My great aunt is turning 100 soon, and her daughter is collecting stories from family about her mom. I had a story, of course, but when my mom asked if I had any, I figured it wasn’t a good story to share. She thought it was, though. And, honestly, it’s kind of a fun story to tell.
So here’s the email I sent (with identifying info removed). Enjoy!
I’m late. Mom even tried to remind me to not be late, and I still forgot.
Which transitions well into my memory!
So when I was little and we still lived in Iowa, and when Mom was going back to school for a certification and Dad was working at the plant, I would be home alone to catch the bus! And it was fine, I was a responsible kid…most of the time.
But I also liked video games, and low and behold! There was a SNES (video game console) in the basement attached to a television! And it was a temptation I frequently couldn’t resist. So I’d play Super Mario Bros or Duck Hunt or Contra (the only game I could beat) while waiting for the bus.
I could totally hear the bus when he pulled in the driveway, and frequently the driver would honk at me if he pulled in and I wasn’t already outside.
Except the one day he was probably irritated with me for not getting outside on time and slowing down the route. Maybe he honked, maybe he didn’t. But either way, I didn’t hear him AT ALL, and when I finally realized it was getting pretty late in the morning and huh…the bus just wasn’t there yet…
Oops. I put two and two together and got “Holy crap, I missed the bus.”
And for my usually-responsible self, this was absolutely terrifying news. Mom was at school (probably – maybe interning or something), Dad was at work, and while I could have called Dad, neither of them was in a position to drive all the way back home (a 25-30 minute drive back for Dad, at least).
I was going to be in so much trouble. The school would call. I’d be grounded until I was 21 (hyperbole, yes, but I was 10-ish? Maybe 12-13?). And worse, my parents would be soooooo disappointed. Missing the bus is just not something I did!
I could only think of ONE person who could possibly bail me out of this awful, terrible, horrifying situation. Only ONE other phone number I knew. Only ONE person who would be at work, but also not at work, and who was kind of close, and who maybe, possibly, hopefully would be willing to give me a ride to school.
I was clearly more scared to miss school than I was to call Aunt Anne and explain that I had missed the bus and could she give me a ride to school, but I was pretty scared to do that, too. And, to my little pre-teen brain, with reason! I remember thinking Aunt Anne was annoyed to be disturbed, probably disappointed that I’d been so irresponsible, and she barely said a word from the moment she picked my distracted butt up to the moment she dropped me off at school.
I hope I remembered to say “thank you.”
But as annoyed or irritated or disappointed as she might have been, not only did Aunt Anne pick me up and not complain about it to me, or say anything that I can remember about being more responsible (it’s entirely possible I blocked that out, to be honest), SHE ALSO DIDN’T TELL MY PARENTS!!
When Mom mentioned that you were looking for people to email over memories of Aunt Anne, this was the first memory to jump into my brain and refuse to be ignored. And when I told Mom yeah, I had a memory, but it wasn’t really a good one and I probably shouldn’t share it with you…
She had no idea what I was talking about. No clue. Dad didn’t remember, either. Not a thing!
Anyway, I also remember staying over at her house and having a couple twin beds pushed together for me; and the super tiny toilet in the closet under the stairs; and having to be super quiet when Uncle Bob was watching his shows; and eating Dinner for Lunch and Supper for Dinner (or was it the other way around? I was always confused about that); and the doggos that were always around and seldom in the house; but what I remember first and most about Aunt Anne was when she bailed me out and got me to school (before the bus, by the way!) when I was too distracted by video games to notice when the bus pulled in the driveway.
Sorry I’m late again!