I was thinking about my home town today. The reason is rather convoluted but that has made the thought process even more enjoyable. Let me take you on a short trip back in time with me.
My family lived in Traer, Iowa, for most of my childhood. This is the little town where I got lost for the first time–actually, like I had just watched on TV, I was trying to run away from home. After turning a few too many corners, I realized I did not know where I was. The thought of running away was no longer a strong motivator. The street around me was dark due to the heavy canopy from the huge old trees growing on both sides of the street. I had lost sight of the paperboy I had been following. My logic was if I kept him in sight he would get me to wherever running away took you. I did not understand that I could not walk or run as fast as he could ride.
I was all alone.
I found a lady watering her flowers. Good, I thought, she’s a big person so she can tell me how to get home. I ran to her with panic starting to work its way into my whole little, getting to be very hungry and thirsty body. I tapped her arm, telling her I was lost. Could she take me home?
I am not sure how old I was when this happened. I was able to tell her my first and last name but did not know my address or phone number. Those were the first questions she asked me as she tried to find a way to help. My name was no help, she did not know my family. This was NOT good. I was beginning to think I was already in a LOT of trouble. I had been gone HOURS. Couldn’t she just walk with me for a while? Please. Pleeeease? Together I knew we could do it. I knew what my house looked like, I repeatedly told her, please walk with me.
She did not think that was a good idea.
Her solution was to call the town police officer. That really made me nervous. Would he be mad at me for running away? Would I be in trouble with him, too? In a matter of minutes, he was there. As he looked at me, he smiled and asked, “Is Merle your dad?” I nodded yes and we were on the way home.
I was still scared. I mean…I’d been gone a long time…
He walked with me to the front door and knocked. Mom came to the door, with a questioning look on her face. “What in the world,” she said. I squeezed in the door as she opened it so he could come in. He explained to her that I had gotten lost following the paperboy. I’d been exploring, he said. He did not tell her that I’d told him I’d run away from home. In my little kid mind, I’d expected him to side with me. Tell her this was serious stuff–serious enough for this little girl to run away from home! Whatever she and my Dad had done–it was serious.
Well…not at ALL what happened. Just the opposite. As he told the story, she LAUGHED!
This reflection was sparked by some of the memorabilia I discovered today while preparing to do my blog today. Writing has certainly been interesting. I’m looking forward to sharing some of these finds with you all. Maybe they will spark some for you as well.
Peace and love, y’all.