUCK.


I've never lived in a house without a large, prickly bush/shrub outside my window, so I've never had to worry about faces in the window, thank god.
My scariest dream was RIDICULOUS. I was walking up a river bank in the dark and kept hearing noises and checking behind me. Nothing would be there, so I'd keep walking, hear a noise...etc.
He had a really throaty, deep voice and said "I am the Hudson River Crab, and I am going to eat you now."
I woke up heart pounding, breathing like I'd run a marathon, and dripping with sweat.

On a side note, dreams like that are why I don't do drugs. If I can think up something like that sober, I do not want to know what hallucinogenics would do to me.

Heat Signature

@The Kendragon This explains your deep and abiding hatred of escargot.

ms. alex

"I felt important."

That line is SO TRUE. Childhood suffering like this always made me think that. It doesn't even make sense in hindsight.


I loved this. More, please!

Every time I hear the song The Lion Sleeps Tonight, I have this very hazey thought of my older cousin Dwayne looking down on me lovingly and singing this song. He's wearing corduroy pants and an orange striped shirt in this memory, and I can see the light of the lamp behind him coming through his curly blonde hair. I have this flashbulb-like memory every single time the song plays. I figured it was just some silly pseudo-memory since Dwayne and I only briefly lived in the same province, and during that time my father and his mother were in the midst of a sibling argument that lasted for years.

Flash forward to a few weeks ago when my mom was visiting. The song came on, and I described for her how I always have this same thought when I hear it. I ended with "But that's just silly because how could that ever have happened?" and she then told me that when I was about a year and a half, she and my dad took a vacation to Hawaii, and the only person around to watch me was my aunt. My father and her made brief amends and I stayed with her and my cousin in their tiny apartment for a week. My cousin has always been a singer, and is even now currently experiencing quite a bit of success in musicals. It is not outside the realm of possibility that during that time he would have sung to me as he adored me. To think I have a memory from when I was no more than a year old fills me with this sort of joyful awe. It's amazing really, the brain.


@breccalynn That is actually really sweet! It made me smile.


Ah! This and the Dune fanfiction here on the 'Pin, and the Roman emperors and "Pachyderm" at t'Awl... so many new posts bookmarked today!


I have a memory about seeing a man with red, blotchy eyes in a crowd. I could draw his face from memory (wait, why have I not done that yet, gonna do it right now) and for a long time, I thought red was just on the spectrum of eye color. They were blotchy in that it looked like water was blurring them, so maybe he was on the other side of a glass and it was raining?
Anyhow I love these weird memories so much :3


Favorite bit: "wipe"

Great new post, yay.


I have that car, if your mom happened to have a Volvo 240 station wagon. I have totally rolled around in the trunk too

sara lautman@twitter

@musicello11 Yes! The 240 is undersung as a loungey car.


My mom was a Catholic school teacher for 25 years, which meant that EVERY SINGLE DAY after school was like this for my brother and me. It was literally impossible to understand why she had to stand around and talk to the other teachers allllllllll the time, and now, of course, I know that it wasn't because she exactly wanted to.


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