* On a side note, I will change the names of people going forward. I know those of you who know me will know who I am talking about, but this is my story and I need to be respectful of those people who didn’t sign up for this.
The year is 1978, I started 5th grade once school resumed after the Christmas break. Bring on 1979!
The first morning we woke up in Deer Trail my mom and older sister were gone. They left a note about breakfast, but we were alone. This place could have been on Venus for all we knew, we saw open plains, tumble weeds, and live animals. (Outside the San Diego Zoo) The smells were new, and we didn’t really like it to be fair, but we knew no one would find us out here. We finally got the tv to work and we tuned in the PBS station so Sesame Street it was. It seemed forever before my mom and sister came home with our breakfast. We didn’t know they had to drive so far for a grocery store, but they came back with my favorite doughnuts so they were forgiven.
Our neighbors were also our landlords. They had a little boy they called “Bud” and a baby girl that was covered in mosquito bites. It must have been a very mild winter-or we didn’t see her much-because I remember her covered, like chicken pox. We called her “sissy”. They grew into an extension of my family and we spent a lot of time with them. My mom got a job at the local “Elks” club, a perfect job for an alcoholic, but she was going to work where she wanted-and could find work- so she worked from 4:00pm every day. We were on our own to sort ourselves out from after school, and we had the freedom to come and go when we wanted to, and our small town was safe for us to ramble.
We spent a lot of time alone, although our neighbors were right next to us, we did what we wanted. I remember a lot of “scary” movies were coming out on television back then, and we wanted to watch them so we could talk about them the next day at school. Once we watched “The Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and it was so scary! We had pulled out the fold-out couch in the front room and we were sure there was a “body snatcher pod” underneath us. I called my best friend for help, and she suggested “Pam” cooking spray and a frying pan. I had to jump off the bed so they couldn’t reach me and I ran to the loo, only to find a “pod” hiding behind the toilet tank! I sat myself on the farthest edge of the rim, with my feet up, and did my business as fast as I could! My sister was yelling at me to see if I was still alive, and I ran back down the hall and took a flying leap back to my “death bed” without being attacked! My mom had no clue why we were sleeping with every light on, with Pam and a frying pan!!
We were in “autopilot” for sure, but things got serious with my mom…