Friday, July 15, 2005
About the Time I Ran Away from Home

It's a slow Friday afternoon at work; so I'm going to tell you the story of Dave, or about the time I ran away from home.

It was July of '77 - I was your typical rebellious 14 year old. My parents were not thrilled about a new friend of mine, Liz. Her background was very different than mine and I think that really scared my parents. My parents were also very strict with me, not because of anything I had done, but because one of my older sisters was very wild and they didnt want me being like that.

By that summer I had already discovered pot, boys and cigarettes. And then my parents discovered my discoveries. I was busted for smoking a cigarette [btw, both my parents smoked so the hyprocisy was not lost on me]. The punishment: I was banned from seeing all my [new] friends. I did not, and still do not, like being told what to do. So I plotted my escape. And on the evening of July 19 snuck out of our pool club and made my way to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in NYC. My destination: Los Angeles.

I was waiting on the line, trying to lay low, when I noticed this really cute guy ahead of me on line. I was 14 and had no fear so I sat down next to him on the bus and started talking. He had the bluest of blue eyes and was, in the lexicon of the day, a total babe. His name was Dave Youmans, 19, from Jackson, NJ and headed to L.A. to start a new life. Of course, I said I was 18 and left out the runaway part. For the next 3 days we shared our seats & our lives. I had to cop to the runaway part, since mid-way across the country the cops came on the bus w/my pic (how embarrasing, my 8th grade graduation pic). Dave, and two other girls I befriended totally covered for me. I was on the greatest adventure of my young life. I had never seen the country before and to be on the road, looking at the rolling waves of corn and all the new and different sights, was life-changing. I had no plan other than to get to L.A.. I did not spend one minute worrying about what would come next.
I was only 14, but I felt myself falling in love: with the U.S. and with Dave. I had had crushes before but never felt anything like this.

On the 3rd day we entered California. I didn't want this experience to end. But soon it would. I had to start thinking about what would come next. Dave asked me what my plans were and did I want to stay with him? I told him no. I still don't know why I said that, because I did want to stay with him. We get to L.A. and are standing by the stairs -- again, he asked, do you want to come with me? And again, I said no. He told me to "take it easy" and was gone. That was the last time I saw Dave.

Whenever I hear "Helplessly Hoping" by CSNY I think of that time.

Helplessly hoping her harlequin hovers nearby
Awaiting a word
Gasping at glimpses of gentle true spirit he runs
Wishing he could fly
Only to trip at the sound of goodbye

Wordlessly watching he waits by the window and wonders
At the empty place inside
Heartlessly helping himself to her bad dreams he worries
Did he hear a good-bye?
Or even hello?

They are one person
They are two alone
They are three together
They are for each other

Stand by the stairway you'll see something certain to tell you
Confusion has its cost
Love isn't lying it's loose in a lady who lingers
Saying she is lost
And choking on hello

They are one person
They are two alone
They are three together
They are for each other

So Dave is gone and reality sets in. I was in L.A. with no money and no place to go. I was 14. I had 2 choices: turn myself in or become a hooker. I had a pen-pal, Laura, who lived in L.A. so I got her phone # and called her. Her mom, who had been contacted by my parents, came and got me. A few weeks later I returned home.

A few months later I wrote a letter expressing my feeling for him and addressed it to only Dave Youmans, General Post Office, Jackson, NJ. And do you know what? It got to him. I still can't explain it. He had just returned from CA. and from time to time he would call me. I would answer the phone and hear his voice and I would be the happiest girl in the world. It still makes me happy just thinking about it. Several years later he joined the army, I moved on and we lost touch. I've tried to find him from time to time but really, what would I say? I will always wonder what would've been if I had just said yes.


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Name: Lisa Ann
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