When I was five years’ old I hitchhiked.
At one point, my childhood friend Julie and I were standing in her front yard and she showed me that if you stuck your thumb out, then someone would stop and give you a ride. So really, it’s all her fault.
This is me at age 1. I couldnt’ find a picture of me at age 5. But I was cute. Trust me.
Here’s what happened.. one lovely summer’s day, my family and I (Mom, Dad, Barb, Lara and myself..) were on the way home in the station wagon and we needed to stop at a Mac’s Milk for.. well, milk. My sisters and I were kind of fighting and my mother was very annoyed with us.
My dad ran in to get the milk and as he was heading into the store, he noticed a bird’s nest in the rafters and commented on it and how you could see the baby birds. We wanted to get out of the car to look, but my mother wouldn’t let us because we weren’t behaving. I was annoyed. I wanted to see baby birds!
We went home and I think we had to all go to our rooms since we were misbehaving. Well, let me tell you.. the misbehaving was just beginning.
We lived in a bungalow at the time and my bedroom window opened onto the front porch. Being the amateur escape artist that I was… I decided that I didn’t want to stay in my room and climbed out the window and went to Julie’s house.
Julie wasn’t allowed to come out.. so for some reason, I decided that it would be a good idea to walk to the Mac’s Milk to see those baby birds. I craved adventure.
Please keep in mind that I was 5 years old. And that Mac’s Milk was located at the intersection of Hwy 8 and Hwy 20 in the east end of Hamilton Ontario. And it was about one and a half miles from my house. This I was unaware of.. being 5 and all.
So I started walking.. walking all the way down King St (Highway 8)… and passing by numerous things that I had only ever passed in the car, but was curious about. Like a little shed that my sister Barb and I were SURE was home to some elves or gnomes.. in reality, it contained water pipes. I was deeply disappointed.
When I finally got to the Mac’s Milk I looked up to see these baby birds. And saw NOTHING. No freakin’ nest. No freakin’ birds. Awesome. I looked and looked. Nothing. Suckage.
I started walking back toward home.. and I was tired. (Remember? Five years old.. over a mile.. short legs.. )
I suddenly remembered how Julie told me that if I stuck my thumb out I’d get a ride. So I did. And a car stopped.
It was a black car (a Chev I believe..) with red interior and there was a man and a lady with a scarf on her head. I got in the car.. and they asked me my name and where I lived. And we started driving and I gave them directions.
(At this point I’d like to thank God, Jesus, Buddha and Allah for sending these people instead of psycho killers. Thanks.)
We headed toward home and at some point it suddenly struck me that I might get into trouble for this little adventure. I tried to get them to drop me off on the corner a block from my house.. and they refused. They wanted me to get home safely. So I had to tell them exactly where I lived.
I distinctly remember saying to them that I lived in the house where the man was washing the driveway. (This was before we all got all environmentally conscious and you could still do said things.. ) They pulled up and left me in the care of my lovely and hopefully hugely forgiving .. father.
Needless to say, my parents were unaware that I left the house.. I have no idea how long I was gone.. but …also needless to say.. I got in a LOT of trouble. A LOT.
There are several morals to this story.. first of all.. you really shouldn’t hitchhike. Especially if you’re five. Don’t take rides from strangers. I just got lucky that they were nice strangers. And as much as you crave adventure, be careful. That, and I had a better sense of direction at age 5 than most adults I know do.
Oh, and if your dad tells you there’s a bird’s nest… just take his word for it.