By Jo Lees
Most children at one age or another pack up their belongings and "run away from home." I was no exception, only I traveled from Oakland,
California to Detroit, Michigan. I was fourteen and it was during World War II. My father was a naval officer and I objected to changing schools. I had grown up in Michigan and
had gone to the same school for seven years. My grandparents still lived in our large home in a suburb of Detroit and so one day, after careful preliminary planning, I walked out
of our Oakland residence with $6.00 in my purse and only the clothers on my back, and started hitchhiking to Detroit.
All my troubles would be over, I thought, if only I could be back with my real friends. What a surprise I had when after completing my journey, I found that the parents of these "real" friends had decided I must have been pregnant or some such nonsense and that anyone who dared to hitch-hike was certainly to be frowned upon, so instead of resuming my position with the top society in my class, I was regarded as a freak. My friends narrowed to three, my two closest girl friends, and the only boy I'd ever gone with since the third grade, who knew I wasn't pregnant.
It was, perhaps, a hard way to learn that running away doesn't solve your problem, but it left me with such a "fixation" about it that I have never been able to run away, or even turn away from anything, since. People say I have too much nerve, but it isn't that really; it's just that I know it could be worse if I run away.
This proved to be true in my marriage which according ot my doctor's advice, should have been dissolved after three years. I held out for ten years, refusing to run away.
The traumatic experience of society unjustly ostracising me at a time when I so greatly needed security has left an effect upon me which I still am unable to shake off. even though today I recognize it, I will never walk out in the middle of an argument or "leave well enough alone" to avoid an argument.
A person should not give up too easily, but to never give in or change one's course can certainly be just as dangerous. Therefore, although I have learned not to run away from my problems, I have not learned how to solve them.