Thursday, February 15, 2007

We're All Connected

Well hello!  Thanks for coming over, I wanted to tell you something.  Last August, there was one of those "Tag" things from Kathy (onestrangekat) with things like your best and worst memory.  When I posted my anwsers I got a few emails and comments asking for the story behind an answer.  I thought long and hard, made some coffee, took a deep breath, and wrote "The Prison Within".  It was cathartic for me.  The incredible amount of sympathy and caring kindness from this community of souls brought a great healing I didn't think I needed.  Truly, I never think of that incident, but perhaps every once in awhile, a dream maybe ....

I will continually be grateful to everyone who offered such comfort and support for an old wound.   

Here is how your generous words to me have already helped two young school girls in my neighborhood, only a few weeks ago.  This is a large city but I live in a slightly more secluded part of it, with a park and many side-streets.  These two girls were seen running down a street near where I waited for a bus, no one seemed interested but somehow I couldn't take my eyes off them.  Something just looked odd to me - something.  I took the unheard of chance to involve myself, turned on my cane and limped toward them and as the space between us lessened, they both kept yelling, "Lady!  Hey lady!"  (An odd side note:  "Lady" was the name of the horse I cared for as a youngster, noted in my August memory entry).  I told them to slow down, it's alright, what's the matter, all that adult soothing stuff.  They were breathless and crying a bit, obviously wanting to tell me something important.  Between the slang, I realized they had been approached by a young man in a car who tried to entice them into it, offering candy from what they called a "shoebox".  I'm sure they must've known better than to even stand there, but kids are told to "act tough" by their elders, and I don't know if they understand.  It was when they glimpsed into the man's car, they said they saw his naked "jackson" in his lap and it frightened them, so they took off.  They didn't scream, and I asked why in the world didn't they yell out and where did it happen and what did the car look like, what did he look like, I got all the information I could as I took them into my building where the security guards took over in contacting the police, who were there in a quick minute.  I knew it was vitally important to get facts while they were still fresh.  They each held my hand on either side and refused to let go.  There was no arguing, they found someone they could trust and wouldn't let go.  I felt very protective and asked if I could stay.  No problem.  So, all during the time they told their story, and during the ride in the police car to the district station, these two sweet black 9 year-old girls trusted this 56-year old white lady as their "shield" almost, but I think it just made them feel important, noticed. It seems they were more frightened of what they saw rather than what could've happened, for it seemed the man was white.  They'd never seen a "white one" before, they said laughingly.  In the police station as we waited for a free detective to take their stories once again, I got them sodas and candy and we all talked about how strange the world could be, how many people were so different from those we knew, things like that.  They truly unburdened themselves, talking and eating, even laughing.  They had to know how serious this all was.  And here's how all of you were there, without knowing it:

I talked of their bravery.  Like you did to me.  I continually boosted their sense of pride in surviving this.  Like you did.  I explained in much greater detail what could've happened.  Again, as you did when you thanked God I survived my own ordeal.  These girls were literally getting the benefit of words you good people had given me, when I felt I should explain that one answer in that little quiz.  But look where it led:  I now know the mothers, both without husbands but one with a man in the house, I gave the girls my phone number and they call with talk of school and grades and how they "watch for cars that circle the block alot".  O Lord, how it hurt to have to explain to these typical, gum-snapping, laughing faces that in this world, people must be more careful than ever before.  Children most of all.  They wanted answers, explanations,I got the impression their moms weren't as up on facts as they were on superstitions and myths. 

It hurts to look into a young face and tell them never to walk up to a car, for any reason - someone asking directions, offering free puppies, all the ruses we adults know too well.  These are kids, they have no reason to think the world is anything but a free, safe playground for anything they wish.  In comes the nice white lady with these stories about what they must never, ever do.  I realized what I was up against when one of them said, "Well, what if I know the direction they want?"  It's not easy to bring the evils of the world into the bright light of reality in a young girl's life.   

