Studying how the brain relinquishes childhood memories
We called them fairy rocks. They were just colorful specks of gravel—the kind you might buy for a fish tank—mixed into my preschool’s playground sand pit. But my classmates and I endowed them with magical properties, hunted them like treasure, and carefully sorted them into piles of sapphire, emerald, and ruby.
Sifting the sand for those mystical gems is one of my earliest memories. I was no older than 3 at the time. My memory of kindergarten has likewise been reduced to isolated moments: tracing letters on tan paper with pink dashed lines; watching a movie about ocean creatures; my teacher slicing up a giant roll of parchment so we could all finger-paint self-portraits.