It was one of those ice-breaker questions at some event I attended several years ago. “What is your earliest memory?”
I quickly and clearly (or so I thought) recalled a story from when I was the age of two! Later, I recounted the tale to my mother.
It began when we were at a beach somewhere on the Jersey shore. I was with my mother, my older brothers, my two aunts and my cousin. As we were playing in the sand, all of a sudden I realized my mother was not around. So I promptly took off – as only a two-year old could do – and set out to find her. Well, I found myself wandering around a parking lot. I don’t remember being afraid, merely on a mission.
I’m not sure how long I had been gone, but a lady noticed me obviously unattended, took me by the hand, and walked me to the ranger station. (God’s angels were working overtime that day!) It was quite a treat! The rangers showered me with cool aid, cookies and candy.
Eventually my mother showed up. I don’t know how she did it but she showed anger and relief all in one face! It never occurred to me that I was in trouble. I just knew my mother was lost and I went to find her!
My mother’s version (and apparently the correct one as she was older than me and had a more accurate rendition than that of a two-year old) was slightly different.
Yes, I was two! At least I got that right! 🙂
No, we weren’t at the Jersey shore. We were at Montgomery County Park. For those in the St. Louis area, this is comparable to Carlyle Lake in Illinois. In my defense, a big lake with a sandy beach, to a two-year old, looks like the ocean!
No, we weren’t with my aunts. We were with two of my mother’s best friends.
I’m guessing but probably those best friends never forgot that day. They were supposed to keep an eye on me while my mother went to use the facilities. When mother came back and asked where I was, suffice it to say, all hell broke loose. There was frantic searching in the water and on the beach. Lifeguards as well as the park rangers were alerted.
Obviously no one realized how far and fast a two-year old could travel. I was clear across the parking lot before the lady found me.
The Rangers in the station notified the Rangers on the beach. I was safe. My mother was found. All was right with the world. I couldn’t shake the feeling of being “watched” the rest of the day, though. 🙂