Friday, January 31, 2014

Sepia Saturday: The Runaway

Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.




This week’s Sepia Saturday photo prompt is a suitcase.  A suitcase implies travel, maybe for business, maybe for pleasure.  But sometimes we are just fed up and need to get away. 

What kid has never felt the need to teach their parents a lesson and just pack up and leave?  Ask my sister – she’ll tell you.

THE RUNAWAY

Mary Jollette Slade Portsmouth, Virginia
Mary Jollette

Baby sister Mary Jollette was about 6 or 7 years old when she had had enough.  Why?  Because of this woman. . . .

THE MEAN WOMAN  

Mary Eleanor Davis Slade faculty photo
Mary Eleanor Slade
Faculty Photo about 1965-66

Yes, our mother.  According to Mary Jollette, Momma was no fun and she never let her have any fun either.  Momma steadfastly refused to let Mary Jollette take ballet classes.  No future Margot Fonteyn for this family!  And no horseback riding lessons either.  No riding “The Pie” to victory in the Grand National.  What’s a child to do?

Run away, of course.  That'll show'em.

THE ACCOMPLICES

Grandma - Lucille Davis

#1 -  Grandma was tired of hearing Mary Jollette whine and fuss, so she told her to go, just run away.  Grandma even helped her pack.  Mary Jollette didn’t have a proper suitcase, child-size or otherwise, so they used a paper bag.













Rusty Taylor Portsmouth, Virginia
Friend - Rusty Taylor

#2 – Mary Jollette knew she could rely on her best buddy Rusty Taylor for aid and company while giving Momma time to come to her senses and pay for ballet.














Nancy Taylor Portsmouth, Virginia
Nancy Taylor (the Mean Woman is behind Rusty)

#3 – Rusty’s mother Nancy (Momma’s BFF, by the way) would never turn away a kid who was like her own. 
















THE ESCAPE ROUTE 


From our house, it was just a short walk to the corner where Grandma lived and then a left turn onto Frailey.  The safe house was the second one on the left.









THE RETURN

A long time passed.  Maybe a couple hours.  The phone rang.  Nancy said it was time for Mary Jollette to go home.  So she went.

Momma didn’t say anything about the running away business.  But she did complain loud and long about Grandma packing ALL those clothes that Momma then had to put away.  Where was Grandma then?


Please travel to Sepia Saturday – no need to pack a suitcase!



© 2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

62 comments:

  1. I never got that far in my plan to run away. My cousin and I were seeking adventure but when I said we should save $10 before hitting the road, it fizzled out.

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    1. Being short $10 puts a crimp in a lot of plans!

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  2. Funny story. I was kind of worried about seeing a picture labeled "The Mean Woman" until I realized it was your mother!

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    1. HA -- actually, I'm sure many of us grew up in neighborhoods where some woman really did have a reputation for being "MEAN."

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  3. Funny story. Interesting what children think is "mean" like no riding lessons. ha!

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    1. That is so true. I was probably a mean woman too.

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  4. I did smile at the way you told this story!

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    1. Well good -- then my strategy succeeded!

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  5. Loved this post! It was so much fun to read. ☺

    I ran away from home once. I got as far as the backyard. LOL

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    1. Please tell me you had a REALLY BIG backyard. LOL!

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  6. Love it, 'a long time passed, maybe a couple of hours' - and unpacking all those clothes.

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    1. I must admit, when I return from a vacation, no matter the length, I HATE unpacking. So I can understand Momma's annoyance at putting all the clothes away.

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  7. I ran away, too -- my mother helped me pack and my father drove me to my grandparents' house. I stayed the night...thought I'd really "showed 'em" how mad I was!

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    1. Wow -- how spoiled were you to get a ride! HA HA HA

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  8. THis is a precious story...thanks so much for sharing it. I didn't rebel until I reached "adulthood." Then I seriously ran away and moved out of town.

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    1. The ultimate run away -- change cities.

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  9. Loved your post! When I was 12 I wanted to go swimming at the local public pool but none of my friends were available to go with me and my 'mean' mother wouldn't let me go alone. I was furious. I packed a little suitcase and announced I was leaving! My mother simply told me to "be careful". I walked around the block mumbling to myself about how mean she was, but 3/4ths of the way round I began to realize how stupid I was. Where in the world was I going to go for heaven's sake? So I went home - arriving in time to learn one of my friends had called back & could go to the pool with me after all. And so I went swimming & learned a valuable lesson: If things don't go the way you want them to at first, just wait & perhaps they will eventually, & that lesson has served me well all my life! :)) And I still have that little suitcase! It belonged to my grandmother. It must be almost 100 years old by now. Dang! I should have featured it in my post. Oh well.

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    1. Things do have a way of working themselves out, most of the time anyway. Patience. Now that's hard to come by!

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  10. What a fun post. And to think it's so typical. Everyone has a running away from home story.
    Nancy
    Ladies of the Grove

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    1. True. I'm enjoying these responses. Funny how no one seems to have gotten very far.

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  11. really laughng out loud funny....I ran away to my grandparents home from the time I figued it out, age 8. Great photos with the tale

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    1. Thanks. And thank goodness for those grandparents accepting little runaways.

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  12. hahaha! Yep no ballet and no horse backing riding lessons, but what did she say when Jordan was born, "we'll have to get her into BALLET, AND to rub more salt into my wound, she was at EVERY horse show Jordan was in! hahaha! Yeah, those grandparents are something. I loved it over at Nancy's she was funny and fun to be with. I guess Rusty and Peggy were like our siblings.

