Linda slammed the front door, plopped down on the couch and took the skate key from around her neck. Her face and hands were tingling from the contrasting foggy cold outside and the heated warmth inside.
As she bent over to remove her skates, her mom shouted from the kitchen, “I hope you didn’t come in the house with your skates on!” Linda tried to hurry in case her mom poked her head around the corner to check, but found her hands were almost too cold to hold the skate key. Thankfully, her mom didn’t come out to check on her.
As she released the roller skate from her white leather oxford, she noticed with alarm that the rubber sole was beginning to pull away from the well worn leather. Linda knew there was no chance of getting a new pair of shoes during the summer, so she went into the kitchen to ask, “Where’s the glue, Mom? My shoe is coming apart.” Stirring the pot, her mom looked up and said, “I don’t know, Lin. Maybe there’s some out in the garage.”
Exasperated, Linda threw open the door to the garage and began to rout around in the boxes and general mess that was their garage in search of glue. Finding none there, she returned to the kitchen and began to dig through the junk drawer. Ah-ha! She found an almost-empty tube of glue that seemed to have some life left. That would have to do, but first she had to call Teri to see if they were going on their early-morning adventure the next day.
These adventures had begun because the summer months between 4th and 5th grades were particularly long and boring in their foggy Bay Area neighborhood. They wished their families could afford to go on vacations like some of the other families in the neighborhood, returning tanned and filled with exciting stories, but that wasn’t their luck. Neither girl knew quite how the idea started, but they made a secret pact to go on exciting adventures of their own! It was time to set up the next one.
Linda walked through the living room to the hallway and grabbed the phone from its cubby. She sat on the floor and dialed Plaza 6-6872. Since she and her mom were the only one’s home that late afternoon, she would have privacy while she and Teri plotted their Saturday morning escape.
Teri’s older sister, Andrea, answered the phone. “Hi, Andrea. It’s Linda. Can I talk to Teri?” She heard Andrea clunk down the phone and loudly shout, “Teri, it’s for you! It’s Linda!” Teri picked up the phone and said, “Hi, Linda.” She then whispered, “Wait. Let me take the phone somewhere private.”
Linda heard the background noise fade as Teri quietly said, “Okay, the coast is clear. Are we going on an adventure tomorrow morning?’ Linda replied, “Uh-huh! Let’s go up to where they’re building those new houses, above Southgate.” Agreeing to the idea, Teri replied, “Okay. Come to my bedroom window at 6:00am tomorrow and tap on my window. I’ll sleep in my clothes. After I climb out the window, I’ll put my shoes on. Let’s both wear our new hooded sweatshirts!”
Their plan set, both Linda and Teri went to bed early that night knowing they’d be up really early the next morning, earlier than if they had gone to school. Luckily Linda didn’t have to share her bedroom like Teri did, so she set out her clothes the night before and tried to fall right to sleep. Sleep was elusive, though, because she was excited about doing something besides roller skating or playing jacks on the porch… and waving at cement truck drivers who drove up their street to the building site they were planning to visit.
Linda didn’t have an alarm clock other than her early-rising father. The next morning, when Linda woke to her dad coughing, she quietly got up and began dressing. She carefully slid open her bedroom window and stepped out onto the back patio. Not wanting to risk walking past the dining room and kitchen windows to the gate, she climbed over the side fence nearest her room.
Free at last, Linda jubilantly ran down to the next corner where Teri lived. She quietly opened the gate and walked around the house to Teri’s bedroom window. She softly tapped on the window. Nothing. She tapped again. Nothing. With a little more pressure, Linda tapped again. Finally, Teri opened the window, climbed out, and put on her shoes. Once that was done, Linda whispered, “Come on! Let’s go!!”
Thrilled that they were able to leave their houses without detection, the girls animatedly talked about what they might find at the construction site. They wondered if any of the cement truck drivers they waved at would be there. They walked quickly up the hill and were soon warm enough to remove their sweatshirts and tied them around their waists.
Soon, the construction site emerged. There were square dirt mounds arranged in rows. Lumber was stacked throughout the area. Some of the dirt squares had cement floors with metal poles sticking up. Some had wooden frames that resembled a house, but looked more like Billy’s backyard fort they weren’t allowed to enter. It wasn’t very exciting at all—there were no people and it was kind of messy and dusty looking.
After having explored as much as they wanted in search of excitement, they soon realized there was none to be found—and they had better return home. The walk down the hill wasn’t as exuberant as the walk up. The most fun part, they realized, was that they escaped their homes without anyone knowing! They knew they would continue these early morning explorations for the rest of the summer!
As the girls neared Teri’s house, they saw a police car parked out in front. Teri’s mother was outside talking to the policeman. They wondered what had happened, if the house had been robbed, or if someone had been hurt. The girls began to run to the excitement! Teri shouted, “What happened, Mother?!” Her mom, obviously very upset, began to cry, shake and yell—all at the same time, “I’ll tell you what happened! Where WERE you, Theresa?! Andrea woke me up this morning to tell me you had climbed out your bedroom window to go somewhere with Linda! We have been scared to death that something happened to you two!”
It was then that Linda saw her mom in the huddle with the police. “Uh-Oh,” she thought. “I’m in trouble, too!” When Teri’s mom had learned that Teri “disappeared” with Linda, she called first the police, then Linda’s mother. Linda knew that her mom really wouldn’t have been that upset about the girls’ outing—she was a pretty mellow mom. On the other hand, Teri’s mom was very dramatic; something Linda always wished her mom was like, but not on that day.
Both girls were grounded for the next week, so no roller skating, or playing jacks, or waving at cement truck drivers. Although they couldn’t talk to each other on the phone after the ordeal, they both knew that the saddest part of being caught was that their early morning adventures were over. They would have to endure the remainder of the foggy, drizzly summer wearing their matching hooded sweatshirts while doing normal, boring things until school started.