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Thursday, October 08, 2009

A Grandparents Day Kidnapping

My Catholic school always had a "Grandparents" day.

It was always the same week that the Scholastic pop up book fair took over our tiny library.

All of the grandparents were allowed to come in for 4 hours, eat lunch with us, and then hopefully we would score a new Boxcar Children, or Babysitters Club paperback when they took us shopping at the book fair.

I was in 4Th grade, and was excited that my Nana was going to come to school to spend the day with me.
My grandfather had died the year before so it was just the two of us.
They even let us stray from our usual plaid uniforms for the day.

I always hated wearing a uniform to school because it made me look the same as everyone else.
I kept getting called to the principals office for coming to school with my hair done to crazy, and wearing bright tights colors that weren't allowed.

So we had lunch together, and she bought me a cute bookmark at the book fair.
Little did I know she would be gone just a few years later, after a long struggle with heart disease.
From what I remember about her she was a really funny lady.
That day at lunch she made fun of all the other Grandma's to me, calling them old biddy's and old bitches.
Three years later from her nursing home bed she flipped through the channels and stopped on one with a cow utter being milked.
"You know what that looks like!?" she asked... "a cow?" I said...
"No! it looks like a penis!!!"
Then in the same breath, she told me I could have the button dolls she won playing bingo when she died.
That was the extent of my sex education as a teenager.
The button doll still sits on my desk to remind me what a penis looks like.

Back to grandparents day.
It was the end of visiting time, and Nana had to get out to the bus stop at the nearby church corner. It was only about 40 feet from school.

We bundled up in our winter jackets and scarfs, and I walked with her to the corner to make sure she didn't slip on the ice outside.
I didn't think anything of leaving school for a few minutes since I wasn't going to far.
My grandmother always put elastics with cleats around her shoes in the winter, so she clicked as we walked along the frozen snow.

Once we got outside the bus didn't come right away.
We waited and waited, and finally she said I should probably go back into school. What I had thought had been 5 minutes in reality was about 45.
My boyfriend says I still have the same skewed sense of time when getting ready to go out. Some things never change!

The bus pulled up as I walked away, and I happily went back into school to warm up.
As I buzzed the doorbell the set of big white double doors opened.

As my eyes adjusted from the bright reflecting snow outside,I saw the school secretary, four teachers,a nun, and the Principal staring at me, with there mouths gaping open.
The long dim hallway with a 6 foot statue of the virgin Mary hovered behind them.
I vaguely heard someone on the phone tell the police not to come because they had found me.

All of the students and teachers in school had been frantically looking for me for the past half hour.
When no one could find me inside, they had called my Mom to tell her I might have been kidnapped.
They had wanted to call the police right away but she told them not to.

In the days before cell phones, she had no way to contact my grandmother, but she told them she figured I was with her.
Had I really been kidnapped, I'd probably still be in some basement in Iowa. Thanks Mom.

When I walked back into the classroom all of the kids wanted to know where I had been.
They came up with the idea that I had gone shopping at the mall with my Nana, and I got made fun of for the rest of the year.

My Mom walked to school to meet me at the end of the day and told me I was in "deep shit." for getting fake kidnapped.

Still, it had nothing on the the deep shit I had been in the year before,
when practicing my acting skills by faking my tonsil removal and getting a huge get well party at school.