MY FIRST JOB
My first job was babysitting for my parents. I was only around ten or eleven years old and afraid of my own shadow. Heck, I was scared to walk upstairs by myself, even when my parents were at home. What were they thinking having me babysit? I was way too young to babysit my two year old brother. My parents should have hired a babysitter for both of us, but, for some odd reason they thought I was old enough. True, my little brother was upstairs sleeping in his crib, but I was downstairs all alone. If he woke up I was to take a bottle of milk upstairs to him. Yeah, right. I would like to think I would, but my gut tells me it would be a hard thing to do. Thank goodness I do not remember ever having to do that.
The house was awfully quiet with no one home. But, old houses make noises, groans, and creaks. It’s like the house had its own language. It would be really quiet, then without warning I would hear a creak or groan. Every time the old house would make a noise, I jumped a mile not knowing if the house was making the noise, or if someone was trying to get in. You can believe I had all the lights turned on downstairs and both porch lights turned on. I somehow felt a tiny bit safer with them on, and I don’t know why.
I grew up in the late nineteen forty’s and fifty’s. In those years the radio and the television turned off at eleven o’clock at night. The television hummed and showed a test tube pattern if you left it on. The radio was silent. Sometimes I would leave the television on just to hear the humming, because every noise I heard scared me, it seemed so loud in my ears. I remember pacing back and forth, from the kitchen to the living room, from the living room back into the kitchen. Constantly, I would do this, because I was terrified someone would break into the kitchen if I stayed in the living room, and if I was in the kitchen, I thought someone would break into the living room. Both doors had glass window panes in them. The blinds were closed, so I could not see out the window. I think that added to my fear, not knowing what, or if anyone was right out the door.
My dad always came home first, when he would walk in the door I felt like a load of bricks fell off my shoulders. I would give him a hug and go straight up to bed by myself. It took awhile for me to calm down but I felt safe.
This experience has affected me to this day. I am much better, but still feel very uncomfortable when I am home alone. My cell phone never leaves my side and my bedroom door is locked along with everything else I can lock. It’s a good feeling to know that our neighbors look out for each other and that is a great feeling to have.