And it's a harsh light.  They watch other adults, they get cues from their mothers and siblings, most of whom are struggling with right and wrong themselves.  Try explaining that the man was wrong in what he did, when the kids watch their siblings laugh gleefully about the extra $ in change they got, or see their mothers shoplift in a store.  That can of tuna in their pocket makes all the difference in how that child looks at life.  And people.  And strangers in cars with candy in a shoebox.   

13 comments:

maxsox5 said...

Wow-they were so LUCKY to have run into you.And you were there for them every step of the way.God had his hand in that!
I had not read your journal back when you had problems and needed and got J-Land help,but what they said to you then came back to help those girls also,that is such a wonderful thing.And wonderful of you to take the time to give those girls what they needed most ,guidance and understanding and a friendly voice and face.There will surely be a crown of glory waiting for you....
Bless you
~connie~

treesrgreen78 said...

This story my dear friend has truly touched my heart, brought tears to my eyes - tears of admiration and great respect for Luddie, whom I am so proud to call my friend.  Is'nt it so very profound that one little word "Lady" and youR instinct for knowing something is not right, possibly saved those kids and others from being taken by that terrible pervert.  What I mostly learned from your entry is that life can have a great impact on one, just from one little word, one kind gesture, just knowing that someone cares enough to say I am here with you, I understand I am by your side.  To me from your words it is apparent that you indeed made a difference in these young girls life, I sincerely hope they continue to interact with you as in my eyes, Luddie, you are truly an amazing woman.  Your entries which I have read all of them, always show me the depth of a great lady and always show me a new facet of a woman I am so very proud to call my friend.  God bless you and the girls and Journal Land, for the little words that we may unknowingly write that "MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN SOMEONES LIFE"

barbpinion said...

God used you, as He uses so many of us. I'm so glad you were there for those children; glad too, that you received such support from this community. This entry touched my heart.
God bless you,
Barb- http://journals.aol.com/barbpinion/HEYLETSTALK
       http://journals.aol.com/barbpinion/THERESTOFTHESTORY

iiimagicxx said...

There's nothing better than knowing the world in which we live, or our environment. Nothing wrong not wanting to help a driver with directions. He should have a map or thought about it before. The world is all but a fairy tale. It's good that they have learned some of it with your help on the way. Sometimes, we are at the right place at the right moment.
Is it the type of life they have in the bronx?
Nice entry Cathie
Valerie

pharmolo said...

You did well, Cathy. It's a shame that youngsters have to be told about these things at an ever earlier age :-(

ab45yui said...

Reaching out is a great gift, you should be applauded!  It takes something without a tangible price tag, our time!  I'm glad you shared yours!  

princesssaurora said...

I am so glad you were there to help the girls in their moment of need!

be well,
Dawn

xxroxymamaxx said...

I hope there is someone like you around if my girls are ever in trouble like that.  You did exactly the right thing and I thank you.  It takes a village ya know?  Love always, Shelly

halliday0957 said...

There is nothing like the innocence of children. what a pity we have to tell them of the dangers in life too. JIM.

cyndelouwho22 said...

What an awesome story! I wish I had seen "The Prison Within"--I'm sure it was equally as inspiring. It's so refreshing to find someone that actually gets involved when someone else is in need, instead of sitting on the sidelines and shaking their heads and saying, "What a shame. Gee, that person is in danger." or "Uh oh...they shouldn't be doing that..." and then they get up and walk away.  You have a conscience and you care--you have HEART! Thanks for sharing!

tpiez4me said...

Awesome story and it is a good thing you were there to be their samaratan.  I hope if my kid is ever in such a situation there is a kind lady (or man) to help them like you did for these.  It is sad this world is as messed up as it is today.  

stevietwain said...

Wow....I'm glad you saw the girls and called the police. Amazing how the person you need is almost always right there...even if you can't see them.

Your story is the hardest one I've ever read and I'll never forget it. Infact, when I think of those events, then think of you, I have to quickly think about something else, cos it's too distressing to think of you like that. I hope that makes sense.

I'm glad the words of your readers helped those girls, although I think you helped them much more!

Lv Ste
xxxx

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