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Monday, June 15, 2009

Memory Monday------The Second Time I Thought That I Was Going To Die

I know that some of my readers have been sitting on the edge of their proverbial seats, waiting for this second installation into what has been the insanity of my life. If you don't remember the first time, check it out HERE.

Well, this is how it went.


We were still living in the house in Utah and I was attending first grade. We had a lot of students enrolled in the school now, as the neighborhood was growing rapidly. They had moved us several times, to different schools, as they tried to figure out how to deal with the growing population of children coming in. I still remember one such grade school that was right on the edge of a big ravine. (It probably was very small, but when you are in first grade, things like that are ENORMOUS!) I don't remember the name of the grade school, as we were, literally, moved to three different schools that year. I also don't remember what the classroom looked like or the lunchroom, but I DO remember one thing about that school.

There was a rumor around the school that passed down even to us little first graders. The rumor was this: There was a crazy wild man that lived in the ravine, and he would take children and.....well, we didn't know what he would do with them. We never got that far.
In our minds, the crazy, wild man was scary enough!

So, we used to stand on the edge of the ravine at recess and look down in----daring one another to go in. It was one of those times that your heart is beating a hundred times per minute. And you would swear that you could see someone down there watching you.

Scary.


But, of course, I digress.

That is not where my encounter with death was.

No, no. It happened much closer to home-----or rather, in my home.


The reason that I mention all of the aforementioned drama....is that because of this fact of not having room in our schools, they decided to have a "double" school day. In other words, some students went really early in the morning and were out by noon. Then some of the students went after lunch and were going home in the dark at 5:00. I don't know if they used the same teachers. I don't think so. But this is where I have to begin my tale, as it goes along with the memory of coming home in the dark.

The time was Halloween. It got dark early, so we had to wear silver armbands that were reflectors, so cars could see us as we walked home from the bus stop. I remember this so distinctly as it was rather strange walking from the bus stop in the dark. We had had our Halloween parties that day and I was in high spirits, even though my stomach had little flutters in it, as I still had thoughts of wild crazy men in my mind, and there we were, my sister and I, walking in the dark!

We had to walk about two blocks----even though there weren't really blocks----being in the country like we were. Since I was feeling a bit nervous and excited at the same time, I asked my sister if we could stop and take some of our candy out to eat on the way. I reached into my Halloween sack, and grabbed the biggest thing there.

They were big, red wax lips, the kind that you wear in your mouth and then you chew them----the taste is sweet and the texture is rather like chewing a piece of soft rubber. It was delightful to a young child like me. So, I decided to take a big bite of it, knowing that it would last me the rest of the walk home.


We got home, and I was chewy merrily, very content that we had made it home in one piece and no wild and scary man had grabbed us. My Mom told us to take off our jackets, wash our hands and work on our homework. Then she noticed that I was chewing something.

"What are you chewing?" she said. "Its almost time for dinner! I hope that you haven't spoiled it." Janene and I looked guiltily at each other. We probably should have WAITED to eat some of our Halloween candy, but we were kids, right? But, of course, my sister being such a good girl, she told Mom that we had only each had one piece of our Halloween candy from our parties at school.

At that point, she asked to see our decorated paper bags---and then told us that she was going to keep our candy so it wasn't a temptation. We promptly gave them to her, chattering as we did about our parties and the different events of the day, as Halloween was coming that weekend, so we were excited.

Well, as she opened up my bag and pulled out the half eaten wax lips.

She stopped.
(Of course, I think that she dramatically put her hand to her lips and gasped, but I'm not really sure that is what she did.)

But she was upset, that was for sure. She asked me if I had eaten some of the wax lips. Of course, I still had some in my mouth, and there was a half eaten one in her hands.

I was CAUGHT! But, then again I didn't understand why anything was still that wrong.

Well, she proceeded to tell me that they had found out that people were dying from cancer gotten from a certain red dye that was found in-----yes, you guessed it, WAX LIPS!!

She was so UPSET! She made me spit out the remainder that I had in my mouth, and wash it out. I remember being very upset myself, and was crying for getting into trouble.

After that, her words haunted me.

I mean, I was very young and in my mind, the dreadful deed that I had done had sealed my fate.
I just knew that I had "cancer" and that I was to die from it. I never thought of asking exactly when or how I was to die, but I thought that it was inevitable. I was doomed.


I am sure that you are amazed that I was so naive. But I was a child, and we weren't really told about much of anything. So, I drew my own conclusions.

So, every night as I went to sleep, I would wonder if this was the night that I would, well, perish.
And then I would wake up and as I went through my day, I wondered if this would be the day when I would get sick. Of course, I had already been so sick with my rheumatic fever, so I knew what it was like to be sick----and I figured that "cancer" would probably make me sick like that.

