While in Seattle, my sister and I started telling the Seattle Kids about the "afternoon special" type stories from our neighborhood growing up.
Name something bad that you heard as a child not to do; kids in my neighborhood did it. And felt the repercussions.
There was the little boy, Frank, who died at the age of nine, choking on a hot dog while his mother watched; she did not know the Heimlich maneuver.
A friend of mine from across the street, Samantha, died at 12 along with her 7-year-old brother when they played with matches and started a fire. They actually died of smoke inhalation when they ran upstairs away from the flames.
The boy next door died at 18 because he was hanging out drunk on the train tracks. (There were rumors that he was a Satanist testing the devil, but obviously that didn't work.)
My first best friend named Jennifer growing up thought she couldn't get pregnant the first time you had sex - and had a baby when she was 14.
There was the boy who lived around the corner who played russian roulette and died.
There was the kid who grew up down the street - he hopped the fence to get a ball and was mauled by a dog.
When we started to tell the stories as they kept coming out the whole thing seemed more and more morbid. Luckily boys seem to respond to these kind of horror stories with nary a shrug. If anything, they were most amazed at why someone would ever play russian roulette. Shocked and dumbfounded, really. Which is a good thing.
I suppose it is stranger that my sister and I had taken it in stride as a way that people acted. I was such an avid reader, I was familiar with extraordinary things happening to people in books, and maybe saw no reason that real life wouldn't be the same. Maybe such comfort in extreme circumstances is what led me to New York.
I do love it here. And I crave adventure. Hmmmm.
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