At times you may have had the opportunity to interact with a teenager. As we get older we tend to forget what we did when we were teenagers. Or more importantly how we acted or for that matter how stupid we were. Somewhere, they must have done a scientific study as to what happens in a teenager’s brains. Perhaps it’s a chemical imbalance like the term “Raging Hormones” which is used to describe teenagers at times. As mentioned earlier we tend to forget about our past but let me tell you we all have been affected by those ranging hormones.
I believe I was about sixteen years of age at the time of this incident. I woke up one morning and I decided I was going to run away. I really can’t recall what made me feel this way specifically but I got up had breakfast and began to pack my dad’s old army duffel bag with my stuff. At that time my father had been away at a nursing home already for a few years because of Multiple Sclerosis, I was the only boy with three sisters, my mother, and my grandmother. I guess I had reached my limit of being able to cope.
In my infinite wisdom, I decided I was going to go and see my best bud Larry Ruud who had just gone to the University of Southern Illinois. So as I walked out to “go to school,” grandma asked me why I was taking the big bag. I told her it was my gym stuff for school. I said goodbye to grandma who was the only one home and I walked to the bus stop about a half a mile and rode the bus to downtown Glenview where I could catch the Milwaukee Road train to downtown Chicago. The only way that I guess I could get down to Carbondale Illinois was via the Greyhound Bus. Luckily for me, the bus was leaving fairly quickly upon my arrival at the station. I bought my ticket and was on my way. I was lucky enough to sit next to a very attractive young lady. I guess I looked older than I was as she was very flirty with me as I remember. Later on, we even made out for a while but she got off in a small town about five hours into our trip. I think it was another four hours on the bus and I arrived in Carbondale and went looking for the dorms where Larry was living. I believe it was about 6:30 at night or so and Larry was very surprised to see me and I just told him I came to visit. I hadn’t even thought about my mother and sisters. I didn’t think to leave a note. I didn’t call and I didn’t even think they would be worried.
Larry of course who was now a college student and much older and wiser, knew better and called his mother who had already been called by my mother trying to find me. Soon enough though, I was on the phone with my Mom and surprisingly she was pretty calm about it. I told her I needed some time here and she said ok and let me stay. When I arrived home a few days later I don’t even recall my mother yelling at me or punishing me and it was like we didn’t even talk about it. She really let me off the hook.
I had no idea what I would have done if I had kept on going. No thought on how I’d live, how I’d get a job, get around, all this with no thought at all. If that had happened today I would have been an amber alert and everyone in the world would have been looking for me. We wonder how kids can interact with a stranger online and tell them everything and think nothing of going to meet this stranger. I was lucky, many teenagers aren’t so lucky these days. I’ll also bet if you ask them why they left they would say they don’t know, they just felt they had to. I was looking for answers to questions I was asking myself but had no one that I wanted to ask those questions to in my life. So I went elsewhere to look for what I needed, which even then I didn’t know what that was. So my friends let’s keep a lookout out for those young ones that aren’t thinking and teach them how to find the answers they need without having to go on a quest to find those answers themselves alone.