Intense sunlight was streaming through the lace curtains of the east window directly into my eyes. I was in my crib, wearing a blue flannel outfit with feet. I managed to roll over onto my stomach, get my knees pulled up and hands outstretched. Pinching the sheet with my hands, I inched my way toward the head of the crib.
Between the crib rails, I saw a beautiful woman sleeping, her thick auburn hair rumpled. Next to her, a handsome man, his dark hair cut back from his forehead. I said to myself, "My mother and my father and aren't they beautiful!"
I was hungry but I didn't want to awaken them. I kept clutching the sheet and pushing with my knees until I reached the head of the crib where I grasped the sheet, pulling it back to reveal the mattress. On a background, a pink pig pranced, a ribbon on her tail and pink rueshing around her throat. And, there was a horse! He was blue with white circular dapples...between his ears was a large feather boa. The horse wore a fancy bridle He was trotting. Standing on his croup was a beautiful girl dressed as a ballerina. She was fairy-like, balanced delicately on the trotting horse. I did my first drawing, tracing the outlines of the horse, the girl, and the pig with my baby fingers. I knew, then, that I wanted to be a painter, and that horses would always be an important part of my life. My thinking was that of an adult.
I don't remember previous awareness or verbalization of my thoughts, but a few months later, sitting in a high chair, being spoon fed by my mother, I looked at the people around the table. My mother, my father, O'Mama (grandmother), sister Anita, brother, Norbert, the hired girl and a guest, an army major on leave from Australia. The major had just told a joke. Everyone was laughing, except for me. The language was too advanced for me. I decided I would memorize every word, store them away until a later time when I could pull them out of the mental file and finally comprehend. That became a lifelong habit of memorizing conversations which, years later, could be repeated verbatim...