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Rated: E · Non-fiction · Experience · #1535589
A young child home alone.
As I was growing up, it was necessary that both my parents worked. Therefore, being any only child, when I started school that meant I came home alone to an empty house.

But very early in my childhood I developed a sense of comfort with being alone. I enjoyed my solitude. I don’t remember ever being afraid of being alone. I don’t even remember missing my parents and being anxious for them to get home from work. I enjoyed having the house to myself.

One thing did petrify me. In one of the houses we lived in, there was a gas heater, that during the winter, heated the whole house. It was my job to light this gas heater when I got home from school so that the house would be warm and cozy when my parents returned home.

I remember sitting on a small stool beside this gas heater with my winter coat still on. My toque and mitts still on. Afraid to strike the match to light the fire.

The procedure my Dad had told me was to turn on the gas, light the match, stick it in the hole and there would be a “Puff” and the heater would be on. BUT don’t take too long or the gas would build up and there would be a BIG PUFF.

For a seven year old: What was too long? What happened if there was a BIG PUFF? Would I be blown away?

So there I would sit, still in my winter clothes, trying to build up my courage. Finally I would reach over and turn the gas on. Then, quicklyas I could, with cold shaking hands, light the match and get it to the hole. The worst part was waiting, for what seemed an eternity, to hear the “Puff”.

Being alone I could handle. Lighting the gas heater was a constant nightmare.
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