It's amazing what sticks out in your mind when you're only 3 years-old. I firmly believe that in order for a human being of that age to remember something until adulthood, that they can recollect into a coherent thought process on paper or even in a blog, it would take something profound to have it stick out in their mind for thirty or more years. For me, that profound thing occurred when I was three.
I remember being at my grandparents house for Sunday dinner, the first and only grandchild of their's at that time. It was 1980, springtime I believe, because I can remember being in shorts. I was blonde headed then, and appear to be headed that way again now only with a lovely hint of gray instead. I was Short and stout, but full of life and eager to enjoy it just the same.
My parents were there, my aunt and her spouse, my uncle and his girlfriend, who later became his spouse, my grandparents, my great grandmother, and I believe my dad's cousin and her boyfriend at the time as well. It was a typical Sunday lunch, full of delicious food, laughter, joy, a picturesque moment that you might see captured on celluloid for viewing again later.
Then the doorbell rang.
This caught my grandmother by surprise because everyone that was supposed to be there was already present. I remember her wondering who this might be? She proceeded down the hallway to her front door. I remember the green carpet and white walls of the hall, with light shimmering in through the glass door on the front. My mom had a curious look towards the hallway as well, but in time that moment passed for her. She went back to conversing, and seemingly unaware that anyone had rang the bell at the door, as did all the others in the room.
That is until my grandmother could be heard communicating with the unknown visitor. The coversation was not what you would call "polite" either. It was becoming very heated. Even at 3 years-old I could tell that something was not right with my grandmother's voice. She was stressed, nervous, angry even. I didn't know who was at that door, but they weren't welcome at all.
Then, out of nowhere, a woman appeared from the hallway, my grandmother having disappeared it seemed. The woman stood there in blue jeans, a dark shirt, had long dark hair that looked ratty, if I knew what ratty even meant then, and her gaze fixed squarely onto me. Her eyes were dark and focused. She knew what she was after and in a split second everyone in the room knew what she was after.
"You're coming home with me!"
The woman said this as she lunged forward, reaching her right hand out to grab my arm. Whether or not it was my left or right arm, I cannot recall. I just remember being utterly confused by these actions and her words. With ferocious intent, the woman pulled me towards her and whisked me away into the very same hallway she had just exited.
I vaguely remember looking back at my mother and yelling for her, but I can't remember the expressions on their faces. It was like a blur. However, I can imagine what those expressions must have been like. Pure, unadulterated fear.
The woman dragged me through the hallway to the front door. I remember looking in front of me towards the door and the bright light shining in. It was as if the world outside had completely vanished. The woman's back was to me, her gait steadfast and resolved. Again my grandmother tried to stop her, and again the woman shoved her aside with a quick thrust. She made it all the way to the glass door and pushed on the handle to open it, swinging the door open. At this moment I seemed destined to leave with her, completely against my will but totally helpless to stop it.
But then the woman stopped as another arm grabbed my free arm and pulled me back. She turned to see who or what had stopped my progression, as did I. It was my Uncle Bob who reached out quickly before the woman could take me out the door. To this day I believe had he been a second later they would not have been able to stop her from taking me to her car and driving off with me forever. At least to me that's how it felt, although my parents I'm sure would have never stopped looking for me until the day they died, had she succeeded.
But my uncle stopped her, causing her to grow angry. She began tugging on my arm she had firmly clasped her hand around, yanking me back and forth with my uncle like an extreme tug-of-war match. Finally my younger Uncle Ken grabbed hold of me as well and began pulling. Then my dad joined in, my dad's cousin's boyfriend, my grandfather, everyone. Before I knew it they had all overwhelmed the woman and hoisted me up so high into the air I was practically touching the ceiling. This did not slow the woman's resolve.
She grabbed hold of my legs next and began pulling again. I was so overwhelmed by all of this that I can't even remember if I ever screamed. It was dizzying, and unbelievable to me at that time. I could hear mumble yells from both sides, but I cannot remember the words. I just know the battle seemed to wage forever. Finally I heard someone speak something I understood clearly. It was my grandmother as she darted back into the den from the hallway.
"I'M CALLING THE POLICE!"
With that declaration from my grandmother, the woman released her grip and shot out the front door with the speed of a gazelle. She hopped into the car, who's occupant had been waiting on her patiently, and sped off never to be seen again. Thinking about the driver of that car, the fact they remained inside only showed their true recreant nature. Yes they needed a getaway, but the kidnapper needed help and this person was apparently unwillingly to do so.
When she left the fracus was over and my family placed me back on my own two feet. We all went back into the den where we had been prior to the intrusion, except now blood pressures were higher, the laughter was gone, and exhaustion was ensuing. Me being a little one started mouthing about what I would do if that woman ever came back, seeming to forget in my own mind what had just occurred. Amazingly I hadn't released any bodily functions under the circumstances. And had I done so, I doubt anyone would have thought bad of me for it. Some of them were on the verge of doing just that themselves.
No one in my family had ever experienced a moment like that, or has ever experiened it again. We consider that a blessing. As it turned out the police did find the woman later. She was a drug addict and had been pepped up on cocaine during the time she attempted to kidnap me right out from in front of my entire family. Under those conditions it truly begs the question that if she had gotten away with it, what would have happened to me? Would I even still be alive to tell this story to all of you today?
I feel I owe my life to my family because of that day and unfortunately it has to be the earliest memory I ever had. But looking back at least I have that memory to reflect on, share and potentially warn others of the volatile nature of the world we live in. In a moments notice, the whole world can change. Your eyes can open to the most unknown possibilities you could ever imagine. So my only advice I can offer is this, even when you think you're safe, always be on guard. You just never know when someone is going to try and steal from your life that which is most precious to you.
Causes Jason Thrift Supports
I would support any cause that helps to see that all human beings are treated with respect, dignity and love. Service to others is the greatest feat any...