But I just wondered in my own child-like mind how long it would be before I died. I don't remember feeling scared, just kind of matter of fact. I had eaten the wax lips and this was my
punishment. I don't really think that I understood it all. I just kind of accepted it, had fun each day, but remembered each night about my "disease".

My Mom and Dad never did tell me the truth about "cancer". I learned only years later when I was older about the "red dye" scare. I think that I eventually forgot about it as a child and figured that maybe it was going to take longer than I thought.

I guess that I just decided that I was lucky and I must have cheated death, not one....

....but TWO times!

Here I am in my new Sunday dress the summer before 1st grade.

And here is my sweet sister, Janene and I sometime that early Fall.
Gotta love those grins....
This is after the incident----at Christmas time....I seemed to be ok then.

26 comments:

Kristina P. said...

Holy cow! Everytime I see those wax lips, that is all I will think about!

jennie w. said...

That is crazy. I wonder how many times I've freaked my kids out without even knowing!

Christy said...

Too funny Shawn! And yes, I love those smiles in that photo - you guys look so happy!!

Karen said...

So funny. Now I'm just remembering all the times I got wax lips. I'm lucky to be alive!

zelzee said...

How funny the things our parents were alarmed about!! And of course, there was no explanation....
You and your sister are adorable!

And no wax lips for me!!!

Rachel said...

I love all of these older pictures they are so cute.

FitToSeeJane said...

Your pictures are adorable.
My mom always had me thinking I was going to die of one thing or another!

carma said...

I remember the whole red dye no. 2 or whatever number it was and the whole scare back in the day...My mom was always on top of that kind of thing!

But didn't the wax lips taste like yucky wax?

Julie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Julie said...

Oh my goodness Shawn so many thoughts running through my head...first, i don't want the story to end so could you please write a complete memoir for me to enjoy (I am so enthralled with your words i didn't even hear children screaming and animals animaling), second, aye! parents can make us sooo paranoid and they don't realize how vivid children's imaginations are..(let us never forget this for our own) and third, could you be any cuter in those pics? Seriously..when is the next installation?! xx

Jewels said...

Wow, I totally remember those wax lips! And strange that if everyone knew they were harmful, they still were giving them out when I was in school? Some of my friends would chew on them, others would yell and them and say, "Ew, you're not supposed to eat them!!". Every Halloween in grade school it was the same story...I never fancied them much myself, but I'm truly glad that you dodged death again!...and never ran into the wild scary man!

Heather said...

oh my goodness! poor baby, that's terrible. The things that stick in kids' minds...

Debbie said...

Bless your heart. How terrible that you were so scared like that.

Kristin said...

You have a way better memory than I do!!

Melissa said...

What a funny memory for those of us that didn't live it! For the record, I think my Mom still believes it about the red dye...

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

I had NO idea about the WAX lips!!!

I remember thinking I was going to die because my friend said the end of the world was that weekend and asked if I wanted to sleep over at her house because she lived up on a hill and we were going to be flooded!

So I SLEPT AT HER HOUSE to save myself... I never even told my parents that they were going to DIE

Well... obviously nothing happened!

Heather said...

Your childhood was so traumatic. I told mom and dad that they should read your memory mondays, I
told them they are quite funny. Sorry sis, but your childhood was beyond crazy.

Lynne's Somewhat Invented Life said...

And now "they" are telling us that those long-lasting lipsticks have lead in them. The longer lasting the more lead. Oh joy. And "they" tell us that some of the lip stick byes are really crushed up beetles. Oh joy, again.

Carlotta said...

lovely blog!!! tnx for visiting mine :)))

Cadance said...

how funny! I love your story telling! I hope I'm not freaking my kids out with out knowing it!

Kate Coveny Hood said...

That was adorable. I can just imagine you lying in bed and thinking very rationally about your impending death. Reminds me of the stories my mom tells about the nuns who scared with stories about Judgement Day. She would always watch the skies looking for signs...

dapper kid said...

Oh my!! It's weird how when we are young, the littlest things can grow into a huge fear because we do not quite understand them. What a terrifying experience to go through! Is it weird to admit that I have never gone trick-or-treating? I really do think I was cheated out of a ton of sweets...or at least annoyed neighbours trying to shoo me away with fruit. Oh and I love that photograph of you in your Sunday dress :)

Tiana Couture's Addict said...

so beautiful smile, it feel happiness!
xo

carma said...

Thanks for giving your opinion on my latest "pressing issue" LOL

Unfortunately I do not have anything of beauty on my blog today- actually I've got the opposite, but I am going to work on some more inspiring posts in the future!

Brittany said...

That's a fun story. Can I call you Scout? By the way, your smile is the same!

Rachael said...

Here from SITS, what a great story!

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