Saturday, February 5, 2011

Of Men and Angels

When I was in Jr. High and High school I walked home from school every day.
That does not seem that uncommon, right?
The thing is, I walked 3 miles in blistering heat, rain, and even hail storms a time or two for 6 straight years (starting at 12 years old).
I was not one of those kids whose parents bought them a car at 16.
I was lucky if I had an umbrella.
I did have a job later in high school, but the money was spent helping my mom with rent and utilities on our tiny 2 bedroom apartment.
There was no extra moo-la for a car plus insurance and gas.
No matter the weather, I walked.
For the most part I enjoyed my walks.
I enjoyed the smell of the air when fall came.
I loved shuffling my feet through the fallen leaves scattered on the sidewalks.
I enjoyed smelling the smoke being sent up in big billows from the homes in the neighborhoods when winter came.
I enjoyed watching the dogs in the back yards yip at me from their 10x10 fenced yards.
Sometimes I just liked to be in the sunshine and watch the puffy clouds go by.
I enjoyed the uninterrupted silence and the chance it gave me to dream about my future.
What can I say, I've always been a dreamer.
It gave me a sense of independence and hope for my future.
There were many times in my youth, including my alone time on my daily walks, when I felt I had angles literally following my every foot step.
They seemed so close some times that I felt I could just turn around and start talking to them, yet I knew no one was there.
Even typing this now, over 15 years later, brings back the same feelings I had back then.
The town I grew up in is one of the worst in the entire country, as far a crime rates.
Yet, as a teenager I did not know that.
I do know that on several instances strange men in unfamiliar cars stopped and pulled up along side me, offering me a ride.
I did what the text books say and avoided eye contact and kept walking.
That worked for all but one guy. He was relentless and seemed bent on me getting in his car.
It came to the point where I stopped walking and entered the side yard of one of the houses in the neighborhood to get away from him.
I was praying no one was home, which ended up being the case, thank heaven.
I waited in that strangers back yard until the car finally sped away.
I think I walked faster the rest of the way home that day than I ever had in my entire life.
I have often wondered what could have happened that day if he had not left.
My mind does not like to go to that place.
Last night I was browsing the Internet and I was curious about the crime rate in our local area.
I found some crime reports on the Internet and was actually shocked at how high the rate here is.
I had considered our area pretty quiet.
Then, I went to the crime reports for the town I grew up in.
I found some daunting facts.
It turns out, and I quote, "This city is safer than 2% of the cities in the US."
Talk about bottom of the barrel.
It also says if you live in Stockton you have a 1 in 63 person chance of being a victim of violent crime.
But this is the one that nearly scared my socks right off.
Every year in my beloved home town there are a whopping 407 crimes per square mile.
These stats made my new place of residence seem like utopia.
And to think, I walked thorough 3 of those miles every single school day of the year for 6 years.
OK, that's not true, on the rare occasion I had some spare change I rode the city bus.
But I can honestly say I think I was better off walking.
And yet not a hair on my head was ever harmed, scared to death a few times, but never did anything bad ever happen to me.
So about those angels I was talking about.
I used to think maybe I was a little crazy for thinking I had angels in my midst.
Now, I realize that may have been the only way I ever made it though all those years unscathed.


Glen and Bonnie said...

Perhaps that's why your name was "Sara Angel!" I always thought you were ONE of them! So it was your cousin angels who were watching over you.

A little scary about Stockton, but much of the crime is centered in certain parts of town, and the other parts are pretty "good." In any area, one must ever be vigilant!


Emma said...

I remember walking home through Jr high and a couple years in high school. (we didn't live quite that far from the schools) I only had one scary black car with tinted windows slow down and ask me if I wanted a ride - but it turned out to be my neighbor's son - I was relieved.
Stockton can be a scary place, and I'm glad the worst thing that ever happened to us was having our cars broken into and one car stolen once - it was found abandoned a week later.
I completely agree that you had Angels watching over you.