Sunday, March 9, 2008

Why do children run away?

Why do children run away isn't something I have to ask myself. I know why. It's even very simple. They find the conditions they are living under, intolerable. I'm not even going to discuss what children will put up with and still stay at home.

I started leaving home for the summer when I was living in LeMars. I'd stay at my grandmothers in MN for a couple of weeks and then leave. She always gave me 10 or 20 bucks to leave with so she knew I'd have some money. Heh, if she only knew.

In the early 60's you could hitch hike anywhere and be sure of getting a ride in a little bit of time. When I started going to my Grandmothers on weekends I'd hitch hike and I discovered that if I left at the same time every week I got picked up by the same people. I could be 130 miles away in 3-4 hours.

Anyway, when I'd leave my grandmothers I mighty go back home for a big party or because there was a girl I wanted or had a date with but if there was nothing planned I would head west. A kid wiling to work could always find odd jobs and ways to pick up a few bucks if need be.

If questioned by adults, I was on my way to visit my sick grandmother a few hundred miles west of where ever I was. Far enough away to not be easily, accidentally identifiable. So I got around a lot in the summers and spent as little time at home as was possible.

Never stayed in a motel either. Wasn't old enough and had no drivers license. I didn't mind sleeping outside at all. Never did until I got over 35 or so. Empty freight cars were good places to sleep. Warm enough with my jacket and a blanket. Handy for rides to the next town too if they slowed down enough for me to jump off.

I never hopped enough freights to really learn scheduled runs like the hardcore guys did. Generally all I had to do was ask another kid and they'd know what time and where it was headed. They were reliable rides if you really needed one.

Now I never told my mother where I was going or when I was coming back They'd get up and I'd be gone and I didn't talk to them until I came back home. No cell phones back then. Damn, I miss the old days. Whatever.

One summer my maternal grandmother was at our house. I hadn't known she was coming or I'd have gone back to see her. Anyway after a few days she asked my mother where I was. My mother told her that she didn't know where I was or when I'd be back. She said she assumed I'd be back if I got hungry enough or when school started.

My grandmother was horrified and contacted everyone she knew that I might go and stay. She told me all about it the next time she saw me. Amusing now but she was very serious at the time and I was, whatever.

My maternal grandmother threw me a curve that summer. A big curve. One I never saw coming. She sat me down before I left, to tell me she and my grandfather wanted to adopt me and were willing and able to fight for custody.

I hurt her when I said no. Probably the worst I ever hurt her. She only saw me on my best behavior and wasn't exactly happy with that but it was kid normal at the time. I couldn't be what she expected me to be because I was to far gone down my own path by then.

I was to bad, in my mind, to stay there. My wildness would have gotten out and she wouldn't have been happy. Nor would I have been. She had two or three things I couldn't tolerate. Molesting uncles and rules.

By then I had my own rules, lol, not quite the right ones or even the ones I have now but rules just the same. My rules gave me complete freedom from most things. My strong will and bad temper got me through a lot of things I shouldn't have gotten through.

I guess you could call it running away but I always went back. I wasn't stupid. The beatings and the emotional distance were a fair trade off for heat and food. I could handle it. Besides, I still believed the lie that you couldn't be successful without a high school diploma.

1 comment:

Notebooks said...

Hello. This post is likeable, and your blog is very interesting, congratulations :-). I will add in my blogroll =). If possible gives a last there on my blog, it is about the Notebook, I hope you enjoy. The address is A hug.