Friday, June 11, 2010

Memory Lane Friday - A Time I Was Scared

This week's Memory Lane Friday topic is "A Time I Was Scared." I've been trying to think of a time I was actually scared, and not just nervous, jittery, startled, or something else that's milder than scared.

The one time I can think of being really, truly scared is when I was very young. I must've been around 4 or so, and my parents and I lived in California.

Well, one day we were visiting touristy Solvang, CA for the day. Solvang is this Danish village near Santa Barbara and Buellton, CA and seems very cute, touristy, quaint. I remember a lot of walking around, and being out in the sunshine. It was nice when we went into a store because of the air conditioning. Not that I minded being outside a lot when I was young . . . I just remember the stark difference between the bright California sun's heat and light, and the coolness and momentary darkness upon first walking into a store.

At some point as I followed my mom into a store, I suddenly became overwhelmed with the number of people heading into the store at the same time. It was like I was in a stampede. I was surrounded by adults, all strangers.

Panicking, I didn't know what to do because my mom was not in sight anymore. Well, in a 4-year-old's brain, logic obviously doesn't function in a common-sense manner. Why would it, right?

Now, I don't know why I hadn't been holding my mom's hand . . . maybe I had been, or maybe, as 4-year-olds sometimes do, I'd wrangled my hand from hers.

But the point was that I was not holding her hand at the moment, and I found myself separated from her, in a crowd of strangers.

So what did I do? I turned around and walked right out of the store. Made sense at the time. Well, it made sense to ME, okay?

I found myself out in the open, strangers walking up and down the sidewalk, window shopping, busy. I looked around, hoping to spot my mom . . . of course she was already inside, so I wouldn't have seen her outside. But how would I have known I wouldn't see her outside, but because I was LOST and she would be the only one who could save me, I expected to see her.

And . . . I didn't see her.

So what did I do next? I went to the first thing that caught my eye. Wanna know what it was?

(Photo by Kevin Law, 13 Sep 2007, Covent Garden, London, England.)

Yep, it was a red British-style telephone box not too far away from the store entrance where my mom got lost. I saw it and being red and big, it was appealing to me as a 4-year-old.

I walked into it, and stood there. I watched people going by, wondering if I would see my dad walk past. (He had gone to some other store, or maybe he had gone to find a men's room, so that's why my mom and I were temporarily alone together.)

I vaguely remember walking out and looking around wondering where my mother was, and what took her so long to come get me. You know, because I assumed she knew exactly where I was. Why wouldn't she? was my reasoning!

As each minute ticked, I became more and more worried, thinking, I'm hungry. Who will feed me? Where will I sleep? I'm tired.

Finally, I see her coming toward me. She was fighting hysterics, so of course I was confused. *I* was scared because I didn't know where she was, but why was she acting scared? I wouldn't have understood at that age, right?

Well, we were reunited, and my fear was immediately forgotten. I know my mom remembers this incident; I remember talking to her about it within the past few months. But if I asked for details, I wonder if it was actually Solvang? I have distinct memories of what the town looked like - and it was very old-world looking.

Now, I don't have any photos of me or my family during our trip to Solvang.

But I do have photos of one of my last visits there as an adult. I was stationed in California while I was in the Air Force. I lived there from late autumn 1999 to June 2000. From where I lived, Solvang was oh, maybe about a 45 minute drive. I'd estimate it was about 40 miles away.

Here are a few photos from the Solvang area from late 1999:

And here is the California coast, somewhere between Lompoc and L.A.:

That's it for this week. Please check back next week, when the Memory Lane Friday topic is "My Dad." I have it tough, because I have to wade through a lot of great stories!

Before you go, please click on the button to check out this week's other "Memory Lane Friday" posts:


varunner said...

So scary! Your poor mom - she must've really been flipped out too. Those pictures...well, it looks like such a charming place.

Andrea (ace1028) said...

Amazing what you can remember from that age. Makes me think of what my daughter will remember when she is an adult. Thanks for sharing!

Nicole said...

So scary for both you and your mom! Glad you found a somewhere to stay put and that she found you!

Beautiful pictures! Looks like a very cool place!!

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