November 09, 2005

Still "Running" After All These Years

Hoo boy, this has not been the best of weeks for me. I’ve had to spend money I do not have; I have appointments I’d rather not keep, places to go to that I’d rather avoid, and now, a sick child to mother – just when I feel like being mothered a bit my own self.

Sarah Jane woke up hurting all over. It’s not the flu. I won’t allow that within these walls (wishful and hopeful thinking). It’s just a virus, though we aren’t entirely sure what type. Test results will come back Saturday. It’s nothing horribly serious ~ but when the cub is sick, a hangnail can seem serious.

I would like very much to run away; to pack a little bag with some clean undies and a couple of leftover Halloween candy bars and just go – destination unknown. If this didn’t mean leaving Ed and SJ behind, I wouldn’t be writing right now … more than likely I’d be driving and thinking about how cruel the world can be sometimes.

The thing is … I’ve tried it ~ running away ~ and it didn’t do me much darned good at all.

Once upon a time, back around 1965, a rather young haglet sat scheming on the bed in her tiny room. This young lady had way too much imagination for a little child to handle. She wasn’t sure yet what was lacking in her life, but she did know she wanted to become famous.

She had been to the great city beyond the harbor with her parents and schoolmates, and she decided that she could find a big airport in such a place. She would fly off to … anywhere … where she could become the belle of the ball, the cat’s meow, the crème of the crop, the hag of all hagdom.

And so the young, starry-eyed child broke into her piggy bank and gathered up all of the coins she could fit into a sock. She began to plan her getaway … but decided to drag someone along with her. The prospect of going on such an adventure all alone made the hair on her neck stand up and tingle. She had never been alone.

Her plan was simple. She invited Nettie ~ convincing her that they might see Hollywood, or London, or any of the other places where famous people were ‘made.’

“But how will we become famous?” asked Nettie.
“I don’t know, it’ll just happen … but it’s not going to happen here,” said the haglet with great determination.

The two girls were part of a team of tap dancers and once a week they took their lessons together in a rather seedy part of town. Since the studio was located directly in front of a bus stop, they were allowed to take the bus from home to get there each week – and were picked up (after dark) to come home.

The 'run away plan' involved boarding the bus as usual on tap dancing day, then taking a detour and getting on with their big adventure. They wouldn’t even be missed for at least an hour; a great head start!

They pooled their money and were clever enough to bring chewing gum and a candy bar. Each girl, as part of the scheme, had secretly made a sandwich and tucked it neatly into the small zippered bag next to their tap shoes. And on that day, the bus pulled up and off they went.

They took the bus clear to the ferry terminal, where they knew they could crossover into the great city – but for some reason, they decided to explore their little island a bit more before leaving it. Another bus took them all the way to Tottenville, a small town far, far away (about twelve miles) from their homes on the north shore.

The two little girls had crossed the island. They felt so brave, so clever … so CHILLY. They hadn’t thought about sundown and weather … they were ill-prepared for the November night.

They wandered through the streets of this old and forgotten town, admiring the little shop windows and the newness of the sights around them. They walked through a park, enjoyed their sandwiches and talked about what they would do with all the money they would make when they achieved their fame.

It was during this chat when Nettie dropped the bomb.

“I’ll bet my father has allll his friends out looking for us by now!” she snickered with her mouth full of sandwich.
“Ha ha … yeah … mine too,” the haglet laughed back, “This is so cool!”
“Yeah, but my father’s friends are everywhere … I wonder if we should start keeping an eye out for them,” she said, looking over her shoulder.
“Why? Do you really think they’re going to travel all the way out here to look? Don’t be silly… we could stay here for a month and they wouldn’t think to look here,” said the haglet, quite smugly.

“Well we need to look out for cop cars,” said Nettie.
“Cop cars? Why? They won’t call the cops. We didn’t do anything wrong,” said the haglet.
“Yeah but my dad’s a sargeant in the 1-2 -0 (precinct),” revealed Nettie.
“A COP?” thought the haglet to herself. This was the last thing she expected to hear!

And this was the first time in her very short life that the haglet wanted to strangle someone. But she refrained, and the two picked up their bags and made for the streets.

The night fell quickly ~ quicker in fact, than either of them had ever recalled. They walked, they ran, they snuck about behind trees and shrubs … made their way back to the bus stop and prayed that it was headed for the ferry terminal. Every time they spotted a police cruiser, they ducked out of sight.

The haglet began to get mighty homesick. She thought she was the only one who felt this way until Nettie began to cry.

“This was so stupid,” sobbed Nettie.
“I guess,” the haglet agreed, lowering her head, “I just thought … never mind.”
“I know, me too,” said Nettie.

