I was about eight years old at the time. Faith Community Church in Roslyn, PA had an old building behind its parking lot and that was my school. I attended a small Christian school and when I was in third grade, the school was moved to this facility. The attendance was small and probably half of the children and administration went to my church.
It happened that after school one day, Bonnie Black and I were waiting for my mother to pick us up. We waited and we waited and we waited.
Pretty soon we were waiting all alone.
Yep! Everyone left us. No one noticed we were still there. This was the 1950’s – pre-cellphones, pre-email, pre-stranger danger, etc.
Bonnie and I weren’t scared, just bored. So we decided to walk.
Actually it was my idea. I know, in the back of my mind, my mother wanted me to wait, but it just seemed like a better idea at that moment.
I knew my mother was coming from my church a little over two miles away in Willow Grove and it was on the same main road as my school. I thought we’d walk and watch for her and then jump up and down so as to flag her down so she’d see us and pick us up.
Remember I was eight years old.
We headed out. It was a busy street and fortunately we didn’t need to cross the road until we got to my church. That’s right! We never saw my mother. We never had the opportunity to jump up and down so as to flag her down so she’d see us and pick us up. I was so sure, SO SURE it was a great plan!
After waiting for the light to change before crossing, we arrived at my church. No one was there!
So I decided we should go next door to my Pastor’s home. It was a big beautiful old home with a gorgeous back yard filled with amazing gardens. In the summer, Sunday evenings, we’d hold church in this backyard. Our organist would bring out a little portable organ and pump away as we sat on folding chairs singing hymns. I cannot imagine how many church weddings were held in those beautiful gardens.
Bonnie and I were pretty tired by this time but we had to find my mom! A touch of panic was beginning to set in. I rang the doorbell and, to my dismay, there was no answer. We went around back and climbed the deck stairs. There, thank goodness, was the Pastor’s son, an adult himself, painting the deck. He was quite surprised to see us and I was really relieved to see him. I didn’t have a third option!
Immediately he went inside and called his mom. Actually my Pastor showed up. I was a bit afraid by this time. I mean I was eight years old and my Pastor seemed like GOD to me, up behind that huge pulpit every Sunday, with the occasional pounding on that very pulpit to make his sacred point. He looked different though without his black suit and white shirt and tie on. I didn’t remember ever seeing him this way – in casual attire. It never occurred to me that he even owned casual attire! I had the feeling, judging by the frown on my Pastor’s face, that I was in a heap of trouble!
I played the sympathy card: my mom was lost, after all. But it didn’t fly so Bonnie and I were told to sit and wait while the Pastor drove back to my school.
And there was my mother, no doubt a wreck! She had arrived late, stuck in traffic and didn’t know what to do when she got there and we were not there! For a while mother waited and was contemplating driving to the police station when my Pastor showed up.
She drove back and picked us up. I was happy/relieved to see her, yet at the same time, fearing what was to come.
I don’t remember the punishment but, knowing my mother, I was probably grounded for a very, very, very long time.
Back then – in the 1950’s – I had no fear, only a sense of adventure.
It’s a different world today. It’s a shame. But I hope we, along with our children and our grandchildren never lose our sense of adventure.
. . . but always, ALWAYS listen to your mother! 🙂