When we were kids and played "chase" or "hide-n-go-seek", there was always someone chasing us. If they caught us, then in the next round, we were the chaser. It was always bad to be the chaser. We always wanted to be the chased. Endless rounds of games.
I grew up in a neighborhood with lots of kids. We played and we fought and we turned into "us" and "them". Constant divisions and groupings. Arguments resolved, new arguments started. But, it seemed we spent most of our time chasing one another; on foot or on bikes. Boys against the girls, this side of the street against that one. Then, we'd all end up at one house eating them out of popsicles or Kool-Aid.
I remember playing one day where we were all crowded in the neighbors tool shed. I'm sure it was summer and we were all roasting in there, but it didn't matter. We were having fun (remember fun? that wanton doing of whatever you want to do without feeling guilty for doing that instead of dishes or dusting?) Don't remember the name of the game, but there was a hen and the rest of us were eggs. The eggs each got a color. The wolf stood outside and recited some rhyme that ended with a color and if you were the egg with that color, you had to run out of the shed and across the yard. If you got caught, you were the wolf. I always had a mental image of that game that involved and egg costume with just arms and legs sticking out, like the ham costume in To Kill a Mockingbird.
In all those games, there was always a "safe" spot. I can remember running full steam into the side of the house and hitting it with the flats of my hands and shouting "SAFE!". Or running full tilt for a door until someone's mother shouted "Stop hitting that screen door!" At some point, these games always dissolved into somthing like "No, I was safe! I'm not going to be the wolf. I swear I was safe." and then there would be a division. Sometimes one player would be drummed out of the game for being a bad sport. Sometimes we would divide into groups and a block feud would ensue. And, all over whether we were "safe".
Okay, didn't matter that we were in a neighborhood where everyone knew everyone else and everyone else's kids and their business. While parents didn't discipline one another's kids, I do remember being walked home by a few mothers so my mother could be told what I'd done. A whole time when we were all "safe" and didn't have to be watched over every second that we were outside. A neighborhood where you had to be home by dark and the first mother to call their kids home meant everyone else had may as well start for home because it wouldn't be but a minute until your own mother was calling. And, some of us got in trouble if we had to be called.
Now, as an adult, I often find myself looking for "safe". That place I can run full, head-on into and know that I won't have to do anything unpleasant. I usually think of my sewing room as my safe place where I can retreat and do whatever I need, be it cry or laugh or just sit and stare into the dark. But, lately, I've been trying to find "safe" within myself. Something inside me that I can take with me wherever I am. This must be part of getting older. I'm no longer the warrior threat to the universe that I was when I was in college. You know that invincible feeling of being in control of everything. Now it's much more important to hide than to fight. I've found many ways, some safer than others. But, I still look for ways to get to "safe" and I guess I always will.
In case you hadn't noticed, it's Way Back Wednesday. Take care and have a great one. I'm still working my little fingers to the bone. Take the N-E-Y out of New York and what do you have left? Lane