Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I REMEMBER...Kidnapped

...my mom [Grace Margaret Chiles Welton] telling me about the time I was kidnapped. For about two minutes. I was really young, maybe not even walking and was with my mom in a clothing store while she tried on coats. She had set me down on the floor and I was playing peek-a-boo in the coats on the circular clothing rack in front of her. 

Apparently, I had crawled out the other side of the rack and a strange woman picked me up and headed out of the store. My mom looked up in time to see me waving bye-bye at her over the woman's shoulder as she went through the front door.

My mom dropped everything and chased after her through the door and down the street screaming bloody murder for her to stop. About a block away the stranger set me down on the sidewalk and ran away.

There is nothing scarier than losing your child. She probably never tried on coats ever again without holding me with one hand.

I lost my oldest son [Ian Robert Welton] for about three minutes in a mall when he was about five. I had him and his younger brother [Nicholas Gerald Welton] with me and was trying to retrieve Nick as he walked away into a big crowd. I turned around and Ian was gone. I totally freaked out.

Normally, I disliked the fact that their mother dressed them in matching outfits [quote from Nick when they were all dressed in little sailor suits: "Why does Mom always dress us up like cops?"]. At that moment it came in handy, as I was yelling at everybody in the mall that I had lost a little boy that "looks just like this one - but taller, pointing to Nick."

At that moment I heard above me "Hi, Daddy" and looked up to the top of the escalator and coming down towards me was Ian. He had gotten onto the escalator going up and wasn't tall enough for his head to stick above the railings, so I couldn't see him from where I was standing.

A parent has two emotions in moments like this, one to whack them on the bottom for leaving your side and one to hug them for joy and never let go. So, you mash the two emotions together, sweep them up and hug them tightly, while telling them that "you scared me to death and don't ever do that again!"

Then you go out for ice cream, even though it is almost time for dinner.

Monday, March 30, 2009

I REMEMBER...Nintendo and the Broken Window

....when my three sons were small and we were living in a small apartment in mid-town Sacramento. This is before I met Lise and we were saved from fraternity house Hell. I never had a soft spot for video games and thought they were a great distraction, a waste of time, as well as way too expensive. There were four of us in a small two bedroom apartment, and we weren't the best housekeepers.

I often would rant about them leaving their belongings lying around and especially was upset with things on the floor getting stepped on. I was in fine form one evening when I went into their room and stepped on Nintendo game controllers in the middle of the room. I picked them up and raged about them not cleaning up, not listening to me about leaving breakables on the floor, and just about any unresolved issue any parent has with pre-teen boys.

To accent my inspired rant, I was swinging the controllers around my head, perhaps as a visual aid about my threat to throw them in the trash, when they slipped out of my hands and smashed right through the bedroom window. The boys were attentive when I was just yelling, but they were outright frozen when the glass shattered. Nobody moved. It was a moment frozen in time.

The absurdity was even too much for me. I started to laugh, but the boys still wouldn't move...they probably thought I had snapped and gone insane. It was an embarrassing and expensive way to make a point.

Now it is just a good story.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

I REMEMBER...Tongue in the Coke Bottle

....when I was about five years old living in McCallister, Oklahoma. It was a hot summer day and my Dad took me with him up to the gas station to put gas in the car before a family trip.

The mechanics were buddies of his, and they always kept cold beer in the back of the coke machine which you needed a key to open up the front door of the machine. My Dad got me a Coke [the old fashioned kind in a thick glass bottle] and I sat in the back seat of the car sipping away. I somehow discovered the power and wonder of suction and vacuum. I had curled my tongue up and stuck it into the opening of the coke bottle and sucked the oxygen out of the bottle, thereby causing the vacuum to suck my tongue down into the bottle in an extremely painful way. I struggled with it for awhile thinking my tongue was going to be pulled out and the harder I struggled, the worse it got. Finally, I burst out of the car and ran into the repair bay where my Dad was sitting around, drinking beer with the mechanics. I couldn't talk...but with me crying and mumbling "uuummmmmmmggghhhhhh" with a Coke bottle stuck to my face, they quickly figured it out. They didn't come to my rescue right away, instead they fell out laughing and calling everyone to "come see the kid with his tongue stuck in the Coke bottle".

They couldn't pull it off - again due to the magic of the vacuum I had created. Finally, they had me lie down on the asphalt and covered my face with some old shop rags and banged on the Coke bottle with a big heavy wrench until it broke and released my tongue. I also think it must have been pretty damn funny now, but I didn't think so then.

For nostalgia - it was a Dr. Pepper, my favorite next to Chocolate Cokes, and it cost a dime. I never went with my Dad to the gas station again.

I REMEMBER...My Earliest Memory 3 1/2

....my earliest memory I was about 3 1/2 years old living in McCalister, Oklahoma. My mom was at the hospital giving birth to my sister. My grandmother, Clara Whitlock, was staying home with me, as I had a cold.

She gave me a big spoon full of Sorghum Molasses every day as a home remedy. I loved that stuff and would sneak an extra swig if it was left on the lower shelves of the refrigerator.

I remember going to the hospital to bring my sister home in a 1950 Ford. I sat in the back seat and my sister, Sharon Kay Whitlock (before we were adopted and changed our last name to Welton), was on a pillow on my lap.

This was before baby seats and seat belts. Everybody lived.