Playing On The River Promenade

'Never climb on the steel railing', Mummy said

Every time we went to the park.

'You might slip through.

The cement slope is steep.

The river is deep and it runs fast.'

I understood, and I obeyed.

Seven years old is savvy.

 

One morning Mummy was busy with babies

So my younger sister and I went to the park alone

Following the familiar streets down to the river.

'Be careful,' Mum had said, with confidence.

I remember thinking: The waves are big today!

Splashing up on the pavement and even the grass.

There was nobody else around, just us.

 

'Don't climb on the bars,' I said to my sister.

'Hmmph!'

'Stay on the lawn so you don't get wet

And we'll have our lunch before we go for a walk.'

'Hmmph!'

'What has Mummy packed today?

Peanut butter sandwiches and lemonade. Yummy!

And chocolate cookies with icing. Double yummy!

Here's your sandwich, and some drink.

Where are you?

WHERE ARE YOU?

 

OH MY GOD!

 

I'VE GOT YOU! HOLD ON TIGHT! ' I'VE GOT YOU!'

 

The huge waves were pounding up the cement slope

Pulling at her legs, pushing her shirt up her back

Swirling around our slippery hands.

'I'VE GOT YOU!'

And I dragged her up under the bars on to the walkway.

She was soaked, and terrified.

I hugged her, water and all.

'You're safe! Stop crying! You'll dry off! It's hot!

Here, have a sandwich and some lemonade.

When we get home DON'T TELL MUMMY!'

 

I was plenty scared, but not stupid!

This was something Mummy didn't need to know.

 

Cynthia Buell Thomas, May, 2019

◄ Chemo Session 4

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Comments

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Cynthia Buell Thomas

Sat 11th May 2019 14:49

Trevor, actually I/we didn't. It was wartime when this happened and Mum's life was hard. Even we young kids knew that. And one more fear on her mind might really have been one burden too much. We knew that too. Maybe not in those terms, but the same principle. I don't know how she would have coped. She totally needed to trust us. And we had to be trustworthy. It had nothing to do with trying to avoid 'punishment', absolutely nothing. But everything to do with her 'mental health'. We were afraid 'for her', not 'of her'.

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Trevor Alexander

Fri 3rd May 2019 15:04

Scary at the time, I bet. Did you mention it to Mummy when you'd grown up a bit? 😉

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Cynthia Buell Thomas

Fri 3rd May 2019 12:10

This 'episode' has been tickling my brain for YEARS! Finally decided to commit it to 'words'. Probably encouraged by a recent TV programme about how young children cope with challenges.

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