It is interesting to see how my life has evolved over the last twenty-five years. I’m certainly not going to tout that I walked uphill to school both ways in the snow in bare feet but there are some long-forgotten truths about things that happened when we were surviving our impressionable years, some that our parents were oblivious to…..and for good reason. Back in the days when not wearing seat-belts and driving under the influence were almost socially acceptable, there were some essential unwritten rules shared by siblings and friends. The most important being – “Things that happen in your teenage years, stay in your teenage years”.
But, after the Earth had orbited the sun a sufficient number of times, I felt a little more comfortable regaling my parents with a few of the stories that happened in the good ol’ days since I had a nice cushion of “time gone by” and didn’t think I was eligible to be grounded anymore. The sealed records had been expunged, the statute of limitations had expired and I was ready to open the locked vault that contained the evidence of our teenage shenanigans.
Running with scissors would have been a much more acceptable behavior and a much easier tale to share over a cocktail or two but my folks took everything in stride, just like I knew they would. All things considered, after leaving a 19 and 15-year-old home alone while they went to Florida, they were not as shocked as I thought they would be to find out why the kitchen linoleum had tiny burn holes directly in front of the stove (it wasn’t the bacon) and why the giant satellite dish was perched at a precarious angle at the top of the steep hill behind our house.
My brother and I, for all intents and purposes, were respectful human beings and responsible kids. My parents knew our friends well and we were trusted to roam about town in our pimpin’ ride – the Pontiac Acadian. If I had to guess, I would say my brother had a Rum and Coke held firmly between his legs (maybe not so responsible) when the little blue car crested the hill. It was winter and the steep decline was more than treacherous. All of the defensive driving techniques my dad taught us could not have prevented the outcome of this evening. The momentum carried them down the hill and my brother strategically maneuvered the tiny car as it tipped on its side and wedged itself between a tree and a telephone pole at the bottom of the hill. My brother impressively “stuck the landing” and all of the occupants were completely unharmed. The car, that only weighed what felt like 100 pounds, was pushed out, righted and driven away with minimal damage.
(ours was a 4-door, but you get the idea)
After spilling the goods to my parents, a little bit at a time, they seemed unnerved. I always wondered if they had known these things all along and were just waiting for us to come clean. Was the omission of truth a lie? Were we terrible children for wanting to shield our parents from the horrors of the real world? Was it wrong to want to keep them in their safe little bubble? Only time will tell.
Now that they have both passed and have access to all of the details of our lives, my brother and I may eventually be in for a long overdue time-out when we are all together again.