Monday, April 14, 2008

Almost Gone

When I was in elementary school one of the main things that made an impression on me was this one film they would show in the school auditorium. It seems to me that I most have seen it about fifty times or more, the reality is that I could only have seen it twice, maybe three times at the most. The film dealt with “Stranger Danger” and addressed how you were not supposed to talk to or except candy from strangers. I don’t remember every aspect of the film, but I know it was sort of a How to Guide on How NOT to get abducted. The only vivid memory that I carry of the film, to this very day, was the part where there is an empty playground where a merry-go-round slowly spins and near it the remnants of crushed candy. This films use to scare the hell out of me every year and I’ll tell you why. My family only lived two blocks from Paul L. Dunbar Elementary school; a school in which I walked home from. ALONE. Now I wasn’t one of those latch key kids, by any means. No, in fact, my dear Grandmother was always at home waiting for me and my older siblings. But still, that film would make a young brother’s two block trek home a thing that horror films were made of. I think that I have probably mentioned in previous post that I was a very sensitive kid and I took the fact that someone was out there willing to snatch me away from my love ones very seriously. I kid you not when I said that I would be paranoid for at least two weeks after seeing that damn film, convinced that someone wanted my rusty, snappy headed, ass. (You can probably image how I reacted when I was in the third grad and my mean sisters explained to me about death and made me very much aware that all things had to die, including myself. I remember the events that lead to that conversation quite vividly.) Anyway, I tell you the story of that film because I always thought that it made a big impact on me, because of my reaction to it. So what happened during the summer, before I went to the third grade was very surprising to me.

Of course I don’t remember everything that happened that faithful day, but I will try to paint you the picture that replays in my mind every now and again. It had to have been on a Saturday because I remember that my mother didn’t have to work. And it had to have been sometime in the late afternoon, because otherwise you would not have caught my happy ass outside; not while there were cartoons to watch. Anyway, I remember playing in the middle of the street, right in front of our house. Out of all of the kids in our family, I was the most sheltered. My grandmother did not like me to venture far. Hell, I think school and up the block to play with my young cousin D, was about as far as my Gammy would allow me to roam. That woman loved me more than life itself, and visa-versa. It was her that threw my Step-father out when he beat me so bad that I could go to school the next day (but that’s another story altogether).

So, I was playing out in front of the house, alone, when this vehicle drives up beside me and stops. I am standing on the passenger side of the vehicle which is being operated by this white guy. This should have been my first clue that something was wrong. I lived in the hood; in a neighborhood was build for black folk, by black folks. It was the FUBU of neighborhoods. Hell, the only white people I ever came in contact with were the once I saw on the little black and white television set, in my grandmother’s room, and the one white teacher I remember from the first grade. The man spoke to me from the driver’s side of the car, telling me that he was looking for my mother and wanting to know if I knew where she was at. Well, my mother was just down the street, at my ainney’s (aunt’s) house; literally just six houses away from where we were, and I told the man so. He asked me where exactly and I remember pointing up the street and telling him it was the first duplex on his left. Hell, you could see the damn house from where we stood.
The guy, for some reason or another, was not comprehending and asked me if I would get into the car and show him. Well, I don’t know where all my paranoia from those kidnapping films went because before I knew it I was saying yeah and preparing to open the car door so I could get in. Through the grace of GOD, all of a sudden my little cousin D came running up from behind the car yelling for me not to get in. I mean he was hauling ass to catch me before I made the mistake of my life. In that instance the man drove off.

When D, who is two years younger than me, made it up to me he called himself lecturing me about how I should never get into cars with strangers. It wasn’t really a lector. All he said was that I should never get into a car with a stranger. But keep in mind, I was two years young, and considered myself to be a heck of a lot smarting than D, so I was somewhat offended that he had presumed to tell me anything. I remember actually saying to him, “I know that” and walking away. Can you believe that crap? What an arrogant little bastard I most have been. It wasn’t until a couple of day later that it dawn on me that the man had never actually went up the street to talk to my mom. And it wasn’t until years later that I realized exact what fate my Cousin D probably saved me from.

There is not a doubt in my mind that white man had evil intention for me and if God had not sent D to stop me from getting into that car I would not be alive to tell this story. Like I said, every now and again this story will play itself in my head. It went through my head when I read Jaybee’s blog the other day and I just wanted to share. Me and my cousin never speak about that faithful day, but sometime I wonder if he remembers it. The day that he probably saved my life and my childhood innocence. I’m thinking that he probably wouldn’t remember, even if I were to bring it up to him. After all, he was just being a good cousin. It was my life that almost ended.

