Thursday, March 5, 2015

The First Time My Parents Tried To Get Rid Of Me

In the 1960s, my family had a pontoon boat, because we were cool like that.


We didn't always store it in the front yard, but when it was there,
it was a great source of fun. Those are the next door neighbor kids.


My dad worked as a meter reader for the gas company during the week, but evenings and weekends, he worked at a boat dealership near a small lake just outside Kansas City. He made repairs and got boats spiffed up for the sales lot, and this made him able to buy one for us. 

Our boat was kept on Lake Jacomo, a little lake east of Lee's Summit, Missouri, that was maintained by the Jackson County Parks Department. (Get it? Jackson County, Mo = Jacomo) There was a marina with docks (for the rich people with boats, which means richer than us - it wasn't a yacht kind of lake) and there were buoys out past the docks with boats anchored to them for the not rich people (like us). If your boat was buoyed instead of docked, you (meaning my dad) had to ride in a dinghy out to the boat and bring it back to the dock for loading and unloading of passengers and picnic baskets and coolers. 


Why do we have so many pictures of the pontoon boat in our yard? I swear, it was seldom there.
My dad would only park it there when we were getting ready to take it on vacation.


When we first got the boat, we were a one-car family. On summer Saturday mornings, my mom would load us sleepily into the station wagon and drive my dad to the boat dealership for work. That gave her the car for the day for grocery shopping and errands. Then she would fill the picnic basket with paper plates and cups, chips and cookies, the cooler with bottles of Pepsi and hamburger patties, and we would pile back into the station wagon to go pick up my dad at work, then on to the lake and our pontoon boat.


See? Not always in our yard. That's my brother, my mom, and me (in a dorky pixie haircut),
pulled up to a gravel bar on what appears to be Lake Taneycomo.


Our pontoon boat was so cool, we had a charcoal grill strapped to the front deck. We would chug out onto the lake and into a quiet cove, where my dad would grill burgers and we'd eat our picnic supper on the boat. 


Grill, see? Lake Taneycomo bridge dead ahead. Look out, Daddy!


During this same time period, my mother was the Den Leader for my brother's Cub Scout pack. About 8 boys would come over to our house once a week, sit around our formica kitchen table and drink Kool-aid. Or that's all I remember of it, since I was only about 4 at the time. I'm sure they did crafts or something else Scout-ish.

Me, about the same age as when
The Incident occurred.


In some weak moment, my parents decided to take the Cub Scout pack out on our pontoon boat. All the boys, plus little me, piled into our family station wagon (pre-seatbelt laws; most of the boys were in the way-back of the station wagon), and off we went. My parents kept the boys from falling and/or jumping off the boat into the water (swimming wasn't allowed in the lake), grilled hamburgers, let each Scout take a turn steering the boat, then returned to the marina.

That's when it happened.

The car loaded with rowdy Cub Scouts and picnic baskets, my mother happened to glance towards the shelter house next to the marina as they got ready to drive out of the parking lot and saw a little girl walking around the top of it, singing. She took a double take, looked in the back of the station wagon, AND REALIZED THE LITTLE GIRL AT THE SHELTER HOUSE WAS ME!

They nearly left me.

To this day, my mother says she breaks out in a cold sweat when she realizes how close they were to driving off and leaving me behind at the lake.

Whatever helps her sleep at night, because what I call it is The First Time My Parents Tried To Get Rid Of Me., and yes, you can count on a sequel.

The shelter house where THEY LEFT ME. I was walking around the rail at the top,
blissfully unaware that my parents were going to ditch me....





Returning to the Scene of the Crime nearly 50 years later.
(HOLY SHIT, HAS IT REALLY BEEN THAT LONG?!)
And why am I smiling?! I ALMOST GOT LEFT HERE!


20 comments:

  1. My husband's little sister once got left at the grocery store. My MIL had 5 kids and simply forgot to count heads! The grocer kept her inside and called the house a few minutes later- crisis averted- but it's still a family jewel! So glad they came back for you! Hahahaaa

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I WAS THE ONLY GIRL ON THE TRIP!
      My parents were with me when I took the last two pictures, and believe me, I took the keys with me when I got out to take the pics!

      Delete
  2. What is the point of a boat on a lake in which you can't swim?!?!?!
    And there is no shame in leaving a wayward child who didn't listen to the "Get in the car!" call. ;)

    Love the photos!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There was a designated swimming beach somewhere. We never went to it. It's a very small lake. My guess is it was full of old, dead trees that were dangerous for swimming.

      NO ONE CALLED ME TO THE CAR. They "forgot" I was there.

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  3. Ha! I am looking forward to sequel! It seems you were a wanderer.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I walked around the top of that shelter house every time we went to the lake. Every time.

      Delete
  4. My mother forgot to pick me up from kindergarten once. What the hell they were doing is beyond me as I had time to have dinner with a bunch of nuns in the convent that evening before my sister finally showed up for me. It totally skewed my view of nuns whom up to then I was sure were not real life forms.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They forgot you for HOURS and HOURS! I forgot Kyle the second day of kindergarten. House was quiet. Emma had been napping. Fortunately, we only live 4 blocks from the school. I got there before all the kids were gone and he didn't even know I forgot him.

      Delete
  5. Say what you will about seat belts and car seats, you can't fit nearly as many passengers in a car since those laws.
    Pretty cool place to be left behind, provided, of course, that it's absolutely necessary…(to be left behind.

    So to follow-up on Christine's question, so what was the deal with the no swimming?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My great aunt made a feather bed for the back of our station wagon. It was an awesome place to ride!
      Obviously, they scarred me for life.
      See my reply to Christine, above.

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  6. What a cool boat! I love the name of it "pontoon boat". Sounds cool lol
    As a kid,the boats I road on went out on the bay. Ocean water.
    I love the grill on the boat! How fun to be floating about grilling burgers like that. Excellent!
    Count me in in the "how come no swimming in the lake" club.
    What gives Peggy Sue?

    ReplyDelete
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    1. It was an awesome boat! You could walk around on it while it was moving. And cook hamburgers! I suppose it looks redneck now, but it was nothing short of awesome back in the 60s. My dad was a forward thinker!
      It's a man made lake and fairly shallow, I imagine. I think the no swimming was because of trees and stuff hidden under the water from when it was dammed and the lake created.

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  7. Shame about the no swimming but VERY cool that you had a boat. Looking forward to the sequel and enjoying the return of the mojo :)

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    1. Thanks! In the sequel they tried HARDER to get rid of me :'(

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  8. Love the pictures and no matter rich or poor a great family time ... even if they tried to get rid of you, looking forward to more.

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    1. We had great times on that boat! One time, we took the boat to another park on the lake where the Kansas City Philharmonic played Peter and the Wolf. It was so cool!

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  9. Look at that little girl you! That is a fantastic tale to tell - and I am definitely looking forward to the sequel!

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  10. I had a similar experience when I was seven years old. My parents make jokes about it now but they did not when I was growing up. Hopefully it is something you and your family can joke about now. On another note, those pictures are beautiful and it sounds like you had a nice childhood otherwise.

    Kent Garner @ Whites Marine Center

    ReplyDelete
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    1. How did they miss the only girl on that trip, I ask you?! Actually, I didn't even know I was left behind, so I was never upset about the whole fiasco. It makes a great story, though! Besides, they did a better job of trying to get rid of me another time (really need to write that sequel). Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment! I really appreciate whatever caused you to stumble upon my post AND read it.

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