And the girls made their way once again to the terminal where they jumped on yet another bus, hoping it would head them toward home.

Meanwhile, back at the homesteads … two mothers cried burning tears and thought the worst. When the haglet mom arrived to the dance studio only to have the instructor inform her the girls had never showed up, police were called and an APB (All Points Bulletin) was issued. Two fathers frantically roamed the streets in their cars and on foot, in search of the missing children. Sisters and brothers (except the SS*, I’m sure) who would otherwise argue with and tease their younger siblings, were now distraught and afraid.

Snow began to fall as the girls got off the bus at an unknown intersection (Victory Boulevard and Clove Road) … and they finally caved in and called home. They flipped a coin to see which one had to actually place the call. The haglet lost.

“Um, mommy?” said the haglet, trying to maintain whatever cool she had left in her.
“Nope. It’s SS and YOU ARE IN BIG TROUBLE! HA HA HA …” said the SS of the haglet.

Scrambling sounds could be heard through the line and suddenly the soothing voice of mother was heard …

“Haglet … where ARE you? Are you all right? Oh my GOD” sobbed the mother.
“Mommy, I’m sorry. We’re okay but we’re cold and tired and hungry … can you come get us?” the haglet spoke while choking on crow.
“Read the street signs to me. I’ll be there in a flash … and DON’T MOVE,” said the mother.

It seemed like just seconds till the car pulled up … the familiar Impala with the red-checkered blanket tossed over the seat back. The SS was in the front seat ~ huge grin on her face and hiding a laugh. The girls took the back seat and were ‘spoken to’ all the way home.

Nettie’s mother was at the haglet house when they arrived and they left without much chit-chat. Inside the house, (God it felt so warm and looked so cozy and inviting), hell broke loose.

“Your FATHER is in the city! He’s walking around Battery Park in the snow looking for you!” cried the mother as she removed haglet’s windbreaker and hugged her tightly. “We found a piece of paper in your room with a story about a girl who became famous in Battery Park!” screeched the mother while she clung to the young girl.

“I TOLD you they were okay… I TOLD you she did it on purpose!” chanted the SS as she took the stairs to her room.

“Mom I’m s o r r y … I’m SOOO sorry,” cried the little, not-very-famous haglet.

The rest of that night was a horror for the little one. Father came home in a police car, and neighbors peered out of their windows ~ a common site in a tight knit ‘hood.

There was shouting and embarrassment … there were new rules to follow, there were many new restrictions set into place. There was a very late supper, and then there was a very angry “Now go to bed.”

So the haglet lay in her cozy, warm bed … staring out between the Venetian blinds and recalling her adventure; a mix of excitement, shame and guilt. “Poor daddy,” she thought to herself, “Poor Mommy.”

And the distant foghorns of the ferry that led to the great city lulled her off to sleep.

“You have reached the pinnacle of success as soon as you become uninterested in money, compliments, or publicity” (Thomas Wolfe)

*SS – (Special Sister) refers to haglet’s older sister who was hell bent to try to destroy any semblance of happiness or contentment a young girl could know.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never ran away in reality but in theory I always had my getaway cash and candy. I kept putting it off by a day until I left for college at 17.

I totally want to run away right now. I know the feeling.

Sorry your little gal is sick!

9:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(I don't want to run away from home/hubby but everything else).

9:20 PM  
Blogger Green-Eyed Lady(GEL) said...

Hope SJ feels better soon!
This was a most entertaining tale. You sure know how to pick friends. ;) ....and reading Venetian blinds brings back memories when they ALL were white, not available in every colour of the rainbow, before "window treatments" were the term w/ "mini" blinds, vertical blinds, pleated shades, or who knows who hanging from your window....

This also reminds me of adult women who want to run away, of a novel by Elizabeth Berg, with exactly that plot of a 50 y.o. owman who does just that... The Pull of the Moon. Ironically, I came so close to emailing you that title the recent morning we had an email chat!!

10:28 PM  
Blogger kenju said...

Guess what? I ran away once too, to Manhattan. I was 19. I cried nearly the whole time. My mom and dad figured out where I went and paid someone to put me on a plane for home. What an adventure!

Hope SJ feels better soon.

11:24 PM  
Blogger Swathi said...

i cannot say 'bin there done that' but yes the thought to run away occured to me more than once...

('am reminded of Tom Sawyer n his friends marooned on the island)

12:12 AM  
Blogger Swifty said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:11 AM  
Blogger Swifty said...

So... where's the "crap" post you referred to? Decided to publish this instead? Good call.

A skilfully woven tale. But I have to say, I feel so sorry for Nettie who came so close to being strangled for the heinous crime of having a father for a cop.

