A four-year-old boy goes off to the grocery store, with his two-year-old sister in tow, to buy some laundry detergent for their Mother. It was only four blocks to the store. What could possibly go wrong?
For the past several years, I’ve jokingly been giving my Mom a bunch of grief about the quality of motherhood that she had provided for me and my two sisters during our developmental years. My Mom and Dad were actually excellent parents, but it’s become a running joke between my Mom and I, like when I bring-up the sixteen mile bike hikes that me and my friends went on when we were just ten-years-old, and she laughs “Where was I?”
I don’t know Mom. Where were you when I went to Church camp for a week during the summer, the highlight of which was taking an open-air shower with my Minister and his son? Or the sleepover with my cousin in Maryland, when we were making way too much noise, at way too late of an hour, and my Uncle came to the door to quiet us to bed, wearing only a whiskey sour and a lit cigarette? Perhaps you missed the memo on the day when Me, Mitch, and John were shooting rats at the town landfill with a slingshot. And, I have No memory of a babysitter named Jennifer who watched us while you went to work during the summer. I was too busy running through the fields around our house! (Actually, that was probably my big faux pas. Chasing grasshoppers with a BB gun while there was a teenage babysitter in the house. I was only ten, but that’s no excuse. Apologies to all men).
Our first real home was in Edinburg. Virginia. If it had been Edinburg, Scotland, then I’d speak with a really silly accent. At the time, the population of Edinburg (Virginia) was around 500 people.
Dad was at work. Mom was cleaning house and doing laundry. She was nearly out of laundry detergent, so she gave me a five dollar bill and sent me on my way down the four blocks to Lutz’s Grocery Store. And then she went back to cleaning. After a half of an hour or so, she noticed that my two-year-sister was nowhere to be found. Seems that my little sister BJ did exactly what little sisters do, and had tagged along with her older brother for the four block walk to the grocery store.
Just as Mom was beginning to panic about her missing daughter, my sister and I strolled back into the kitchen.
A two and four-year old, just walking down the street hand-in-hand. No phone calls to the one policeman on duty. No abductions. No molestations. I even brought back the correct change from the grocery store.
The only problem was, that instead of Cheer laundry detergent, I had purchased a big container of Cottage Cheese. Hey, Cheer…Cheese. That’s pretty close:) I was only four.