Remember when Jennie Lou ran away from home?
I was less than six years old. I know this to be a fact, because I was not allowed to cross Avery Street by myself until my sixth birthday.
I was also very angry. I don’t remember what or who I was mad at, but I was so mad, I decided that I would run away from home.
I emptied my little blue doll trunk of all my doll, Jane’s, clothes, and filled it with my own underwear, socks, shorts, and tops.
I announced to my mother that I was leaving home, and up the street I headed, dragging the blue doll trunk behind me. I was doing just fine until I got to the corner of Winnona Drive and Avery Street. I couldn’t cross Avery Street and I couldn’t cross Winnona Drive, so I only had one direction I could go. I turned left onto Avery Street, since it didn’t involve crossing the street, and continued on my journey. Things were going well, except the little blue trunk seemed to be getting heavier to drag. Then I hit another snag— the corner of Avery Street and Hilldale Drive. I could turn left onto Hilldale without crossing a street, but there was another rule that I would have to break. Hilldale didn’t have sidewalks, and I was not allowed to get off the sidewalk! What was I going to do? I turned around and retraced my steps the block toward Winnona Drive. By the time I reached the corner, I could hardly drag the little blue trunk another step.
I set the trunk down on the sidewalk and sat on it. I was still pretty mad, but I couldn’t quite remember why. I had thought running away from home was going to be so simple! But here I was, stuck at the corner, not able to cross the street, and the only direction left for me to go was down the hill toward home. I began to cry.
As soon as my first tears reached the corners of my mouth, who should appear from behind a big oak tree a couple of houses down on Winnona Drive than my big brother, Grady. He knelt down alongside of me, and asked me what the matter was. I blurted out my sad, sad story, interlaced with sniffles and sobs until he knew all about my resolve to run away from home. Grady gave me a big hug, and told me that Mama and Daddy would miss me so much if I ran away, and who would they have for a little girl if I was gone? Very gently, he guided me up to a standing position, took my little blue trunk in one hand, and my tiny hand in his other, and together we walked down the street to my home, where Mama was standing on the front porch, waiting for Grady to bring me back home again.
Running away from home wasn’t nearly as fun as I thought it would be, and paled in comparison to my Mama’s embracing and warm hug when Grady delivered me safely into her arms.
I never ran away from home again until I was forty-four years old. But that’s another remember when….