Saturday, February 24, 2018

The Little Rascals

R’s story about her daughter getting lost reminds me of my story back in the early 50’s when I was 3.

Well, my Aunt Lillie was babysitting for me and my brother. My brother Scott was a baby and I was 3 years old. My cousin Mike was 2 and my cousin Diane was about 6 and was sick with the yellow jaundice.

Aunt Lillie was such a nervous Nellie sometimes. But she got all upset that she didn’t have any bread for our lunch. So she hands me a quarter and sends me to the grocery store. Her oldest, Diane (age 6) couldn’t go as she was sick. So she sends me who still has no sense of direction, even at 58, to the store. So I take my quarter in hand and start walkin’.

Mike who was 2 was at the window, on guard, watching me to make sure I went in the right direction. But even at 2, he said I went the wrong way. So I go to walkin’ to the store the wrong way. I knew I was lost after a few hours. But I looked down at my shoes and I thought, “Well, I will just follow my shoes wherever they go I will go.” So I walked for hours with my quarter and didn’t return home at the time I was supposed to.

The grocery store was down the street and around the corner. I would have to cross two streets to get there. What was Aunt Lilly thinking? NO one remembers. So when I didn’t come back home, Lilly became hysterical. She couldn’t go out lookin’ for me, as she had a seriously sick child and two babies to look after. So she calls my mom who, I think, had taken a part time job some place.

Well, Mom came to Aunt Lilly’s absolutely frantic. They called the police and put their story on the radio to be looking for a little 3 year old girl. I had left for the store at about 11:00 in the morning and it was almost dark and I just kept walking. A lady at home was listening to her radio and she looked out the window and there I was walking down the street with my bread money. She ran out and ask me to come in and I did. Then she called the police.

The police came and got me and bought me an ice cream cone. Then they gave me a ride home to my mother and dad on their motorcycle. When I saw Mother, she was standing outside looking for me and I can still see her now, running down Aunt Lilly’s graveled driveway to catch me in her arms. I wrapped my arms around her neck and my legs around her waist and hung on for dear life. Of course, Aunt Lilly was crying and all of us cried.

Mom aways says when I tell this story that I was almost 4 years old, not just 3. Well, anyway, after that, Mom barely ever let me out of her sight. And, of course, over the years they have told this story many times.

I was Dad and Mom’s first child and, oh, Aunt Lilly was young, too. But to send a 3 year old to the store for a loaf of bread? Well, ya know, things were different back then.

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