Try as I might I could not think of a thing that I was afraid of as a child. I always felt protected. Whenever a babysitter was called for it was either my mother, my father, an aunt, or my grandparents. My sister and I were never left on our own.
We went grocery shopping with our parents. We went to church together. We went on picnics, to the zoo, or fishing as a family.
The one thing that did scare me happened when I was thirteen going on fourteen.
Mom had given birth to my brother in October of 1955. In March Mom and I had gone out to pay the auto insurance and to do some shopping. Dad was home with Diane and George. Mom drove to the auto insurance office but it was closed for the night. We headed off to the grocery store. Mom was making a left-hand turn onto the side street next to the grocery store. A car headed in our direction was in its left-hand turn lane, but changed his mind and pulled out into the ongoing traffic lane where he stepped on the gas. He hit the passenger side of our car, where I was sitting. Our car got pushed into a car on the side street waiting for his light to change. Mom was thrown from our car and under the wheels of the third car. I was knocked out on the front seat of our car. The car that hit us had his engine pushed into his lap. Even though three cars were involved No One Got Hurt!
The car that hit us had his front end pushed into its front seat. Our car looked like an “X”. The third car, the driver who had seen everything, had a damaged fender.
Mom drove our car home!
Dad came stomping out of the house demanding to know where we had been. We had left in the daylight and returned when it was pitch black outside.
In a firm, yet steady, voice I was told to go inside. Then she told dad to take a look at the car to see if he could tell why we might be late. Not once did he ask if I was hurt or if Mom was hurt. All he cared about was how she drove the car home.
None of that was very scary to me. The scary part was the day Mom disappeared, five days after the accident. I don’t know why she left, but she was gone. I had to watch Diane and take care of George while Dad frantically looked for Mom.
I was so afraid that my mother wasn’t coming back.
Dad never did find her.
The next day Mom walked in the front door. She went to the room she shared with Dad and shut the door.
Dad told us to stay in the living room and to take care of the baby. He knocked on the bedroom door and was allowed in.
Things went back to a newer version of “normal”. The episode was chalked up to the “baby blues”. Mom told me that she had sat through four showings of the movie “Top Banana” at the all-night movie house.