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If it Flies Out the Window, We Don’t Go Back

31 May 2012

From author Susan Daley:

As children, my brothers, sisters and I amused ourselves during the warm hours of afternoon church with a pencil and the program. Besides connect-the-dots and tic-tac-toe, we sometimes illustrated our family piled into our station wagon “going to grandma’s.” There would be luggage strapped precariously to the top with dangling ropes and trailing an errant suitcase or doll. Windows were filled with faces, friendly hands and bare toes. Items flew from windows and trailed behind like a mine field of shoes, socks, toys, and books. Our early attempts at cartooning, despite the chaos they illustrated, were based on the giddy anticipation and enjoyment we got from going places.

A favorite thing to do was my brothers and sister just younger than I, and I would huddle in the back of the station wagon (pre-seatbelt era) with a blanket over our heads and tell ghost stories. We rehashed “bloody fingers” until we could almost tell it in unison. About then I began making up ghost stories—including the now infamous (among siblings) “Aunt Mae.”

Once, there was a drawback to being part of a large family on the road. We stopped at a rest stop over-looking a river gorge and while everyone lined up for a drink of water. I dashed inside for a more urgent need. When I came out, the station wagon and my family were gone. Unsure what to do, I sat down near the highway and prayed, trying not to cry or become frightened.

Inside the car, several miles up the road, my older sister thought of something she wanted to tell me and called, “Susan, Susan.” Even then, it was a while before they determined I was not in the car. Then they quickly turned around and came back to find me patiently waiting. The good part was, that despite my size, my mother held me on her lap the rest of the way over the mountain passes to grandpa’s.

Link to the rest at Looking Out My Backdoor

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4 Comments to “If it Flies Out the Window, We Don’t Go Back”

  1. Something very similar happened to me as a child. We were getting ready for a trip to Grandma’s house for dinner. My mom sent me to change my shirt and I stopped to take care of the same sort of urgent business mentioned above. By the time I came out of the bathroom, the house was dark and I was alone. My parents realized I wasn’t the car about 10 minutes into the trip. I got a trip to get ice cream with Dad. When you have 5 siblings, a one on one trip with Dad is a special thing.

  2. I got left behind at a car rental place. I’d followed my sire in to use the bathroom — as he’d done so first — and when he came out first, he thought a pile of coats in the back seat was me, asleep.

    It wasn’t till he got to the hotel or whatever that he realized I was missing.

    The rental car people were very nice, though.

  3. I was left behind in a theater, although not by my parents.

    Friend’s birthday party involved taking a bunch of 10-year-olds to the community theater for a play.

    After the show, the horde exiting through the lobby was large. And tall! Somehow I became separated from my party. I suspect I was too timid in pushing my way through all those adults.

    By the time I got out to the parking lot, both cars were gone.

    I didn’t know what to do. I had no money to use the pay phone. This was decades before cell phones. And it didn’t occur to me to seek help from strangers.

    I waited on the curb outside the lobby. The theater people locked up without noticing me and departed. There I sat, in the dim light of a couple entry lights, dark all around, alone.

    Eventually, my friend’s mom missed me. I think they got all the way home. It was a long time before she arrived back at the theater!

    I was mortified when a few tears squeezed out in her frantic embrace. If only she had not hugged me! (10-year-olds don’t cry!)

  4. My parents once lost me in a Walmart. I got distracted by something shiny, looked around to discover my family was no longer with me, and promptly took my book out of my pocket and sat down to read. I never heard them calling for me over the PA system. I think my parents eventually just happened to stumble across me… or maybe I finished my book and found them because I was bored.

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