Robert Burns wrote “The best laid schemes of mice and men, Go often awry”. So it isn’t hard to imagine what happens to schemes that aren’t thought out at all.
Kathy, one year older, and I were very similar. We were each the oldest child in our family, the two oldest kids in our neighborhood, and both preferred to be boss. When we weren’t fighting for domination, we joined forces for double the trouble.
Kathy had dark brown hair and blue eyes. She was slightly stocky, in direct contrast to my skeletal skin and bones. Her extra flesh later transformed into the boy-getting- curves that passed me by. Not that I was jealous, much.
After church school let out, Kathy and I stood on the steps of St. Mary’s, waiting to board our bus back to Dix Avenue School.
“My Bochi lives close by,” I said. “Last weekend, when I spent the night, we walked to the park that’s across the street.”
“My grandmother lives across from our regular school,” she answered. “Sometimes I walk over instead of taking the bus, and Mom picks me up later.”
We put our heads together and spontaneously decided to surprise Bochi with a visit, and then stop off to surprise Kathy’s grandmother, before walking the seven miles home and surprising our parents. We told our plan to my brother, David and Kathy’s sister Connie, so they wouldn’t alert the bus driver of our absence.We hid in the shadows of the church portico. The din of our rowdy comrades became muffled as they loaded into the public school buses. David and Connie’s faces pressed against their window, scanning the shadows for us. I stuck my hand into the daylight and gave them a brave wave.
Our bus door unfolded and slammed shut. What the heck are we doing? I moved to shout out and run after our departing bus. Kathy squished me into the corner and clamped her hand over my mouth until our bus drove away, without us.
We did it. We officially ran away from church school. We emerged from our hiding place and stood on the empty sidewalk. The quietness did not create a peaceful feeling.
“I’m not sure how to get to Bochi’s street,” I admitted. “I’ll get directions from Mom and Dad, and we can visit her during our next walk home.”
“Okay, we’ll just see my Grandmother this time.” said Kathy.
We walked off in the direction our bus went, to the right. We failed to notice that our particular bus looped around the park, before heading left.
After half a mile, Kathy said, “I don’t think this looks right.”
“Maybe we should double-back and try a different street,’ I suggested.
“Let’s just go a little further,” she urged.
“No, I want to go back,” I said.
We stood arguing about our next move, when a car horn honked loudly beside us. We jumped in the air, screaming. In the driver’s seat, sat Mrs. Kill. Our absence had been noted when the bus returned to school. Under pressure, David and Connie squealed, and our parents were phoned. I didn’t know about Kathy, but I was relieved to have a ride home.
As Mrs. Kill soon discovered, this wouldn’t be the last time she provided runaway transportation back home.
I hoped running away didn’t cause another black spot to plop itself on my darkening heart. And I sincerely hoped God wouldn’t squeal about my little adventure to Sister Agnes Michael. She already knew enough about me.
Lessons learned: Before deciding to run away, get good directions and pay attention to details. And maybe bring some snacks.
Related post: Innocent Villain/Nun Cake
Now it’s your turn: Did you ever run away?
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