Monday, July 27, 2009

5 Stories for Eisley

{Dear Eisley}
I have 5 stories to tell you. These are all true stories that actually happened to your mommy. They each have a message and deal with creeps, jerks, and grumps. Enjoy.

Story #1

4 or 5

Incident: My dad {your Pappa Erickson} took me and my best friend, Rachel, to Celebrity's. {If you aren't a Denver native, you probably don't know of Celebrity's. It was the coolest indoor pool with tons of huge water slides and an arcade, I'll never understand why they shut it down.} Dad got us started on a tiny indoor merry-go-round while he went to a nearby counter to buy tickets or something.

As I was riding I kept passing a man and his girlfriend. They were "bikers" with leather, tattoos, bandannas, etc. This did not intimidate my 4ish year old self. {Nor should it.}

"Hi!" I chirped at the man as my seat on the ride passed him.

He met my eyes and returned, "If you say another word to me I'm going to kidnap you!" His girlfriend laughed. I sat, frozen and terrified, until dad came back to collect us.

At that very moment a little bit of the child in me died and was replaced with the harsh reality that there are some scary people in this world. My parents had always referred to me as a "social butterfly" - but I remember this being the specific moment where I became decidedly more of a shy child. Looking back, I'm both annoyed with that jerk, but also with myself a bit for letting him scare me so much.

Moral of the Story:
Eisley, there are some pathetically grumpy people in this world, but don't let them rain on your parade, like I did.

Story #2

Age: 6 {first grade}

Incident: Recess was ending, I was making my way off the playground when a classmate, a little boy I didn't much care for, intercepted me. He proceeded, unsolicited and for no apparent reason, to preform karate moves towards me {perhaps to impress? or intimidate?} Although he didn't make any physical contact or actually hurt me, I remember being very perturbed when the sole of his shoe was kicked mere inches from my face. What the heck is this about??? I thought. When he finished his karate outburst, I said nothing, but reacted by following my heart:

And my heart told me to smack him as hard as I could across the face.

Next thing I know, he's shocked and cries out to the teacher. I glance over to see she is standing a few feet away. It was obvious she'd witnessed the whole thing. My gut wrenched. I knew I was in big trouble.

"Ms. Q! Heather just hit me!"

I braced myself, and waited for the punishment that was sure to come...

"I saw... Maybe you shouldn't have been bothering her." She replied.


The same teacher later wrote in my yearbook, "You were always one of my favorites. Don't tell anyone that!"

Aftermath: I have to say, while it's not nice to hit, that teacher helped me feel empowered at being able to stand up for myself.

Moral of the Story:
Eisley, you shouldn't hit people... {I'm supposed to say that, right?} but never let anyone else make you feel small or vulnerable. You don't have to take that sort of crap.

Story #3

Age: 12

Incident: I was walking home from school. To do this, I had to walk down the street and around the corner from the school, over a bridge {which crossed over the "Highline Canal"}, over a bike path, and onto my block. My house was on the other end of that block.

That day, just as I rounded the corner, where I faced the bridge and my own street, a man walked past along the Highline Canal path. He was wearing a knit hat and sunglasses. Suspicious looking, and he looked right at me.

My mother had prepared me for such moments. I immediately slowed down my pace, and watched from the corner of my eyes for him to pass along through the trees down his path. I walked slowly and waited. But when he got to the trees, out of the corner of my eye I saw him stop. I looked up to be sure. He was watching me through the trees - he was unaware that I was waiting for him to pass. He was waiting for me to come closer, it appeared.

At this age I still had no idea why people preyed on children. I just knew that they did. The Highline Canal was also a creepy place, too. Once I'd found women's underwear stuffed in some bushes. Between the trees, bridge, bushes, dry ditch - it just wasn't the sort of place you wanted to run into a creepy stranger.

Should I keep going?
I thought. Should I search my bag for the mace Santa had left in my stocking the previous Christmas? {Hehe, that Santa!} Instead, I made a good decision. I turned and ran. I ran as fast as I could. My backpack had never felt heavier.

I ran back to the school, winded and worried that I was being followed. I asked my teacher who was still there to give me a ride home.

Aftermath: I never walked home alone again. I told mom the story, and I kid you not - the next Sunday we saw the same suspicious character walking past our church, along the Highline Canal - with a ski cap and sunglasses on. Creepy.

