Once upon a time, there was a little boy. We’ll just call him Beau.
Beau, lived a very average childhood, not a whole lot to complain about, but not a lot of shiny happy trophies to parade about either. This story focuses on a certain aspect of young Beau’s life, the 2nd grade.
One August day, on the first day of school, young Beau was dropped off at his brand new school by his young mom. His mom was much younger than all the other 2nd grader’s mothers. Of course, as 2nd graders, Beau and his classmates had no way of knowing this. When you’re in 2nd grade, and you’re mom is 25, she might as well be 85, you truly have no idea. But the youth, and relative inexperience with keeping up with a 6, almost 7 year old, is important to this story. The mother, we’ll just call her, Mom, dropped her freckle faced boy off at school this 100 degree, Oklahoma morning. This was not only Beau’s first day of 2nd grade, it was his first day at his new school. And this school wasn’t nestled in a neatly maintained suburb. No, this school was placed directly off a major intersection in North Tulsa, 150 feet from the stop light, and about 400 yards from the highway, over which, they would cross each day to get to school.
It would be a mile drive, give or take, to and from school every day, and Mom planned on using this time each day to prep her young lad for the day that lay before him, and then review said day, on the way home.
It was a simple formula really, and one that worked flawlessly that first day, on the way to school anyway.
They left the house that morning, Beau in his shiny new shoes, wispy red bangs covering his eyes, probably one or two teeth missing. This Danny Bonaduce look alike was ready to take on whatever 2nd grade had to offer. And so they hopped down the front porch steps, and took their places in the front seat of the family station wagon, with little brother and sister in tow, both too young for school.
The one mile drive should only take about 6 or 7 minutes, depending on the lights, and the traffic. It was a quick drive that day. Beau nervously wondering what kind of friends he’d make, if he’d make any at all, and before he could come up with a solution, Mom was in the drop off line, and his time was up. He got out of the car, as his mother said I love you.
Not much to remember about that first day. Mrs Ralston was kind, lunch was crappy, recess was short, typical elementary school day, at a not so typical elementary school.
Well, it’s 3pm, time to go home.
Just minutes before, Mom and the young kids, hopped into the station wagon, eager to get to the school and find out how the 2nd grade had treated young Beau that day.
It was a short drive, not more than 8 minutes, and Mom and the kids made it to the pick up circle. Mom pulls the wagon to the curb and waits for the young toothless, freckle faced child to emerge from the shadows of the cafeteria exit.
Lots of kids were picked up, cars swerved around her wagon to make their way to the exit, still no signs of young Beau. Not to worry though, kids were still pouring into cars, he should be out any moment.
Soon though, there were no more cars. There were no more kids.
A young teacher steps to the wagon and asks the young mother who she is looking for. Mom, now starting to show her age by the panic on her face, tells her she needs Beau, and she needs him right now.
They check his classroom. They check the cafeteria. They end up checking every nook and cranny of the school. As a side note, this school had more nooks and crannies than most schools. There were sections of this school which just didn’t make sense, hallways to nowhere, doors to nothing, lots of places to get lost, but all those were checked, and Beau was not in the building.
An hour had passed by now. Beau’s father, who worked just across the street had been called, the police had now even been called.
The young mother was in full on panic mode now. The two little ones were too young to understand, but they knew something was amiss, and the youngest one added to the drama on this 100 degree day, in the wagon with no air conditioning, by showing everyone just how loud he could scream. And for good measure, how long he could hold one continuous scream.
Against her wishes, Mom was asked to take her kids home, and wait for a call. This is a mother’s worst nightmare. Wait for a call? Wait for what call? I’m sorry ma’am, we found your son in a well out behind Farmer Frank’s barn? She didn’t want to wait for a call, but she obliged.
She made the 7 minute drive home in about 1:45 flat. In tears, she pulls both kids out of the car, and drags them inside.
Watching Sesame Street, having a snack.
Mom doesn’t know whether to hug him tight, or throw him through the plate glass window.
You see, it seems Beau missed the memo that the station wagon was a round trip ticket to AND from school. He had some discussions with his fellow 2nd graders that day, some of which make the short walk down the road to their apartments. Naturally, Beau figured his ticket home, were those shiny new shoes.
He left school that day. Looked both ways as he crossed the busy, 4 lane intersection. This 6, almost 7 year old, walked across the bridge that stood high above the expressway, and kept walking. He knew exactly which street was his, it was the one just before the Git N Go. He took a right on that street, and kept walking, passed the elementary school that is actually located on the street he lives on, but is not the precocious private school he attends. The walk seems rather normal now, as he walks alongside other King St schoolchildren.
He arrives home and finds an empty house. Not a problem for this 6, almost 7 year old. He knows where the bread is, and the peanut butter, and the jelly, and the pepsi. He’s got it taken care of.
He knows that Sesame Street is on Ch 11. He’s heard that some kids, actually get to watch it in color, but not at this house, and that’s fine with him.
He’s kicked off his shiny new shoes, pulled his legs up underneath him, and set his empty plate on the couch next to him. 2nd grade + a 1 mile walk, is enough to make a 6, almost 7 year old very tired.
Unfortunately, just as he is about to fall asleep to the sounds of Snuffleupagus, the front door swings open, and Mom and the kids walk in.
He didn’t get thrown through the plate glass window that day, he did get hugged tight by Mom, and both kids, even the screaming one, but not by the policeman who arrived shortly after.
That was the last day Beau walked home from that school.
*This story is based on actual events. Names have been altered to protect the ridiculous.*