Posted by: patwogan | August 29, 2008

The Runaway

I loved Mom Warnock.  Who wouldn’t love someone who made homemade bread, always had time to play with me, and loved me back. 

She lived in a big, noisy home with her husband Charlie and three of her boys.  Remember, this was during the depression and one son and his wife had moved back home temporarily.  Two of the boys had not yet left home, although they were grown.  I was madly in love with one of the boys because he could walk on his hands up and down the stairs.  That was a very important talent to a little girl.  He also let me ride on his shoulders.  What more could one ask!

The married son’s wife was also totally different from my mom.  My mom had one pair of dress shoes and they were black pumps.  Maxine wore fancy wedge-heeled sandals and had other colorful shoes.  I loved shoes and to me Maxine was totally glamorous.  She was also pregnant and ate Argo starch which she shared with me. 

It was always fun at the Warnock’ s house.  Is it any wonder I liked to spend time over there. 

Sometimes I would be playing outside and decide to go visit Mom Warnock.  Now I had been told that I should always let my mother know where I was at all times.  But sometimes I forgot to ask permission or to tell her when I got the urge to go visiting.  I really didn’t understand the need to always ask or tell as I always knew where I was going and I knew she would say it was okay if I did ask.  So I just went.  After all it was just next door.

My mom and dad called this running away and I was frequently scolded for it.  Apparently the scoldings didn’t register because I kept “running away” to visit Mom Warnock and her interesting family.  In Mom’s defense, she always asked me if my folks knew where I was and I would tell her they did because I figured they should know where I was as I was always at Mom’s when I wasn’t at home.

One evening my father showed up at Mom Warnock’s door with a large suitcase.  Dad told Mom Warnock that he and my mother had decided that since I apparently wanted to live at Warnock’s, they would bring my clothes over to me so that I could move in.

I was shocked to say the least.   Dad said they loved me and wanted me to be happy.  If living at Mom’s would make me happy, they were willing to let that happen.  I am sure now that Mom was “in” on this and as he laid the guilt on me, she agreed with everything he said.  By the time Daddy was through, I was in tears and eager and anxious to go home, promising I wouldn’t ever again come over to Mom’s without asking.

Years later, I found out that the suitcase did not contain my clothes.  It was full of my mother’s quilt pieces and sewing supplies.  I am sure Dad knew what the outcome would be before he ever tried the bluff.  I also know they must have all had a hard time keeping a straight face throughout the whole thing.  After that incident, I still went to visit Mom Warnock and ate homemade bread, butter, and sugar, but I didn’t go without asking for permission!



  1. That is hysterical, mom. I wonder how long they had been planning that!
    How’d you find out about what was in the suitcase?

    I always tell my kids that my job is to keep them “happy, healthy, safe and cozy”. The other day, Jacob was having a fit about something and said “Mom – you know how you say your job is to keep us happy, healthy, safe and cozy? Well, I’m not very happy right now.” He called my bluff on that one!

  2. I found your blog today while looking at Kristen’s Dine & Dish. You are a gifted writer and storyteller and I know I will be spending time savoring all of your posts. Isn’t it funny, I used to spend time visiting the mother of a neighborhood family and my parents knew they could always find me in her kitchen. Her name has left me right now, but I remember what she looked like and how I loved her kitchen. I know your family appreciates your stories – and so do I. Keep writing, please!

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