Random Thoughts

The runaway

... did you ever try running away from home?

by Ann Robbins Talbot

Family lore tells that I tried to run away from home at age seven. My newly widowed mother had to sell our house in Stoneham. We landed in an upstairs apartment directly across the street from my new school. We were a little afraid of our landlord because he drank his lunch. When he and his wife took me to the Rodeo at Boston Garden, he kept screaming at Roy Rogers and we were ushered out of the show. My mother returned to work at MIT and I terrorized the housekeeper who took care of my three-year-old sister and me. She made me eat Father John's Medicine. I vowed not to speak to her ever again, and I didn't. I needed to get away.

I knew how to take the bus to Malden Square where my tap dancing lessons were held. From there I planned to go to Evie's, a woman who was as close to my mother as a sister. Evie lived on Trenton Street in Melrose, a city I was totally unfamiliar with. I packed a suitcase -- black, looking like crocodile skin, but constructed of cardboard. My mother allowed me to go out the front door and down the walk before she stopped me. We discussed where I would go when I got off the bus. At that moment my plan went up in smoke and I decided to stay home.

I never ran away again -- until now. I have rented a trailer in Maine, my favorite place in September. I let a few family and friends know my whereabouts and cell phone number. But basically I have run away from home.

What am I running away from? Number One is the telephone. The eighty-five calls telling me the warranty on my car has expired, that I need a different television provider, that I have won a trip to somewhere warm. I am running away from the bare spots on my lawn, bare because my outside faucet is broken and I have procrastinated about calling my plumber. I am running away from the dozens of appointments and errands that must be done so life will proceed smoothly. I am running away from a garage and a cellar that desperately need my attention, areas piled high with unused items. I am running away from weeds. If I would organize, a couple of hours a week would do it. These projects bother me when I am looking at them. But out of sight, out of mind.

So here I am -- eating homemade frozen yogurt out of its original container and sleeping until nine wrapped in a down quilt. I do not read the newspaper unless I walk (a four-letter-word) to the store to purchase it. I take time to sit in the sun reading for more than an hour at a time. I say hello to everyone and comment on the fantastic weather, but that's the end of each conversation. I sit at my laptop editing and proofreading over a hundred pieces of my writing, deciding which should remain on the memory sticks and which should land in recycle.

At one time I took the Myers-Briggs test. I tested out as a total introvert whose favorite vacation would be a cabin on the beach that I could clean with a broom. I have found my ideal getaway. I'll probably never have the chance to run away again, but I certainly am enjoying it now.


September 5, 2008


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