Especially if your friends see you. You would never want to be seen with your mom unless your guy friends razz you about hanging with “Your Mother.” And you certainly wouldn’t want to be seen with your sister either. Especially if she is much younger. The boys would think you were her babysitter. Not a good thing. And you certainly wouldn’t want them see you going to church. “What are you? Some kind of saint choir boy?” Yes, fourteen-year olds are hard on each other if not mean. Group poo pooing each other is most common and definitely required to be a hateful teen boy. Mostly brutish and profane. Often spitting, belching, and farting. Which is what teen boys are obligated to do in junior high school?
So it happened one day. I was walking home from junior high and I came upon a loudly crying and tear soaked, I’m guessing, nine-year old little girl. Of course my first thought was are my guy friends watching me. To be near a crying girl would be enough for my junior high friends to conger up stupid stories for the next morning’s idle time at our nutrition break. Charlie made a little girl cries. He must have hit her. Charlie was seen standing next to a crying grade schooler. Charlie has a nine year old girlfriend.” Etc etc. You get the picture.
But anyway, before I could do or say anything she blubbered out that she was lost. She went on to say she had started that day at a new school in a new neighborhood and was lost and could I help her find her way home. All the while rubbing her eyes with the backs of her hands. Just drenched in tears running down her dress. So I had a rare lucid moment and asked her if she knew her address. Yes she said while sniveling and brushing away tears. She told me she lived on Seventh Street. Something like 112 South Seventh Street. Being a person knowing north from south, I knew exactly where she lived. However, she was way off track. So I told her to just follow me. And I mean follow me at a reasonable distance. Fearing my whacky guy friends might see us both together. Laughing and pointing. “Look at Charlie and his little crying sister!” Hoot! Hoot!
So we set out to find her house and walking at a brisk pace. Taking notice that she was following me and most of all no teen boys were in the territory. So we crossed a few residential streets and one major boulevard and headed east until we came to Seventh Street. I arrived at the corner of Whittier Blvd. and seventh a few paces ahead of her and pointed south. She took notice of the street and shouted, “There’s my house” and took off running. Boy! What a relief to send her away. Most of all no guy friends are nearby.
However, in retrospect, I feel this was one of my greatest accomplishments. Helping a lost child find her way back home. But it took me another ten years or so to come to this conclusion. Glad to help. Never mind she didn’t even say thanks. But the two of us were just callow thankless kids seeking out our own welfare. Oh well.