I suppose it’s time to share a few “secrets” from my own childhood, since I’m all about telling horrible stories about my own kids.
I remember the day I got chased on foot by an old man like it was yesterday.
I was 8 or 9.
My older sister and her friend were nice enough to let me tag along for one of their walks through my grandma’s neighborhood–which wasn’t actually a neighborhood like I think of now, but more like a long, busy main road sprinkled with houses and churches and the rare storefront. It was hot. I was probably carrying a stick. I know for sure that I was several steps behind them. It’s probably the only way they’d allow me to hang with them–as long as I promised to stay far enough behind as to not look like I had anything to do with them.
They were both 6 years older than me, and I was so NOT cool enough to be in their midst.
As I said, it was hot. It was mid-summer, and we were at our grandparents’ house for the weekend. This was our weekly schedule, since we were blessed to have both sets of grandparents living nearby. You see, this was “back in the day”–you know, when families actually lived near one another.
So, back to my story.
We’re walking. I’m probably dragging that stick. Who knows. But next thing I know, either my sister or her stupid friend decide to throw a glass bottle of Pepsi onto the road for a good time. Remember those? The huge ones you actually had to open with a bottle opener?! Well yeah.Some not-so-good times followed.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” is the paraphrased question yelled from across the street. (This is how I remember it.)
Either my stupid sister or her stupid friend yelled something rude back like “Whatever we want.” (Again, I don’t know exactly what they yelled, but whatever it was pissed this dude off in a big way.)
Some more yelling was exchanged, until the man yelled, “You better pick that up.”
They yelled no.
He threatened to call the cops.
They didn’t believe him.
Then he threatened to come after us.
And he did.
So, picture this. Three girls, about 15, 14 and 8 years of age, being chased ON FOOT by an old man (old being probably 50 or even younger. Like I said, I was 8. 30 seemed old to me then.)
I just remember my sister up in front of me, her long legs flying, yelling over her shoulder at me, “HURRY UP, KASEY! RUN!!!”
Oh my god.
I ran like the wind.
I think I ran faster that day than I EVER RAN in high school track.
We ran and ran down the street. Then we zipped through yards. Cut through the neighborhood like kids who’d been playing in these streets for years (we had been).
Then, we dove under a huge bush and tried to catch our breath.
We outran him.
I couldn’t believe it. I was huffing and puffing and tearing up and my sister and her stupid friend were telling me to calm down and shut up …
When … all of a sudden … there he was. Coming our way. We could see him. Could he see us? He ran right up to near the bush, where we were hiding, and he stopped.
Then, he walked away.
We did it. We totally won this one. We busted (they busted) a glass bottle on the road and this dude, who had been ON HIS ROOF at the time, saw us, screamed some crap about causing people to get flat tires. Said something about how HE better not get a flat tire … then he chased us. All around the neighborhood. For a long time.
AND WE WON.
We waited under the bush for about 10 more days. Well, not really, but even if it were only 10 minutes it felt like FOREVER. My skinny legs and knobby knees were shaking and felt like a bowl of JELL-O. Agh. The walk back to Gram’s was horrible. But we had won.
Just as we got to her back porch, running again because we knew the dude could possibly see us since he only lived a few houses away, we stopped dead in our tracks.
There he was.
Talking to Gram.
“There they are! Little brats …”
(Again, I don’t remember. But I’m sure he called us something. Hoodlums. Jerks. Neighborhood terrors.)
And then we heard Gram’s response.
“Get out of here you sick man. Chasing little girls around and scaring them. You leave them alone or I’LL CALL THE POLICE.”
Whoa. We still won. We WERE those neighborhood terrors. And to this day, I wonder if Gram KNEW we did it and still stood up for us to this sick “old” man who chased us around the neighborhood.
Every time I pass his house on the way to visit Gram, I look up at the roof to see if he’s up there, waving his fist at me as I pass by.
And I still chuckle to think I was only about 8 years old, and I OUTRAN HIM.