Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!
Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Lost on the Ocean City Boardwalk

I was in Walmart yesterday picking up some not so important stuff, crisscrossing aisles not particularly looking for anything.  it was just the mindless shopping that one does when you just want to shop. No, I don't really need a new set of dish towels, but after a long day at work, for $8.00, a set of new dish towels was reasonable if not cheap. Suddenly at the end of the aisle was a crying little boy. I turned and realized that he was alone, looking around, and crying. Interspersed with his sobs were the cries of "Mommy! Mommy!" A frantic little boy was lost in the big cavernous store of Walmart.  I started walking over to him to see about finding his parents on the loudspeaker system when his Mom swooped in like a mother bird, grabbed him, and continued her shopping. His sobs of panic and fear were replaced with sobs of relief. I think each of us has experienced that panic and fear at one time in our lives.

My thoughts go back to one particular summer on the Ocean City, NJ, back when I was just 4 years old in 1974. It is amazing how clear certain memories remain forever etched in your mind. I was with my family and my Uncle John, walking down the boardwalk one crowded hot summer day.  The scent from the fudge factory was thick in the air mingling with the smell of the sea spray off of the ocean. Before I knew it, I had lost sight of my family! I still can feel the fear that overtook me. As I looked around, I did what any 4 year old would do, tears welled up in my eyes and I cried! Actually, I probably wailed. I frantically glanced back and forth, searching for my parents. I just couldn't see them in the crowd. People towered over my young frame. Just then, a beautiful tan girl with long sandy blond hair and in a white bathing suit stopped and leaned down to ask me if I was lost. I looked up into her kind blue eyes and just cried  and cried. I specifically remember that she said that she would stay with me and help my find my family.

The tan blond girl looked around into the crowd asking if I saw them when suddenly my Uncle John grabbed me and lifted me into his safe arms yelling "GOTCHA!" I remember him running down the boardwalk for what seemed like forever back to my parents and passing me to my father. I was so relieved and just sobbed.  I said to my Mom, "Where is she? Where is she?" Mom replied, kissing me, "Who honey? Who?" All I could get out between sobs was, "The girl who helped me, the girl!" We looked around into the crowd and saw a sea of summer faces. We couldn't find her to thank her. For some reason, though, I never forgot her. Her long sandy blond hair. Her beautiful smile. Her reassuring words. But most importantly, her kindness she showed me when I had never been more scared in my life.

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