13 December 1976
One of my earliest memories is of the time that I ran away. The time of year has vanished from my memory, but from telling the story many times, the rest of the details are clear. I was about three, maybe 4, and wonderlust struck me. All my friends were older than me, and they had long had free row of the neighborhood. My outdoor time was spent in a fenced-in backyard.
Timmy and Bobby came by one day, the oldest friends I had, and asked me to go to Bobby's house with them. I protested that I was stuck on the wrong side of the fence. "No matter" they must have said, "climb over!"
Some time you must have had some entirely new thought. The experience is well worth a lifetime. This was one of those times for me, for never, never, had the thought of leaving ever occurred to me. "Sure", I said, "this will be great." But as I began climbing the fence I knew something was wrong.
It wasn't until I reached the far hill that my mother saw I was gone. (For you see, she knew that it had never occurred to me to leave. ) I heard her calling, or rather yelling, as she saw me. I blamed it on my friends. But she blamed no one, and as she yelled she taught. I cried, I fussed, and I was spanked, but as time wore on, I knew that she loved me. The next time I left, I knew that she knew, because I told her.