Walking to school when I was 11 y.o. was a daily anxiety ridden experience. I would leave the house after my mother had left for work, I walked about 6 big city long blocks but this was not a bustling city area, it was a suburb and the last street I traveled was a long straight and empty road that ran alongside the base of a freeway. Homes did not face the street, it was devoid of activity other than my lonely footsteps and an occassional passing car, very seldom did I see a vehicle drive this route.
As I ventured out alone each school day morning, I felt afraid. I would think, “If someone kidnapped me, know one would know or find out for a very long time. Mom is at work so she wouldn’t know I was missing until later tonight when she got home and I wasn’t there. By that time, I could be dead or anywhere.” This was many years ago when schools kept less track of kids not showing up for school. I had been thrust into the role of a latch-key kid. Plucked from a two parent home where I was “taken care of” and pretty much buffered from the big bad world. At that age 10 -11, I did not watch the news or read newspapers so I was not fully aware of the all dangers that were out there.
As I made my lunch for school in the morning, I would feel sad, alone and resentful. Mom, now a single parent, had to work and I was now on my own for most things including getting myself off to school. Dad was a bad man. We moved to a new state. This was a good thing that we were out on our own. Right?
Suddenly unprotected I dealt with the world all by myself and didn’t feel equipped or prepared but, I had no choice in the matter. As I traveled my lonely route, I would imagine someone driving up and trying to grab me, I needed a plan! To my left was the freeway with a long stretching very high chain link fence as a barrier. Across the street were several perpendicular streets that ended or emptied out onto the road I was on, they were flanked by homes that seemed so far away. My plan, I would run down one of those streets, looking for life inside one of those homes and run to the one that might help save my life. But what if I couldn’t find a house with lights on or people visible, what if everyone was gone all on their way to work? What then? How far and how long could I run? Would the people that tried to grab me be following as I ran, to thwart my escape?
Today in the news ( as has unfortunately happened to many times before ), they found a 10 y.o. little girl’s body not far from her home. She had gone missing days before, while walking to school. It makes me cry for her, that could have been me.