I still shudder to think of what might have happened had I kept going, and told myself that probably nothing would happen. What sort of grown man stops in his tracks to watch a school girl cross a bridge???

Moral of the Story: Take all precautions necessary, and always be aware of your surroundings. Don't be afraid to run.

Story #4

Age: 14

Incident: It was my very first week of high school. I was the only one from my 8th grade class who continued on to Lutheran High. This means, I was friendless. A loner.

I was in Advanced English and it was the first class of the day. Right behind me, several boys who'd obviously been friends from their previous school chatted as the teacher handed out worksheets.

The boy behind me dropped his paper. I watched it land next to me in our aisle, and I glanced back at him and he looked at me.

"Pick it up." He demanded. No please or anything. His tone of voice wasn't even friendly.

In that moment, the words of my sister, a senior, flashed through my head. In preparing me for high school she had given me much advice and had specifically said, "Don't let any boys push you around."

And so I didn't.

"Why don't you get off your own lazy butt and pick it up?" I retorted.

The guys around him did that stupid high schoolish, "Oooooh!" thing. But I have to admit, I was proud of myself. I was desperate for friends & people to like me... but not that desperate.

Unfortunately around this time I also developed a bad habit of scowling in public so that people would be intimidated and not mess with me. While I'm glad I established myself early on in high school as a girl who had a backbone, I also realize I didn't need to be as defensive as I was.

Moral of the Story: You don't have to be a b****, but always stand up for yourself nonetheless. And like Auntie Bea taught me, don't let the boys push you around! Often the nicey nice girls who want everyone to like them are the ones who end up getting walked all over. Friends who ask you to sacrifice your self-worth are not friends after all.

Story #5 {This one is a real doozy!}

Age: 18

Incident: My favorite classes in college were my theatre courses. I just ate it all up. But I was in a bind at the end of the first semester for my freshman year in college: I needed to attend & review so many professionally produced shows as a final assignment. My RA, hearing I was desperate, told me she had a good friend {a resident 1 floor below me in my same dorm} who was looking for someone to use his extra ticket for a one-person show in Seattle the next week.

The RA assured me this was a nice guy and a friend of hers. I asked around a bit, too. He was in his third year, seemed nice enough. So when he offered to take me with him, and told me his Godparents were going too - they had bought the tickets and the extra was for his now ex-girlfriend, I agreed. I asked your father, my fiance at the time, if he didn't mind and he didn't - so I agreed to go. This guy was good looking enough, Italian descent, I'll call him "Luigi". {Don't joke, his real name was seriously very Italian like "Luigi"}. Nothing against Italians, but I've never been one for the "tall, dark, & handsome" types. He was no threat to your father.

In hindsight, however, this really wasn't a great decision on my part...

But at the time it seemed simple enough: drive 45 minutes to Seattle, watch the show, drive home. We could make small talk, I could deal with that. I needed this for my theatre class, after all!

The night started out okay enough, but along the way we had to stop at his parents house to trade cars. I met his mother. It became obvious to me very quickly that she assumed I was a romantic conquest of Luigi's. She also let me know it was very disappointing I was Lutheran, as opposed to a "good Catholic girl" like she preferred.

I honestly felt bad for Luigi at this point, I assumed he would be embarrassed at his mom. But he didn't mention it so neither did I. Soon enough, we were back on I-5 headed towards downtown Seattle.

A few minutes before arriving at our destination, Luigi makes the following request, "Would you mind pretending you're my girlfriend so that my Godparents don't ask questions and bug me about it?"


"Uhhhhh........... okay?" This is the point where I seriously began to regret ever meeting this guy. He was also well aware that I was not only dating someone, but engaged to be married.

So we meet up with the Godparents, also proud Italians, and nice people. Still, this was terribly awkward for me. Luckily I didn't have to talk much to them because we were just in time for the show which was about to start.

It was a one-person performance, a sort of memoir of her childhood called The Sugar Plum Fairy. It was awesome.

But totally not worth what I had to put up with that night.

When the show was over, I was relieved and anxious to get home to the dorms. I found myself wondering what Justin, your father, was doing. I began to miss him terribly. But the Godparents had other plans, they proposed we go out to eat at a nearby Chinese restaurant so that they can get to know me better. Luigi insists on holding my hand on the walk there. Suddenly I'm in a performance of my own, and against my wishes, to play the role of Luigi's new girlfriend. This was so not what I'd signed up for. But I was with strangers, dependent on a ride home, and eager to keep the evening pleasant enough - so in my mind I had no choice but to play along.

