Thursday, December 19, 2013

Desperately Seeking School

See this guy?

This guy is desperate- desperate- to go to school.

He tries to hide amongst the other preschoolers when I drop Atticus off.  He listens with ill-concealed envy to his siblings' stories of school, then makes up fantasies about his own school that he attends daily (it's a magical place where all you do is eat snacks, read books, and play... wait a second, that sounds like real preschool), and says things like, "Batman has to go to school!" because he still self-identifies as Batman.  

It's at times like this that I'm especially thankful we don't live on a farm in 1940's Kansas.

Let me tell you a little story about my grandma, her little brother- who, like Caedmon, was dying to get to school- and a special adventure said little brother forced upon their family one fall day.  

I actually called my grandma before writing this, as my memory of this piece of family lore was especially rusty.  Sometimes there's just no improving upon the original telling of a story, so interspersed with my diction will be direct quotes from Grandma.  You can thank me later.

Once upon a time- the 1940's, if you must know- there was a farm in southeast Kansas.  On that farm lived a delightful little family, one member of which had recently started school.  ("I was in first grade, and Wayne was used to having me around; he was awful attached to me.")  Her little brother didn't seem to see any reason why he shouldn't also attend school, and one day he took it upon himself to accompany his big sister there.  

This was a problem because 1) he was four years old, 2) he lived miles from the nearest town and school, and 3) he decided the best way to get there was walking.  He saw no reason to inform anyone of his departure.  

I have no idea if he set out in the right direction, but clearly he was persistent.  ("He made it two miles!")  Right about that two-mile point a woman happened to look out her kitchen window and saw a little boy walking along the road.  ("She thought it was one of her own, which wasn't strange, I mean, she had eight kids.")  She went out, saw it wasn't, in fact, one of her own offspring, and brought him back to the house.  Fortunately, she wasn't the kind of woman who stuffs errant children into her basement as extra labor, although with eight kids, I guess she had plenty of "help."

While all this was happening, this little boy's mother- that would be my great-grandma- realized her four-year-old boy was gone.  Missing.  Nowhere to be found.  She found her husband, together they alerted various neighbors, and a search on horseback commenced.  ("The corn was 20 feet tall at the time, which didn't help matters.")  

After realizing the little boy walking by wasn't one of her own, the fertile mother packed Wayne and who knows how many of her own children up and went into town.  ("If you can believe it, Brazilton had two grocery stores back then!")  She took him to a grocery store, asking around if anyone there knew him.  They tried to ask him what his name was, where he was going, etc, but didn't get much out of him.  ("He called me 'Sissy,' but it sounded like 'Tussy,' because he was a late talker.  So all those people heard him saying was, 'Tussy!  Tussy!'  Well, they didn't know what 'Tussy' meant.  Oh, I had to stick up for Wayne plenty of times in school because he couldn't speak plain.  Then, of course he went on to work at the Johnson Space Center"- that's NASA to you and me- "traveled all over and won all kinds of awards!")  

At that point, the people at the grocery store started calling around, asking if anyone was missing a kid, and they eventually managed to connect my frantic great-grandparents with their school-bound son.

Now, you could argue that today's world is a more dangerous place, and if Caedmon were to set out for school on his own, he may not be returned to us so quickly, safe and sound.  That might be true.  But I also know that we don't live around dangerous farm equipment, and we have these handy little things called "cell phones," marvelous inventions that probably would have cut that search short all those years ago.  Not to mention our local small town police force, to whom I speak periodically when they drive by our house to admire our children's sidewalk art and ask if I've seen the pet dog/cat/whatever they're searching for.

All the same, I won't be mentioning this little story to Cade anytime soon.  We don't need to be giving him any ideas; I have no desire to take part in a panicked search for our son, on horseback or otherwise.

1 comment:

  1. That is quite a story. I've had the "panicked search" after missing a kid for 15-30 minutes, but fortunately found the kid again each time. Always terrifying.


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