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Tell It Slant, Third Edition, 3rd Edition by Suzanne Paola, Brenda Miller

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1

The Body of Memory

Memory begins to qualify the imagination, to give it another formation, one that is peculiar to the self. . . . If I were to remember other things, I should be someone else.

—N. SCOTT MOMADAY

In my earliest memory, I’m a four-year-old girl waking slowly from anesthesia. I lift my head off the pillow and gaze blearily out the bars of my hospital crib. I can see a dim hallway with a golden light burning; somehow I know in that hallway my mother will appear any minute now, bearing ice cream and 7-Up. She told me as much before the operation: “All good girls get ice cream and 7-Up when their tonsils come out,” she said, stroking my hair. “It’s your reward for being brave.” I’m vaguely aware of another little girl screaming for ...

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