I want to tell you a couple of horrifying true stories. These are true stories from my own life. These are timely stories in light of the news story of the three young women that were found after having been abducted 10 years ago. This is a subject that grips me more than any other. I think you will understand why after I tell you about my life. I did a blog search to see if I have told these before, but couldn't find any, so I hope I'm not repeating myself.
When I was a young girl, about 9 years old, I often spent Sunday afternoons at the home of some fellow church members. They had a daughter my age, and I enjoyed playing with her, and would sometimes even spend the night. On one particular Sunday afternoon, I took my large Raggedy Ann doll to her house to play. My mother had made this almost life size doll for me, and had also made one for my friend. So we took our dolls for a walk in the neighborhood. There was an empty lot right across the street from her house, and we were walking back home on the edge of the lot. We were walking next to the street, when I noticed a car slowly following us. I looked back and saw a thin balding man driving the car. He was driving very slowly right next to the curb, right behind us. He was definitely following us. Even at 9 years old, I knew he was following us. I turned to my friend and whispered (afraid he might hear me) "When I count to three, run!" My friend said, "What?" I tried again and whispered, "When I count to three, RUN?" She either didn't hear me, or didn't understand why, because she said again, "What?" At this point I was getting scared and didn't know what to do. I quickly said, "I'll race you home!", and I started running across the lot as fast as I could. I got clear to the front porch before I realized she was still walking slowly in the same place! The car was still slowly following her. I started screaming, "RUN! RUN!" She didn't understand my urgency, but started slowly jogging across the lot. The man quickly drove away.
I told my friend's father what happened. To his credit, he didn't shrug it off. He asked me if I wanted to call the police. I was afraid I would get in trouble, so I told him I didn't want him to call the police. I didn't understand that the police are good, and help us. I just connected the police with being arrested. So he didn't call the police, but he asked me if I would like to drive around in his car and look for the man. I told him yes, so he drove us around the neighborhood. I looked and looked, but never did find the man in the car.
Flash forward about 14 years to when I was living with my grandmother. She lived in a tiny town in southern Utah. During the months that I lived there, I made friends with a couple who lived not far away from our house. They had recently moved in to town, and were renting an old house on the back street. They had a young son who was about 6 or 7 years old. I always wondered about him because he was part black, but neither of them was black. When it came time for school to start, the woman asked me to drive her to the school to get him registered. I remember that when we got there, they asked for transcripts from his last school. She said she didn't have any, but she would have them sent. I didn't think anything about it at the time.
Over the next weeks, we became friends, and she began to confide in me. At first she told me that the man she lived with wasn't really her husband. Then next she told me that this was his child, and that the child's mother was black. Then next she told me that he took the child from his mother because the mother was a drug addict. I felt glad that he was able to get the child away from a druggie mother. I was young and naive, and I wanted to think the best about people. Over the next short period of time, she admitted that the child wasn't actually his, but that he had saved him from his druggie mother. At this time I began to consciously realize that this was an abducted child. I wasn't quite sure what to do. But before I knew it, within a matter of days they had moved, and left no forwarding address. They simply disappeared. Did I mention that the couple told me their last name was Smith? There was no way to trace them.
These two incidents have cut a deep groove in my heart. I not only have a fear for the children who are abducted, because I could have been one of them, but I also have regrets that I didn't save the one who came within my sphere of contact. Over the years I have wondered about that little boy, and wondered if he ever found his way home.
So today I am thankful that at least three girls were saved from their abductor. Each time I hear of a kidnapping, or a returned kidnapped child, I think about these two experiences in my life. I wish that I could find a way to help search for missing children. I am thinking I might start featuring some of their pictures on my facebook and blog. These children are out there, we just need to pay attention to the clues and help them return home. I missed my chance once. I hope if I am ever in that position again, that I will be able to recognize the clues, and help to bring the children home.