* Went down the basement stairs in my Taylor Tot. Here I am, sitting in the same device in the safety of a wide, flat field, looking disapproving of the world. This was probably before I decided to roll down the basement stairs, bashing out my two new front teeth.
* Decided to play with the portable hair dryer while I was in the bathtub. Zzz. What was that? Zzzz. What was that? Zzzzz. Oh.
* Kidnapped by older neighbor kids, who stuffed me in a red wagon full of dead leaves and snow and hauled me down the block and left me there. OK, I probably wasn't close to death, but I was as terrified as though I was. (This is later that day, safe at home.)
* Had a fight with my brother, who ran away across the street. I dashed after him--and the car that was aimed right at me at 30 mph slammed on its brakes. My father saw the whole thing from the front porch, shouted us back into the house, and made us go upstairs and sit in a back bedroom. "I don't even want you looking out the window at the street," he said, and I could not imagine why he was so angry.
* A car pulled up as I walked along East Fourth Street on my way to the house of my friend, April Dann. The driver was a middle-aged man in a fedora. He said, "You want a ride downtown?" My heart beat faster. I needed to get away. I must not get in that car!
But that sense of survival was doing battle with the obedient side of me, the side that said I must politely do what adults asked of me. I said, "I'm not going downtown," and the man frowned and drove off.
Oh, how do children survive childhood?