The problem with running away is you have to take yourself. Life's a bummer.

I nodded my head on reading, "You have reached the pinnacle of success as soon as you become uninterested in money, compliments, or publicity", thinking, yes, that's me, successful. Then I realised, I blog. Ah well, I'm working on it.

6:42 AM  
Blogger Alisa said...

What a great story! I tried to run away once. I was four and decided to use my Lego carrier for a suitcase. My mother was nice and packed me a lunch and suggested places I should visit. Somehow, I never made it out the door.

7:38 AM  
Blogger jac said...

Hey hag!!!

I saw your comment in my post, came to see what you have...Oh Goud! It is long I thought, I don't have the time, tomorrow I am leaving on a holiday...well I looked again at the profile, nice and beautiful, well at least she’s beautiful… I will read a little anyhow and I start reading.
I started reading
Half away I am gone...
I lost my way, I forgot where I am, and I saw the haglet.
I have never been any where near you, I have never been to Tottenville, for that matter I haven't heard that name or even about Battery Park. I am from Africa.
Now I know that haglet, I know Tottenville and battery park, I know Nettie, I know 'SS' and I know haglet's Mom and Dad, in fact I know their names, their street and even their house numbers.
That was terrific writing, you should be proud of that writing
Thank you for sharing
I can’t give you a better compliment than this.

7:59 AM  
Blogger brooksba said...

I never had enough courage to try and run off to find fame and glory. What a great story to tell and I can understand feeling sorry for worrying your parents.

I'm sorry that SJ is ill. I hope she recovers soon and I know you'll take good care of her.

10:13 AM  
Blogger Grant said...

My own attempt at running away didn't work very well either. When I was six, I decided to leave home and strike out on my own. My own SS helped me pack a suitcase, although I didn't think to pack food and she didn't offer anything except encouragement for me to hurry up and leave. I took too long and by the time I was ready to go my mother was home. I told her I was running away as I lugged my suitcase toward the door. She didn't even bother to look away from the TV when she screamed at me to stop being silly and go back to my room, which I did immediately.

Thus ended the great adventure.

10:19 AM  
Blogger oregoncelticlady said...

Good morning Hag!
Great to see your comments on my blog! My little goddess girl and I went to see Jonny Lang this summer at the Oregon Gardens...which is a bit like a back yard garden party with a bunch of friends! Very small, very awesome concert. He is amazing. Love this story. When I ran, I only got as far as the bottom of the long driveway and was incensed that no one came looking after 15 minutes....what were they thinking! I think all of the ladies visiting this blog should "run away" to the oregon coast for a girl week end with me!!! Good goddess, we need spa days and good Oregon wine!

11:50 AM  
Blogger happyandblue2 said...

Another absolutely amazing story. You are such a talented writer..

1:49 PM  
Blogger Lightning Bug's Butt said...

SS: I figured it was either a special sister or a Nazi officer. I'm thankful for the footnote.

Great story, btw.

2:02 PM  
Blogger psuche said...

Great story Carol!

I'm actually working on my running away plan as we speak. ;)

2:06 PM  
Blogger The Other Half said...

hope she feels better!!!

2:58 PM  
Blogger Floridacracker said...

I'm glad your runaway time turned out to be short and you and Nettie made it home safe. Some horrible things happen out there.

Sorry you have a sick child. Prescription: Homemade chicken noodle soup, basic..nothing frufru and cozy spoiling until she recovers.

3:41 PM  
Blogger Rex Mottram said...

When I was in hell, I mean boarding school, I "disappeared" for a couple of days with some of the other guys and we did all the things you can think of that we shouldn't do. It was worth it for the beating we got when we got back (back in the days when the "cane" was a normal part of life in hell)

5:12 PM  
Blogger L said...

"young haglet"? heh heh heh

now I want to run away too!

8:43 PM  
Blogger PBS said...

Oh sorry to hear that your daughter is sick. Hope she feels better quickly. I used to dream of running away when I was a child too. Never did it until I was an adult and ran away to Florida! Ended up coming back later, of course.

9:34 PM  
Blogger tonch said...

It's so refreshing to see such a well-written blog! Loving it!

I refuse to acknowledge your hagliness though :p

2:17 AM  
Blogger the Monk said...

top class...I've never run away myself, but the number of times I've wanted to...haglet...that was funny...

2:25 AM  
Blogger the Monk said...

oh, and I hope SJ gets better soon...

2:25 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Crossing fingers SJ gets well soon.
Carol, as always your posts never fail to deliver. So much talent, you should be binding all your posts into a book.

5:14 AM  
Anonymous pallavi said...

