Innergiggler's Blog

Homage To The Umbilical Cord

Posted on: May 8, 2010

*February 16, 1954

My first memory of the umbilical cord‘s “perfection” came within forty-eight hours of moving into our first house.  Nine years old now, I was packed up, handed  a lunch box and sent on my way to P.S. 173 in Fresh Meadows, Queens.  

Mom said we were several miles from the school now so I had to take a school bus.   She walked me to the stop on that dreary overcast day and kissed me goodbye.  There were four other kids at the stop but no one said anything to me before or after we got on the bus.  I hoped it was friendlier in my classroom.

My teacher’s name was Sandra Goldberg.  She seemed nice, but it was the middle of the school year and I was the new kid so I felt sort of weird.  Always one of the top students in my class, I was very concerned she wouldn’t know that and might assign me the wrong reader.  I was just hoping she didn’t put me in the slow group.  I was pretty nervous the whole day, but managed to get 100 on the spelling test. 

None of the kids paid much attention to me until the end of the day when the school bell rang.  A girl named Elissa tapped me on the shoulder and started a conversation with me.  Although I was glad a classmate finally spoke to me, I really wasn’t comfortable it was this particular girl.  I’d been watching her during the spelling test when she was making lots of funny faces; I also noticed her belt was up too high above her waist.  In any case now was not a good time because I had to go search for the school bus.  Elissa said she’d show me where the buses met, but was blabbing so much, by the time she got me to the right place my bus was gone. I can actually still feel the terror in my chest when I recall that moment.

I didn’t know my address; I didn’t know my phone number.  It had been drizzling all day, but now the rain was coming down in buckets.  I tried getting back into the school –  but the door was locked.  In retrospect I probably had tried the wrong entrance, because schools don’t lock up at 3:00p, but I’m 50 years too late to change anything.  So I just picked a direction and started walking; I had a 25% chance of getting it right. 

Moving in a straight line, I kept talking to my Mom, “I’m coming home…show me how to get home.”  About forty minutes into my journey the rain lightened up.  And that’s when I saw a street sign for 75th Avenue –  ding, ding, ding…75th Avenue.  My heart jumped.  It seemed to ring a bell; something told me to make a right turn.  Two blocks later I noticed a lady standing on the sidewalk in front of a closed garage.  Trying to keep my terror in check because I didn’t want to scare her away, I approached her blurting out the details of my sad story.  I remembered part of my address, so she took my hand and told me not to stop worrying.  As we started walking I realized she’d been standing at the spot where I’d gotten the school bus that morning, and my heart started dancing.  I just knew at that moment my mom was nearby.  Three blocks later we stood in front of a house that looked a little familiar.  I mean I had lived there for almost two days.  The uncontrollable terror sobs wanted to break free and express themselves; I couldn’t hold them back anymore so I just let them rip.  I could feel mom behind that front door.  The lady took me up the steps and rang the bell.  Mom knew it was me.   She opened the door and threw her arms around me, sobbing and hugging me over and over again.  She thanked the lady then walked me upstairs, removed my soaking wet first day of new school clothes, threw them aside and let the bathtub run with sweet smelling bath bubbles

While the tub was filling up, I got to have as many toll house cookies as I wanted.  That was the only time in my life, ever, that Mom didn’t tell me “Don’t fill up before dinner.”  If there’s anyone who doesn’t believe in the strength, the very force of the umbilical cord, you’re uninformed or sadly in denial.

*Excerpt from “How I Buried My Mom…Still Attached To The Umbilical Cord”

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1 Response to "Homage To The Umbilical Cord"

I’m sobbing… So Emotional: A new home, you disconnect from your Mom and enter a school bus, a new school, new class mates, missing the bus, walking to the unknown address, yet connection again to your Mom. WoW that was one scary day …. then Mom, Bath and Cookies!!

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