Fight or Flight or Freeze

When I first heard that my nephew was walking to school every day, I was excited. This is not an activity kids these days do. I’m so glad that my sister is continuing the custom for at least one more generation.

With the exception of when I lived too far away, I always walked to school. Long before I was to start kindergarten, my Ma and I would walk back and forth to school so I would learn the way. It hurts my brain a little thinking of  teaching someone the way who couldn’t yet read street signs. From what I remember, it was only a few blocks away, but that is far when you’re that age!

Tammy in Kindergarten

I felt like such a big girl walking myself to school.

Although I was only five at the time, I have a very clear memory of one particular walk home.

It was time to cross the biggest street on my route, more than half way home. This day, for whatever reason, I didn’t look. I got two to three steps into the street and saw a car. It was still a ways down the street, but I froze. So much for fight or flight. My primary response has been to do nothing. In this case I actually did do something: I covered my head with my hands and stood there with my eyes closed. I was sure I was going to be hit.

I don’t know how long I stood there, but I suddenly realized I was okay. Carefully I opened up my arms and looked out. The woman driver was stopped several feet away and smiling at me. I took a deep breath, checked traffic coming the other way (see I did learn!), and ran across the street. The driver waved and drove off.

At the time I swore I would never tell my parents what happened and would always look both ways. I can’t remember if I was able to keep that secret. Considering how I was at that point in my life, I probably spilled the beans as soon as I got home.

Are my nephews the only kids still walking to school these days? or What is one of your early memories?

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