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    1. Yeah, who WAS that woman? I guess ballet and riding lessons didn't involve her money so they were ok. HA

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  13. Hilarious! And I suppose my question about how the subject of your study felt about her escapades being published has been quickly answered. Loved it!

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    1. Our family stories that get repeated are fair game. (Besides, I interviewed her to get the details right, so she knew it was coming.)

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  14. A very creative spin on the theme and you didn't even need a photo of a suitcase. Of course there is no better way to learn how to pack light than to have to lug your luggage yourself.

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    1. Thank goodness for wheels on luggage.

      I have 2 photos of suitcases but no story to go with them. I don't even know the people in one of the photos.

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  15. Very Well Done. Made me chuckle. And what part did you play?

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  16. I had to help to find a runaway once; she had made it somehow to the town. She just wanted to go to the fair and was not at all concerned about all the fuss, Mind you she changed her tune when her children threatened to do the same.

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    1. Funny how growing up always changes our tune.

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  17. How lucky to live so close to your grandma. As far as being ready for spring, me too. Gee whiz when will this cycle of winter this and winter that....be ready to let spring take over!

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    1. It really is the best life to live near Grandma, especially a loving one like we had.

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  18. Not sure if you saw any of my FB photos out in the cold yesterday, but it was a first that not only did my phone shut down, but I had to let it really warm up to get back on again! Now that is COLD!

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    1. I did see the pix. But I never heard of a phone shutting down due to cold. YOWZA

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  19. I love this story. I guess Russ and JJ were 6-7 years old (Russ got his glasses when he was in the 1st grade). I always thought our house was boring and yours was the fun house, especially when your Dad was home, I loved his stories. Also your Mom always kept me laughing, when she wasn’t correcting my grammar. At that time the horses were at a barn and no longer in our backyard but I guess that is where JJ got her idea of riding lessons. I know she didn’t get the ballet from us. I also remember all the good times we had at your Grandma’s playing on the porch and having plays in the garage, sleeping on the porch when Bobbie came down, so many great memories. Remember Aieda and the Ouija Board. Those really were the good old days. I still think of our moms and Cookie every time I eat a cream cheese and olive sandwich or play Canasta. Growing up for us was wonderful, so different from today’s fast paced electronic world. So glad we have our memories. And yes, we are family. LOL

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    1. Whenever I see a glider or old style porch furniture, I remember the fun of sleeping on the porch. I do remember the Ouija Board, but Aieda?? Nope -- no recall there!

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  20. Well told. Bravo. My run-away trip at about the same age took me to the busy corner where I wasn't allowed to cross the street. Had to go home and eat crow. Surprisingly, they took me back and probably regretted this generous act once I hit thirteen.

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    1. HA -- funny you could break a rule by running away but manage to follow the rule not to cross the street.

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  21. You are too funny!
    I love how some of the accomplices have commented here too!

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  22. Oh my goodness; loved this! Brought back a similar memory or two of my own! I always *threatened* to run away when I was a kid and didn't get my way. It was my first line of defense. I remember being about kindergarten age one particular time and fussing about getting a bath. I finally did go get in the tub, but under protest, and with the threat that I was most definitely running away as soon as I got out. Imagine my dismay when I got out of the tub and found a little suitcase packed and waiting for me outside the bathroom door! My Mom had called my bluff -- and it was the perfect reverse psychology.... I didn't run away. I was very contrite. Mom made her point.

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    1. I've had a great time reading everyone's run-away story. They all seem to end the same way. There must be a term for this universal experience of childhood.

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  23. What a splendid story. The illustrations matched the words and the whole thing matched the theme perfectly.

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    1. I have no suitable picture of a suitcase, but I have this little collection of all the PLAYERS of this story playing croquet. I couldn't wait around for you to post a croquet prompt. LOL

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  24. This is such a great story - almost in the tradition of the 'cautionary tale'. Wise old grandma though I say. It stirred my own memory of packing my little case (it was actually the one which held my toy sewing machine so not much room) and leaving home. I distinctly remember taking the machine out and packing the case - but with what I don't know. I probably only got as far as the garden gate.

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    1. I hope you packed a sandwich. You know how hungry kids get walking all that way to the garden gate! Reading all these responses reminds me just how universal "running away" is. However, if my girls ever ran away, I didn't know it.

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  25. Ha! Great post. Glad it all turned out OK in the end!

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  26. Wendy,
    Loved your post and all the responses. It's that whole "run away and join the circus" syndrome. We all showed symptoms at one time or another.

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    1. That's right -- join the circus. What a great idea. I wonder if any of the runaways who responded to this blog had a circus in their sights.

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  27. Great story! Reminds me of the time my 4 year old daughter told me she wanted to go live with the day care provider. I packed a little overnight bag for her, opened the front door and told her to go on her way. She made it to the front porch when she turned around and said "never mind". :-)

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    1. Aw Debi, YOU were the "Mean Woman." I'm glad your daughter gave you a second chance.

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  28. Haha! This is brilliant Wendy! I was also wondering how Mary felt about you "telling on her" with this post. Too funny!

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    1. Oh Jana, Mary Jollette and I have both lived long enough to not be embarrassed by childhood escapades. Well, not much, anyway.

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  29. Wendy,

    This was just too fun not to include in my Fab Finds today. You can find it at http://janasgenealogyandfamilyhistory.blogspot.com/2014/02/follow-friday-fab-finds-for-february-7.html

    Have a great weekend!

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  30. What a cute story Wendy! Thanks for sharing!

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