The Day I Ran Away

Kid Alone by Michal Bres ( source: Michal Bres

My Real Memoir

I’d threatened many times to join the circus or go live on a raft on the Mississippi like Tom and Huck. But that wasn’t the case this time. It was some now-forgotten atrocity—homework? weekend chores?—that led to my decision to run away. Forever.

I was surprised at the coolness of Mom’s reaction:

“Are you sure?”



That was it. Just “OK.” And then she proceeded to pack my lunch. She was obviously anxious to get rid of me.

I stomped about in my bedroom, slamming necessities—my sacred texts (Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, The Call of the Wild), leftover Valentine’s Day candy—into a manly rucksack (my pillowcase), then headed for the front door, shouting,

“I’m going now!”





It was nearly two miles to the end of The Field, the last vestige of rural life in our little suburb. I’d never been to the end, where the stately eucalyptus trees marched. Until now. As I trudged along, pillow case dangling from a broom handle, plastic pioneer canteen on my belt, I was ablaze with the spirit of adventure.

The only thing hampering my carefree spirit was the feeling I was being followed. Each time I’d reach the top of a hill I’d look back. Hadn’t I seen that car before? But then it would be gone. No, just my imagination.

Who knew a sack lunch could taste so good? I finished my PB&J, drained the last drop from my authentic Daniel Boone canteen, and headed toward the distant hills as the sun turned to burnt sienna (one of my favorite Crayola colors).

Three hours later, I was deep into uncharted territory. I was cold. And thirsty. Why had I decided to leave again? Reading a favorite chapter of Tom Sawyer would help, but that would require a bedside lamp. Or a flashlight and covers to read beneath.

I sat down on the hard alien soil, but I didn’t cry.


I’d almost reached the point of total despair when I heard wheels creeping up beside me. It wasn’t the sound of a car that had just arrived, it was the sound of a car that had been waiting, perhaps thirty or forty feet away, and then simply crept forward. Oh, great! I thought. And now I get kidnapped! Shlunka, shlunka, shlunk, the window rolled down.

“We’re having spaghetti for dinner. Want to come home?”

This time it was me who said,


“Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.”

~Psalm 139: 9-10

My Real Memoir is a series. To read the next one, click here.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Humor, Memoir and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

52 Responses to The Day I Ran Away

  1. I used to run away until recently. A well-acquired therapist said to me it was a trauma switch that I had about 6/10 of a second to switch off. Most of the time I can get to the switch in time. Every now and then…LOVE your story and image painted with your writing. thanks for the reminder. Jack

    Liked by 6 people

  2. This one I had to laugh out loud about. What kid doesn’t “run away” at some point in their early years. Your story brought back a memory. Even as a girl I ran away. No P&J sandwich or pillow case filled with my treasures. I stomped off about 500 yards from home and up a tree yielding a 1 inch blade pocket knife just in case a mountain lion showed up. Yes we had mountain lions roaming around our country acreage. As the sun set a strange animal sound sent me quickly climbing down the tree and hot footing it back to the house. My bravery was gone! I don’t think anyone missed me, or maybe they just knew which tree I was parked in.

    Liked by 7 people

  3. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story, Mitch! So thought provoking, because HE is giving usthis freedom much more.Have a nice week! xx Michael

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Imelda says:

    I admire how cool your parents were.

    Liked by 7 people

  5. I love this post. Particularly the reminder at the end that we are always being watched and cared for. Thank you

    Liked by 7 people

  6. You have such a knack for taking us back to our own childhoods with all our misadventures. And the tie-in of Psalm 139 at the end…perfect. Just perfect. Thanks, Mitch.

    Liked by 6 people

  7. I always look forward to your cubbyhole of refreshment.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Hetty Eliot says:

    Dang and to think I’m still afraid to take the bus to work.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. numrhood says:

    psalm 139:9-10 & 7
    psalm 114:34-35 & 32
    39 / 3 is 14 today’s date


  10. A lovely memoir/parable! I enjoyed it. My running away from home in the sixth grade lasted all of an hour.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. leendadll says:

    Lucky your parents didn’t have me. I never ran away but if I had, I would have been committed to it. All my life, my parents reminded me that it was their home, I was being allowed to stay, and that if I left I better have no plans of returning.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. says:

    I love the memories this stirred. I started running away at the ripe old age of four and a half. I was wearing my chenille bathrobe and carried a small suitcase. I got as far as the front door and the aroma of pork chops lured me back in. I continued this escape routine whenever I felt neglected. I finally realized there was no place like home.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Piano girl says:

    My favorite Psalm. 😊 And I love your story.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. What wise, loving parents you had. When kids get older it’s harder to follow them, but they still have a heavenly Father who never lets them out of His sight.

    P.S. You quoted one of my favorite Psalms, the one I pray over the prodigal.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Your story sounds much like one of my own where I spent a day in the apple orchard behind our house. I can’t recall what I was mad about. Your mom sounds like my very wise mother, who also waited until hunger won out. Mom’s spaghetti was on the menu too!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I only made it to Logan Boulevard, a very busy street. Not much of an adventurer, I guess. Should have taken a book or two with me.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. I enjoyed your story. So sweet. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Tim Harlow says:

    This was fantastic! I could really feel what you were feeling. Good memories too, or maybe memories of my younger shortsightedness. Thanks!

    Liked by 3 people

  19. Enjoyed reading it 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  20. gpavants says:


    Yes, the impulsive desire to run away from our life without thinking it through. Thank the Lord for wise parents and mentors He sends to correct our plans.

    In Christ,


    Liked by 2 people

  21. I remember telling my mom once that I was going to run away. She asked if she could come with me because she didn’t like doing chores either.

    We just ended up at the ice cream store instead.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Aww, tears. Precious, Mitch. And I love the window noise. ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Pingback: My Early Brushes with Mortality | Mitch Teemley

  24. Pingback: The Day I Ran Away – MobsterTiger

  25. Jennie says:

    I love this story!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Sharda says:

    Wow! I am glad I read this today. Your memoir brings back a flood of memories from childhood. Thank you for sharing. I like your writing style and the Psalm you shared is so wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

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