entering Wonderland again
|he Duchess does seem to find a lot of morals in things, so tell us a non-fictional event that left you with a most important moral you’ll never forget. (<1000 words).
When I was fourteen and in eighth grade (for those of you unfamiliar with the US system, I had four years of high school left to go), we lived in upstate New York state. A few things you should know. First, I was a conscientious child. I was a good student and didn't like putting off things until later. Second, this was winter in upstate New York. We're talking cold. Lot's of cold. Third, a teacher had scheduled an exam for Friday. And fourth, I had a cold.
So, how do these items come together. Here I am with a cold. It's freezing out, and Mama suggests that I should stay home from school today (being Friday) because it's windy and cold and I walked the five or so blocks to school. I (being a conscientious child) said, “No,” because I didn't want to miss the test. So, I walk to school. I stay in school all day, taking my test like a good child and getting colder and colder (sitting in a room with big windows does that to one, even when the heat is going), and then I bundle up and walk home through the wind and the precipitation (I think it was snow, but it might have been freezing rain) and I get home. And I'm cold. Bone cold.
Here it gets a bit foggy. I don't think Mama was home (she generally wasn't when I got home because she was working on her MA at the time). Dad wasn't home. I think I may have been in charge because I was the oldest (of five at the time—my youngest sister wasn't born until I was sixteen and we were living in Maryland). Joy was probably baking rolls, because she did a lot of that this year. Rachel generally spent a lot of time on the piano.
Somehow in all of this the two youngest get out and walk down the road to the store (Drake would have been eight and Maddie five at the times). I am upstairs, trying to warm up, trying to sleep, and the doorbell rings and it's the police who picked them up because some neighbor thought they were too young to be out by themselves.
I don't remember that conversation. Or Mama getting home. Or anything much. I do remember going in for a chest x-ray because I had walking pneumonia and being out of school for the next week or so. At the doctor's, my temperature was actually down to 95.
And the moral? Pushing too hard makes more of a mess than taking it easy.
word count: 436