It's Day 18 and we are to share a vivid childhood memory. There are quite a few I can think of and for the most part they are good and blissful and filled with childhood wonder. The following story is in no way a direct reflection of any of that. Instead you will read a tale of a runway, an interstate, and the police. You have been warned! And no the reason for running away had nothing to do with the fact that my mother decided to dress me as her twin in the above picture. Bless the dear daughter that I will probably end up doing the same to as some point in time.
This is a story that has been told time and time again. By me, by my parents, by pretty much anyone who has heard it to anyone who hasn't. The story has not changed once in all it's many years. It needs no embellishment. You see as a young child I had a flair for the dramatic. I tended to run away on occasion when I felt as if my poor soul had been violated. This is the beginning of all of that (or at least the beginning of me running away to some place outside the neighborhood).
The scene starts like this: I was right around 8 years old. I had this neat bicycle with pink and purple glitter writing. My older sister was staying with us for the weekend (she lived with her mom during the week) and I idolized her. I can't remember everything leading up to it but she called me a rat or something of the sort and I thought that she liked my friend more than me (because my friend was just kind of cooler and a lot more like my sister) and so I was upset. I got on my bike and decided that I was moving to Disney. I knew the general direction and so off I set. Me, my 8 year old self, and my bicycle.
En route to Disney I passed a neighbor as I was leaving the neighborhood and told him where I was headed. He seemed to have no intention of stopping me as he assumed - I'm sure - that I was just some kid playing pretend. Crisis averted, it was meant to be that I should live at Disney. I took the long way around (by mistake) because I went down a one way exit from the airport going to opposite direction (yup, riding against the flow of traffic). After about an hour I finally arrived at the Bee Line (now called the Beach Line) that takes you towards the beaches or Disney (even at 8 I knew how to make my way to the land of magic and happiness). However, the Bee Line is a toll road highway. I 1.) did not have change to pay the toll and 2.) did not know if they would allow me to pass through on my bike. So, as any 8 year old would do, I stopped my bike on the side of the highway to try to figure out how I would solve this problem.
As my young brain is processing this dilemma, the following occurred. My mom has realized I am missing and called the police. An off duty cop who was taking his step-son home saw a young kid on the side of a highway and thought, "hmmm, maybe I should see what is going on." Said cop (really nice guy), in his uniform, pulls over and comes to talk to me. He asks me what I am doing. Oh man, now I have to process quickly. So I tell him that I am just out for a bike ride and I live in the apartments that are right off the entrance to the highway (good gracious was I stubborn and persistent; I just freaking lied to the Popo). He says that I should not be on the highway and to wait where I was. This side of the story I know from my mother. Cop gets on his cop radio and calls into dispatch, who is still on the phone with my mom, he relays that there is a young girl on the highway at least an hours bike ride from our house (my mom didn't know I had been gone so long). The dispatcher tells this information to my mom who answers "oh there is no way that could be her." She was wrong! After a detailed description of the child and the bike my mother realizes that her child is on a highway. I am then loaded into the car with the cop, who offered to take me home (a ten minute drive), and his step-son. And that pretty much sums up my daring escape to the land of happiness. In hindsight it is a fun story to tell, but let's pray my future daughter has less of my tendencies and more of her fathers.
Needless to say I didn't really go anywhere for a while... until the next time I ran away, this time at night and with my younger brother, when we had our Gameboys taken away. How I am still alive to tell this tale I have no clue but thank the heavens above that I was found by the right people.