Luckily the Godparents didn't ask too many personal questions, although I have to say - I did make a good impression on them. By the end of dinner I'd earned some approving winks. And also admiring glances from Luigi, who was appearing to be more convinced by my "acting" than I was comfortable with.

Finally - after finishing off with coconut ice cream the Godparents insisted on - dinner was over, I hugged the Godparents {who informed me they were looking foward to seeing me again - ha!} and we said goodbye and headed back to the car. We eventually got back on the road, but not before Luigi insisted on stopping at a little shop to buy me salt water taffy. Okay... I was beginning to feel like a bit of a victim. Resentful, and doing what I had to do to "survive" the night.

Eisley, I have never missed your daddy more than I was missing him that night. This creep was doing a great job of reminding me how safe and loved I felt in your daddy's arms. The car ride back was the most awkward part of the evening. Luigi began making all sorts of unnerving comments I had to deal with:

"I really like you."

"I think we could be a really good match."

After the hundredth time of insisting I was happily engaged he asked, "But are you sure you're really happy with him?" {No, stupid, I just recently agreed to marry him anyway though...???}

If this had been some guy hitting on me at a mall or something, I would have easily have told him to back off and think again. But this was a guy I barely knew, and I was relying on him to take me home safely, so I had to watch what I said and be nice. Ugh. Exactly the sort of situation a girl should never get herself into...

I seem to recall at some point, after assuring him once again that I wasn't interested, suggesting my dorm mate as a possible date - she was single and had mentioned thinking he was cute. He was immediately interested. At this point, a bit of the pressure was removed from me, but I was flooded with questions on her. How easily your attentions can be diverted, Luigi!

Finally I arrived back safely at my dorm and got rid of him as quickly as I could. Right away, I found my girlfriends & roommate {times like this require immediate dishing to a good girlfriend or two, you know}. I told them the whole story, how creepy he had been, how he had forced me to pretend to his Godparents that I was his girlfriend, how his mother had disapproved of my Protestanism...

And we went on a mission that very night. We headed down to lower campus, to see a girl one of us knew - she was one of Luigi's ex-girlfriends. We wanted to see what this guy's deal was. Who the heck did he think he was?

What we found out that night was that Luigi thought of himself as quite the player. It was a known fact on campus, apparently, that this big-headed Italian put a glow-in-the-dark star on his ceiling for every freshman virgin he, ahem, "deflowered." Supposedly he had a fair number of stars, too. LAME.

Luigi showed up at my dorm door a few times that week. Each time I'd hide in my room, pretending I wasn't there, and glaring out the peep hole at him. I'd avoid him like the plague. Eventually, the slow-witted Italian got the message and left me alone. I also never trusted my RA's advice after that.

And of course, I was super clingy to your daddy for a while. Sweet, disarming, safe, un-creepy Justin. Look for a guy like your daddy, Eisley. Not one that keeps notches on his bedpost... the nerve!

Aftermath: I avoid such situations. I say, "no thanks", to the overly helpful - even if they're being really nice, sometimes you don't want the baggage that comes with it.

Moral of the Story:
It's never good to have to rely on anyone, who isn't a loved one or very good friend, for anything. Never associate with a Luigi!

So, Eisley, I hope you have learned a little about being strong & standing up for yourself in this world. Never be afraid to put your foot down, and always have self-respect.

Love Always,


  1. I totally remember that creep AND the night you came back from Seattle. Gross!

  2. Wasn't that weird??? What a freak...

  3. The fact that Luigi was a creep was entirely his fault, dear, and not even a little bit yours.

  4. ....? I didn't say it was.

    My point in Story 5 is that it was unwise of myself to get into such a situation with a stranger. I should have researched his character better and saved myself the trouble. That's all.

  5. Hmm I suffered the consquence of Luigi. I remember going to your dorm one night wanting to find out if you or Cara were home... and I knocked and knocked...and no one answered... and I can't remember why but I stuck around and eventually you opened the door... and I was confused and you explained to me the story... Man good 'ol times at the Lutedome

  6. You remember that? Crazy. Did you ever meet M- ... I mean LUIGI?