Thursday, December 4, 2008

Five Alarm Fire

"When you remember events/times in your life, do you remember the details or just snippets or what?" -Lindsey

When I remember things from my life, I usually remember them generally, however there are some events that I remember in great detail.  Those events are the ones that have stuck with me the longest, and there's usually a reason that I remember them in great detail.  For example - the memory that I have of a grade school friend sticking up for me, I can remember most of the details.  However, I can barely remember my birthday party from that year, or what I got for Christmas that year.  Or what it was like for me to be going to a different school than my sister for the first time in our lives.  I have one other memory from that time period (age 5-6) that is one of the clearest ones I have.  

If you'll recall - I have a strange fear of very loud, persistent noises.  It's not really a fear anymore, but it used to be.  I've also written about how I used to be terrified of those red fire alarm boxes on the walls in my elementary school.  It would literally take my breath away whenever I saw a kid touching those, and I would beg and plead in my mind for them to not set off the alarm.  Whenever I knew that there was going to be a scheduled fire drill, I would do anything to get out of school.  Especially at my secondary elementary school- those alarms were very shrill and even if I knew it was coming, I would literally jump when it went off.

I believe that this is all because of an experience I had when I was 6 years old.  This story is completely true, and I remember almost every detail about it.  For many years, I attended a daycare center in the summers with my sister.  My mother really trusted the people that worked there, and I actually went to kindergarten there as well.  Kelsey and I formed really amazing bonds with the people who worked there, and we loved them a lot.  One day, during the summer that I was 6, we had "Sprinkler Day".  We all brought our bathing suits and sunscreen, and spent the afternoon running around in the sprinklers, cooling off from the heat.  Afterwards, we took turns in the bathroom changing back into our clothes.  When it was my turn, I went into the bathroom and shut the door.  I stripped off my wet, clingy suit and stepped out of it.  At that moment, a piercing sound filled the daycare center, and I realized that it was the fire alarm.  At that time, all that I knew was that if you heard the fire alarm you were supposed to walk to the back door as quickly as possible, go back to the fence outside, and stand in a line against the fence.  So, thinking that I was in great danger and that there was a fire in the building, I threw open the door and began walking to the door.  Completely naked.  I followed the mass of other children to the back fence, and stood there with my little butt cheeks pressed against the chain links.  
Everyone was laughing, because I wasn't wearing any clothes, but one girl, Amanda Vietnan, took it to another level and began to tease me.  She was a year older than me - a big 7 year old. She stood over me, laughing and yelling, "Everybody look!  It's the naked show!  Kristen's doing a naked show!"  Over and over, she taunted.  I started to cry, and crouched down in the grass with my arms around my knees.  A daycare worker realized what was going on and she ran over to me with a sheet that she had pulled off of a crib.  She wrapped me up and carried me away from the rest of the kids.  When it was time to go back inside, she brought me to the director's office.  (Her name was Miss Kim!).  They both sat me down and told me that if that ever happened again, I was to grab my towel and come out with a towel wrapped around me.  Or, I could call for help and someone would help me quickly put on some clothes.  

After that day, I was terrified of fire alarms.  Even though it wasn't the alarm that had upset me in the first place!


lindsey said...

aww! poor little girl kristen. that's so mean.

Emmers said...

every time i hear this story it makes me want to run up and punch that girl in the face! but gosh you are adorable kristen!