(This is a re-submission of my last entry which apparently has been lost.)
My scariest day ever.
This story still scares me when I relate it even in my own mind, never mind to someone else. It’s not the worst thing that could happen to a person, but it was the scariest thing to happen to me. At least, the scariest thing that I can talk about here… (there are others).
I was 19. I had moved from my small town home into the big city of Boston and was living in a tiny “studio” apartment that was set up for nurses working at the Deaconess Hospital. All the other tenants in the building (which was a huge old brick building that was 4 stories high), were nurses except for me. I worked in medical records at Deaconess, and my “office” – the Medical Record Dept. – was a mere 100 or so steps from my apartment. All I had to do was roll out of bed, splash some water on my face, throw on my clothes and presto! I was at work in 5 minutes. Great commuting set-up!
At first I lived in this tiny apartment with a young woman whom I’d only met on the day I was interviewing for the job; she was interviewing, as well, for a kitchen job there. We got to talking, and she asked if I lived nearby, and I said no, I lived in Marblehead (about 18 miles north) and that I might be looking for a place to live in Boston soon. She said she lived just next door in a small apartment and if I wanted, I could look at it and be her roommate! I did look at it, and that weekend I moved in with her.
Well, long story shorter, we did not really get along that well, and she finally moved back home to Leominster, MA, and left me there with the apartment on my own. It only had two rooms and a bathroom, and I can’t remember what the rest was but it was back in 1968, so probably around $75-85/month or something. I lived there alone for a while and enjoyed it, but I wasn’t saving any money, so eventually I got another roommate.
Before the new roommate arrived, the “scariest day of my life” happened… while I lived alone there.
And this was a part of my life I am not proud of, so save your judgment of me, OK? I have not had a drop of alcohol since 1982!
But in 1967 I was a free person, away from home for the first time in my life. Somehow, and I have no idea how this happened that I could do this, but I learned that to get some alcohol, all I needed to do was to call up the local corner liquor store and asked for a bottle to be delivered to my door! I was 19 but I’m not sure if the drinking age was 18 then or 21. Anyway, I did this – had one bottle of something or other delivered to me, I paid the man for it, and away he went. Then I would proceed to drink it!
(One little note here: my then-boyfriend/future first husband, Bill, was on the other side of the world at this time fighting in Viet Nam in the U.S. Navy River Patrol Force, and I was alone and waiting for his return and not very happy about all that stress. He was in the thick of it, too.)
So one Friday night I did the bottle of alcohol thing and got kind of drunk. I did not have a car, and I walked or took the subway or bus everywhere I needed to go. So this one night I had been kind of lonely, maybe, and thinking of Bill — whatever, and I got high, as you do. Later in the evening, say around 11 or after, I (stupidly!) took only my apartment door key with me, and I went out into the Boston night. It was nice weather then and I didn’t need a coat or jacket. Just my key in my pocket – that was all I had on me.
I walked down the Riverway (going from the Boston/Brookline line down toward Fenway Park) which is a lovely green area to walk… I was singing to myself… walking along happily. I got down to Kenmore Square and continued walking on the sidewalk all the way down to Marlborough Street, which was a pretty homey-feeling street with lots of English style brick town homes lining the entire street.
By this time, it was late, maybe midnight or after. I just kept on walking, still feeling quite a buzz from the alcohol, when I spotted a man carrying a musical instrument of some kind in a case up ahead of me. I was playing a game of following him, far behind, but I just kept on going as long as he kept on walking. Then he went to cross the street and he stopped, while I kept on walking, getting closer and closer to him. When I got within hearing distance, he looked over at me and asked if I was following him! I had no inhibitions at this point, and I just said, well, yes I was! Then he came over and we talked for a couple of minutes, and he saw that I was a little loopy from the alcohol. He could have taken advantage of me easily… but he didn’t. He asked me if I would like to come in to his apartment, which was right there where we were standing, to have a cup of coffee or something… try to sober up a little bit. I said yes, and went in!
He was a perfect gentleman. He was a musician and had been playing at a “gig” that evening and had just finished up and was going home. He made me a nice cup of coffee and we chatted a little, and then he said I could sleep there on the sofa if I didn’t feel like walking all the way home. I agreed. He went into his own room and there I slept for a couple or three hours. More like passed out, really!
When I woke up, he was still asleep in his room, and I realized what had happened and felt quite stupid and foolish. I left quietly without waking him up. I walked slowly back up Marlborough Street, toward Kenmore Square so I could get onto the Riverway which would lead back to my apartment. I’d say it was a good 2-3 miles away.
Now comes the scary part.
Just before I got up to Fenway Park, I was across the street (on Beacon Street I believe), walking along on the sidewalk. It was very early in the a.m., about 4-ish, so there weren’t many people out driving around and no one on the streets but me! I’m walking along, when all of a sudden a souped-up car come screeching up from behind me, pulled up beside me and slowed down, and followed me along as I walked. There were 4 young (creepy looking) men in that car, they had the window rolled down in the rear, and they were laughing and asking me if I wanted a ride! I said no and kept on walking, trying not to look at them.
I was getting scared by this point.
They one guy said “Hey! You! Get in!”
I looked over at them, rolling alongside me, and the guy who yelled had a gun pointed at me! He said it again – “Get IN! Now!”
I froze. What to do?
And then, right at that second before I could make a move one way or the other, a police cruiser came speeding up to the creeps’ car and away they sped like a bat outta hell! The police, rather than chasing them down, stopped and got out and came over to me and asked what was going on. I was so scared I almost fell over. I kept saying “they had a gun pointed at me and wanted me to get in!”
The two policemen asked me my name and where I lived, asked if I had thought to call for a taxi at that late hour, and I told them all I had with me was my apartment door key! So after a good but friendly talking to about safety, etc., they piled me into their nice safe cruiser and drove me home to my apartment. They waited for me to get all the way in and up the 4 flights of stairs (no elevator in that building!) and I signaled them from inside that I was home and OK.
That was the scariest day of my life (that I can recount to you in this forum). Whenever I think of that day/night, when I acted so recklessly and stupidly, I see how close I came to being really in an end-of-life situation. If that cop car hadn’t come along, I would have ended up in some field somewhere pushing up daisies, no doubt.
Unfortunately, I didn’t learn my lesson until much later in life. But those stories are for another day.
So that’s my scary story.
How about you? Do you have a day like that in your life when fate had its scary way with you?
I was just one lucky girl on that early morning near Fenway Park…