It's 1975. I'm 15 and head-over-heals in love with a very cute, long-haired boy. My best friend and I are on a double date with him and his best friend. It doesn't get much better than this. Young and free...a teenager in love in the summer time. Then the truck broke down.
To make a very long story short, I got home at 1am that night. Now you have to remember that this was the age before cell phones and, where we were, there wasn't even a phone booth. To the guys credit they did try to use the phone at one house, but they didn't exactly look like the Hardy Boys. I wouldn't have opened the door for them either.
When I finally did get home I saw that the house was completely dark. "Great," I thought, "Maybe I can sneak in and mom will never know that I was in way past curfew." I quietly entered the basement and made it up the first flight of stairs, carefully stepping to avoid the squeaky spots. I rounded the corner, past the dark livingroom, to continue up the next flight when, from the dark shadows of the livingroom, I heard the unmistakable sound of my mother quietly clearing her throat. It's a sound I will never forget.
I was grounded for one month... I think I got a day for every horrible scenario my mother imagined that night as she sat there in the dark.
Fast forward to a week ago. My parents, now in their late sixties, have gone on a trip of lifetime. They have wanted to go to Nashville and the Grand Ole Opry for as long as I can remember. Finally they were getting their chance. They even rented a limousine to pick them up at home and drive them to the airport. They could hardly wait.
Before they left mom said, "Check your email often OK? We'll make sure to stay in touch." Perfect.
They left at 4am Thursday morning. On Saturday we were at my brother's place. "Have you heard from mom & dad?" he asked. "No," I said. "It's wierd that we haven't. Dad has his Blackberry with him all the time." Hmmm.... A few days later I emailed them. "Where are you?" I asked. "Hope you're having fun." No response. A week after they left I am checking my email every 10 minutes. Thursday night I can't fall asleep. Every time I closed my eyes I imagined every kind of horrible scenario and believe me I have a very vivid imagination. It was not pretty. By 1 am I am convinced that the limo driver was deranged and he tied them up and left them in the crawlspace of their house!!
I got up, knowing I would never sleep, and sat in my dark livingroom for a while. What should I do? What if something really did happen to them? Then I remembered that mom gave me their hotel phone numbers in case of an emergency. As far as I was concerned this was an emergency. I'm calling Tennessee!
The hotel lady was very nice and understanding as I babbled on (it's now 3am) about not knowing where my parents were. "I don't need to talk to them, you don't need to wake them up, I just need to know that they checked in, that's all." She clicked away on her computer for a few seconds and then said the words that set my world back in order. "Yes, they're here. Safe and sound."
It's funny how that night in 1975 was the first thing I thought of when I finally crawled back into bed. A little perspective? Or maybe a whole lot of payback? Whatever. When they get home they're grounded!