-One Man’s Opinion. Peace.


Ms Smack said...

First Comment, HOORAY! Stolen by an Aussie!

First of all, congratulations on escaping the clutches of a freakin' predator.

Secondly, I wonder if that's a deep burning reason why you became a cop?

If not, can you write a post about what motivated you to do so?

I work in child protection (s.abuse, specifically) and am always interested to read how professional people were inspired to work in fields, like yours and mine.

:) Great post!

Mizrepresent said...

Wow, One man...this story sounds like my own...i wrote a post about it awhile ago...almost the same scenario, the guy, the car...except he wanted directions to a street, and asked if i would get in to show him...i got in...he took me for a ride, one i won't forget...i used to love maltballs, had just returned from the store with a full bag, and some Pampers for my nephew...from that day on...i couldn't eat my favorite candy because it reminded me of that are so gullible an innocent. Glad things worked out for you too!

One Man’s Opinion said...

The story of my becoming a cop is not that interesting, ms smack, but I'll think about taking a wack at it.

Miz, how the heck did I miss that post. I don't think I check out my blog friends enough. Apparently.

Homer is My Co-pilot said...

That was a good post, thank god for cousins. Kids now a days would have cursed the white dude out lol

Pamalicious said...

Wow thank God for your cousin! I guess we all when it was kinda free to just roam the earth as a child have ran into this kinda situation. I remember walking home with my little brother and this car pulled up beside us and wanted to know if we wanted a ride home. I said no but my Brother was tired. Dude said he knew my father blah blah blah. I opened the door to get in and all of a sudden my next door neighbor pulled up and was like "DON'T GET IN THAT CAR, YOU DON"T KNOW THEM" I jumped back on the curb and the car pulled off with the door still open! Whew! I remember they didnt tell my folks but gave us a tongue lashing.

Almost as bad as my brother taking drum lessons from that idiot Wayne Williams SIGH.

Don said...

That is a good story, a somewhat scary story. I'm sure alot of parents cringe @ the idea of their child being taken by a stranger. I know I do. Good deal your sixth sense kicked in, and your cousin played a key part in not allowing the stranger to prey upon you.

Enjoyed the read.

Mark D. Aster said...

I'm sure that guy was just trying to recruit you for the Republican Party or the Catholic Church!!

Sorry, not making light of the situation, I just think humor is therapeutic, even in dark circumstances (providing, as in your case, no one eventually got hurt). But then I laughed at being shot at by insurgents in Iraq, so maybe you shouldn't listen to me ...

And thanks for the illustration, One Man. As a former cartoonist, I've always thought the creator of Calvin and Hobbes was an anti-commercial, self-righteous mental retard. That strip clip just confirms my suspicions!

Thoughts of a Southern gal said...

Kids are so innocent. I can't recall anything like this happening to me. I was a shy kid so I know I probably wouldn't have talked to any stranger.

One Man’s Opinion said...

Mark, you are funny. I am never offended, ro rarely offfended. Remember, I am a cop. I find myself in very gruesome situations where I am cracking the most inappropriate jokes. Oh, and what up with all the cop haters out there? And all honesty, I get a lot of the cop hating, uncle Tom remarks, just because I am a black cop. I just don't understand it. Oh, well.

To everyone else, I wonder how many people actually experience this same scenario and live to tell about it. I'm betting that the number is high. It does send a chill up my body when I think of exact what could have happened to me if I had gotten into that car. I wasn't much of a fighter. Hell, my sister's fought all my battles for me.

Brittany said...

Enjoyed the story. I remember we had a guy like that who would drive around my neighborhood a lot and one day he almost got one little girl. The police made me and my sister try to pick the guy out from a line up.

cathouse teri said...

You should send D a thank you card. Don't mention the event. Just say, "Thanks." :)

It's the toughest thing in the world to teach children about strangers. My daughter knew all about that rule. But when she was four and we were out in the front yeard, I looked away long enough for her to walk over to the guy who was delivering water, and she was standing right next to his open driver's door chatting with him. She was a darling girl and who could resist talking to her. He was a very nice man, but when I got her inside I said, "Honey! You know you are not to talk to strangers when mommy isn't with you!" She said, "I know that, mom. But he wasn't a STRANGER, he was nice!"

