The first house I lived in was pretty close to St. Xavier University on the South Side of Chicago. Not far from there was the Catholic Church and school that one of my brothers and sister attended. I can't remember much about living there, as I'm pretty sure we moved when I was 3 or 4 years old.
So I was very young, maybe a little more advanced than a toddler, when I first decided to run away from home. I'm quite sure I announced my intentions loudly, and was a little taken aback when there were no objections. Who knows what I was angry about, but I was determined, and it seemed like I walked forever only to make it to the end of the block. Around the corner, just like it was another house, was one of those old school "mom and pop" candy stores. Looking back, I'm sure they sold all the staples like bread and milk, but as far as I was concerned, it was the candy store. When you first walked in, there was row upon row of penny candy conveniently placed at a kid's eye level. I loved those candy "buttons" that came on paper that looked like a big receipt, pixy stix, wax bottles, Lemonheads and bottle caps. Upon seeing the store, I forgot all about running away and returned home to ask for a nickel. I was honestly puzzled when everyone in the family broke out laughing.
It seemed like I was just getting comfortable with my surroundings and the other kids on the block when I was informed we would be moving to a new house. My parents probably did all the house hunting without me, and only told me about the new house once they made their decision. I was skeptical about the whole thing, but when I went to see it, everything changed when I saw the finished basement. The boy who lived there had a lot of real cool toys, stuff I had never seen before, like a fort and a ton of little Cowboy and Indian figures. They pretty much had to drag me out of there when it was time to leave. I became rather enthusiastic about this new house idea. Finally the day came to move, and I was shocked and stunned when we arrived at the now empty new house. What? Where are all those toys? What do you mean he took them with him?
To add insult to injury, not long after the move my parents told me about preschool.
I don't remember the name of the preschool, how many times a week I went, or any of that stuff. I only have one clear memory: kids wetting their pants. It seems like we all did it at one point or another, and that we all lied about it. So sometimes the teachers would make us all sit in a big circle and would walk around and physically check your pants for wetness. One day I wet my pants, flat out denied it, and of course I was sitting in the circle two minutes later. It seemed like forever for the teacher to get around to me. It almost made me yell out "I wet my pants!" just to end the torture. But I didn't. When she finally got to me, she checked my pants (more by my butt than by my crotch), and amazingly didn't detect anything. I think that was a very bad lesson I learned: Sometimes you get away with things. Or so I thought. My mom came to pick me up, and even though I had escaped detection of the teachers, I couldn't fool her, and I got in trouble anyway.
I failed at running away, the new house was a rip off, and I now I could get in trouble with multiple groups of authority figures.
Wait -- what was wrong with our old house again?