Memory Loss

I don't remember moving to Connecticut from our house in the Richmond Hill neighborhood of Queens. The only home I'd ever known. The house to which my parents brought all ten pounds, seven ounces of me home from Kew Gardens General. The house whose long-neglected and half-assed "improvements" were finally finished so that it could be put on the market. The house I had not quite grown up in.

My parents sold it and left me in New York to finish my senior year, deciding I would stay with my widowed maternal grandmother and my Vietnam vet uncle, in the one bedroom apartment they shared a few blocks from our house. My uncle slept on the pull-out in the living room and I slept in my Nana's room . Actually, I slept in her bed. I was seventeen.

I don't remember packing anything for the move, but guess it was done for me. Most of my belongings would be stored in the new room I was supposed to eventually share with my older sister in the new house. I grew up sleeping in the same room with both my older and younger sister and, since I was going to college in the fall, it was decided I didn't need a room of my own in the new place, either. Whoever packed my clothes determined what I would wear for the next few months, so a wardrobe already limited by economics was further abbreviated to what could fit on the back of Nana's bedroom door. I'm not sure if I also had a drawer or just used my suitcase - an early graduation gift from my parents, and just part of the baggage they left me with.

Despite my otherwise near-eidetic recall, details around this juncture of my life are dull. No recollection of leaving the Richmond Hill house for the last time, though I must have walked from there to the train station in the morning to catch the E train to Rockaway. I also had to have passed the house on the way home that afternoon, since Nana's pre-War apartment building was just north of it. But - nothing.

My finely-honed ability to disconnect must have kicked in to get me through the day, because I also don't remember saying good-bye to my family, or how I felt the day they left. My mother, father, two sisters, brother, and two dogs all made the move at the same time, and I knew I wouldn't be seeing them for awhile. I must have felt something, because I didn't get to say good-bye to my childhood home that day, either. 

At least, I don't think I did.


West Palm Beach/Florida/USA

Carol Dowd-Forte is president of "A Girl's Gotta Eat: Writing and Editing for a Price;" founder of The Alley, a writers' support group; and a former stringer for The Miami Herald. She’s given a TEDx talk (, performed stand-up comedy ( ), hates the color pink, has never eaten a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and survived both the New York City public school and transit systems. Before becoming a writer, she was a fetus.