Things we do when we are young... hhaha I loved the term haglet... LOLOL...

7:24 AM  
Blogger Tabor said...

Wonderfully written story. I was actually there! I must have packed an old tattered suitcase at least 2 or 3 times; mom even helped once, but we lived in the mountains, so I never got very far and I was under 10.

7:28 AM  
Blogger madcapmum said...

Y'know, I hope my daughter doesn't read this post and get any ideas - you're a little TOO descriptive! Best wishes for good health for your Wee Hag.

7:36 AM  
Anonymous John said...

Hi Weary! I hope the little one feels better soon. I'm glad you didn't run away... :) Great post!

8:35 AM  
Blogger mrhaney said...

that was a great story carol. i bet your parents were beside themselves. yhey probably thought you were dead. i told my mother i was going to run away once and she said, i will help you pack. that stopped me right there.

10:00 AM  
Blogger Kris said...

SO glad you made it home. I'm thinking of you and hoping your little one is ok.

10:52 AM  
Blogger anumita said...

You lived my dream! I hatched plan after plan to run away, even kept a bag packed but never had the guts. I could see the two little girls roaming about till nightfall... very well written!! Hope SJ is feeling better now.

11:43 AM  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

Sorry that SJ is sick. Hope she feels better soon.

This was quite the interesting story. I second (third, fourth, 500th?) the suggestion that you write a book.

I tried to run away, I know I was at least 7 because I had Panda. I got about 3 feet out the door when Mom told me to get back inside. Sigh.

11:51 AM  
Anonymous Simply Coll said...

Ah yes.. the grass is always greener.. especially when you are very young.
I had a similar experience with a friend at about the age of 12. We decided to leave home.. but after a couple of hours we returned, sure that we would be in BIG trouble. It was a bit of a shock when we discovered that neither one of us had even been missed. :-)

12:18 PM  
Blogger Merci said...

Don't you wish you could still call mom or dad and ask them to come and get you? Wasn't it nice to have someone to fix everything that went wrong in your world (or who you believed could do so, at any rate).

5:55 PM  
Blogger Pseudo-intellectual lunatic said...

cool blog

9:53 PM  
Blogger Hick said...

I never had the nerve to run away...although I was accused of it once because my grandmother was not listening when I told her where I was going.

A couple of years ago the thought crossed my mind more than once...but it's the old "What am I thinking? I can't leave my family."

Great story.

9:35 AM  
Blogger frustratedwriter said...

The closest I came to leaving home was when my oldest bro and I decided to tell my dad we didn't like the way he ran the house... He promptly packed us two small bags, told us to hit the trail and go find someplace we could be happy. Considering we lived five miles from the city, had no place to go, and were allowed to only take the clothes on our back and one set of extras, we did the right thing. We cried our way back into the house, apologizing profusely for ever doubting his wisdom and rules. A scary moment for a third grader...

4:50 PM  
Blogger lilly05 said...

I can empathize with you we've had all six down with gastroenteritis (stomach flu) this past couple of weeks. I was a fairly timid youth ,but I did run away for a weekend at least. I was gone for 4 days and I realized very quickly just how frightening and un-glamorous the whole act is. My Mom was very afraid and very angry and when I finaly met her for coffee I was asked to read the letter she wrote on day 2 of her search for me. The letter was heart breaking and sobering. I didn't recieve any real punishment for what I did, but I never forgot the lesson.

1:44 AM  
Blogger sands of time said...

I always had my little bag packed ready to run away.Sometimes i did go.Well they were little adventures at the time.

10:26 AM  
Blogger kenju said...

Hi, Carol, thanks for the nice comments today. YOu are right to say that the ice man was before my time. My grandmother did have an old "ice box" when I was very young, and I remember it, but I was never there to see the ice delivered, though I am sure it must have been.

At home, we had a fridgidaire with ice trays (weren't we

2:07 PM  
Blogger kenju said...

Are you kidding me??? You can write a whole book in my comments any time you want!!!

2:31 PM  
Blogger kenju said...

Are you kidding me??? You can write a whole book in my comments any time you want!!!

2:31 PM  
Blogger Spinning Girl said...

This was such a heartwarming story. I was living all of your wide-eyed optimism!!!

9:22 PM  
Blogger Rob Seifert said...

I sometimes run off to some quiet corner of the world, generally somewhere in my overpopulated house, in an effort to escape. I've never been one to run for long. I know when I've reached my limit and when I do, I withdraw and recharge - much to the agrivation of Cher. I do so wish I had the strength to stand my ground and push through, but I'm none to kind when I'm that stressed and I think it's intolerably rude to take it out on other people. Still, I understand the reflex to run.


11:20 PM  

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