It was then I realized that no matter how much we warn them, they equate the word STRANGER with MEAN AND UGLY PERSON, so really it's only trying to keep close watch on them and the grace of God that prevents them from being taken by the baddies.

I'm so glad your cuz was there to help.

cathouse teri said...

I love my typos ~ front YARD! :)

Thoughts of a Southern gal said...

I wish I knew you were in Dallas. You probably mentioned it before but I just forgot. You are one blogger I would love to meet. I plan on being in Dallas again before the summer is out, so I'll let you know.

**kicking myself for not knowing One Man lives in Dallas**

MP said...

Oh my goodness that's crazy as hell! Thank God for your cousin! I pray that no other child ended up in that car. Black missing children never get a credible search.

One Man’s Opinion said...

Wow, that is very interesting story and cute story, Teri. I never thought about that before, but it is true; kids probably do associate strangers with strange folks.

One day I was with my little nephew, up at Mountain View College; where I use to work in the Admissions office. They love me up there and I made the rounds with my little nephew (who thinks he rules the world when we are in places). Well, we were talking to one of my good friends, in her office and this guy came in. He also works at the college.
Well, while we were talking, I was aware that little man was over near the guy, but I was focused on talking to "N". I was about a couple feet away from little man when he came zipping over to me and grabbed a hold of my legs. He was exactly scared but the guy had obviously did something that made him run to me for protection. I gave the guy, who was smiling, a quizical look. But in my mine I was thinking, "Man, don't make me shoot you over my nephew". You know I was packing under my shirt. I am so over protective. LOL

cathouse teri said...

Poor little guy. Good think his Good Uncle is packing!

Children do have a natural sort of shyness toward strangers. This is a good thing. Often parents will try to push them into being more comfortable with strangers and then stay, "Don't talk to strangers!"

We're weird, us parents.

JayBee said...

*singing*they said i wouldn't make it, they said i wouldn't be here today*end singing* the question about your mother's whereabouts probably had two purposes-one as a lure to get you in the car and two to make sure that she was nowhere in sight so as to stop his plot. your cousin definitely was on his game that day. yeah you were arrogant. if i had been your cousin my retort would have been, "Well if you know so much how come you were about to get in the damned car?" p.s. loving the shout out. can i get a link? you know, just in case someone wants easy access.

James Tubman said...

a devil is what a devil does

look at the most evil people on the planet

are they black

or are they some other color

Mark D. Aster said...

Sadly, One Man, we not only have to protect the shorties from the future guest stars of the latest episode of "To Catch a Predator," but other idiot adults as well.We just lost a female school crossing guard in my city because she jumped in front of a first grader to save his life from a semi driver speeding through a school zone. If I was cop, I'd be pumping mad bullets in the domes of people who speed through school zones.

As for me, I almost got molested by an older black male at a mall bookstore when I was a shortie. The perv grabbed my behind and asked me if I wanted to "make some money." I got the hell away and hurriedly went to find for my parents. I was scared to go back to that store for over a year. Three decades later, I've never told anyone about it (until now).

I don't believe in all that Rikki Lake "I'm scarred for life" shit. Shortly after it happened, I read G. Gordon Liddy's "Will" and I worked up the nerve to confront my fears and go back to that store the next year. I was looking to put a can of whup-ass on the perv!

Speaking of pedophiles, I see the Pope is in the country, so we might want to put a double helping of cellophane wrap over our booty holes and stay out of D.C. for the next few days ...

One Man’s Opinion said...

Wow, Mark, you are brave to tell the story, but wrong for you comment about the Pope. How disrespectful is that? LOL. I applaud you for confronting your fears and I wonder what you would have done if you'd actually ran into the perv. It is a small world after all.

LOL, Jaybee said, "easy access". How about I started singing that song in my head as soon as I read it. A link, gotta put my boy on the linkage. I am so lazy about that crap. I also need to do ms smack, pam, brittany, cathouse, tubman and a few others. None of you should ever have to ask. I am just so lazy. It is like you are asking me to help you move. But, damn if my boy JB didn't hook me on my letter to the Editors. Yeah, I need to get on put dating my bloggable folks.

Mark D. Aster said...

(LOL) I'll behave. I haven't had my coffee yet. I just thought it was delicious irony that you post about a near incident with a pedophile and Bush is toasting the world's No. 1 purveyor of perversion this week.

Man, you got good timing!