Monday, January 28, 2008

Porch Monkeys

All of us, at some point, have tried to run away from something only to find out that the thing we are fleeing eventually tracks us down. In 1970 I fled the real world to live the fantasy life with a bunch of hippies on a commune. In 1978 I fled my home in Chicago for the golden shores of California, only to find out you still had to work and scratch out a living. That reality made California look just like Chicago except with a lot more goofy people hanging around. I fled Chicago again for Florida nineteen years ago, and I'm not so sure it made me any happier than I would have been had I stayed in Chicago. Just warmer.

When I was about four or five years old I made the same mistake. There was some kind of disagreement between my mother and my sister Peggy and me. Probably my mom had laid down the law about cleaning our rooms or some such thing, and we decided we weren't going to take it any more. So like a fool I followed my sisters lead and ran away from home. In preparation for our trek, my sister rummaged through the refrigerator for food, while I packed clothes that my mother had carefully laid out for us to put away in our rooms. With all our supplies in place, we left the house and trudged through the blustery afternoon weather until we arrived at our new home, the combination sand box/play house that my dad had built. It was a gray windy day, and within minutes a light rain convinced us that we needed to find a better shelter, so we moved to the front porch.

I'm not sure how long we imagined we would be allowed to live on our parents porch, but in our little minds it seemed quite plausible that we could live there until we were eighteen. My sister was much older than me so I figured she had it all planned out, but as time passed, our plan to punish my mom unraveled, and running away seemed to not be such a great idea. First, within thirty minutes, we had eaten the sandwiches my sister had packed. Secondly, after being out in the rain for at least forty five minutes, my mom still had not even acknowledged our absence, and when she finally did, it was to warn us not to leave the yard. At that point, cold and miserable, we decided to give it up, go back home, and clean our rooms.

I guess we taught my mother a lesson she would never forget that day, and that would be the value of discouraging your children's stupid behavior by sometimes ignoring them.

11 comments:

  1. Peggy, are you going to let him say that you're WAY older than he is? My guess is your parents gave you a quarter to take Alan away.

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  2. Your mom gave birth to & raised ELEVEN kids!!! I'll bet ya any money she thought of running away many times. Aren't you glad she didn't? Ignoring you a little was probably how she made it through each day. Peggy only seemed a lot older (she wasn't) because she was mature for her age & in charge of keeping an eye on your little butt. What fun!

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  3. No, Nano and Dennis, she is much older. At least five years older. (in dog years).

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  4. Maybe Peg just looks younger than she is. I think we all want to run away at times.....until we realize it takes too much effort & we still have to drag "ourself" with us anyway. Maybe that's where the idea of reincarnation came from--- the ultimate fresh start. Big deal.

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  5. "Run, Jane!". "Run, Dick!". "We can run to Bettenhausen's Hardware store to buy some wood. We can build a raft. We can float down Tinley Creek on it." "Oh, Dick, that's a neat idea.....just so we're home in time for dinner." See what you've started, Alan!!!

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  6. Thank you Dennis and Nan! Remember that Alan has some foggy brain days and I find that he prefers to pretend that he is not aging! I was born 4-19-48, Alan was born 12-27-49 so do the math!! We are about 20 months apart now and always will be!!! I will admit to being a very bossy older sister and Alan was such a sweet pliable younger brother! I think our Mom was happy for the quiet in the house during our "adventure".

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  7. old enough to know better nanoJanuary 29, 2008 at 5:34 PM

    The beauty of childhood is the naivety---everyday can be an adventure. True adventure usually carries some risk & when we get older we worry too much about that. Maybe the secret of staying young is to seek out adventure... unless you have more fun worrying.

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  8. You're welcome, Peg! I had to defend you; I'm over 3 mos. older than you. And we're not "there" yet. We'll let you know when we're old, Little Alan.

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  9. Doesn't that first picture look like that little girl actress from the Donna Reed Show? What was her name?

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  10. Garet, are you sure you don't mean Lauren Chapin from 'Father Knows Best'?

    http://www.fiftiesweb.com/tv/lauren-chapin-1.jpg

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