Is there anything you won’t tell?

Today is the first day I’ve had to wear a winter jacket here in New England. My jackets and coats are all stored very nicely in a closet in my downstairs hallway… a little closet carved out beneath my front staircase. I also have scarves and mittens and gloves and hats and boots in there, but today a jacket seemed to be the only necessity.

I don’t know about you, but I love digging out my winter jackets. It’s like they wait for this day, too. Sometimes they need a little shake, a bit of a spiff… but for the most part, they are just waiting for me to open that closet door. So as I was saying hello to them, I had this thought of a winter jacket from a very long time ago, and I couldn’t help but smile. And then I thought to myself, “Would I actually tell my grandchildren this story about my favorite winter jacket?” I mean, I never told my own kids… for fear of them using it against me…

Oh, heck. Here goes. (I’ll just have to make sure that I keep a really close eye on each of my 9 grandchildren.)

I was 12 years old. I lived in New Hampshire. I was interested in boys. Maybe I should stop here.

Nah. It was Halloween night. It was cold. Very, very cold. A bunch of us 7th graders had decided to go trick-or-treating together. My parents were okay with the idea because of the “bunch” factor. Well, they were okay with the idea if I promised to wear my old, warm winter jacket under my witch costume. But I was way too cool for an old winter jacket.  So I put on my brand new one.  I lived in a little town with beautiful meadows and hills. And woods. If you can sing “over the meadow and through the woods”… la lalala la… you’ll get the idyllic picture. The woods would become the biggest detail in my story that, on second thought, I may never tell my grandchildren.

Well, we all went trick-or-treating. In the dark. The whole bunch of us. Of course, there were the door-answerers who commented, “Aren’t you a little old to be trick-or-treating?” But that was the most fun of all to a bunch of 7th graders! To cover as much ground as possible, we also decided to cut through the woods. Now, I was specifically told by my parents to NOT GO THROUGH THE WOODS. That was their second rule on this early 1960’s dark Halloween night. But “DO NOT GO THROUGH THE WOODS” quickly took second place to the possibility of being with (I still remember his name) Blake in the woods on this dark Halloween night.

My heart was racing. With fear of my parents? NO. With the possibility of my first kiss? YES. So into the woods we all headed, Blake and me last. He reached out to hold my hand. I turned to look at him as we walked. Then it happened. The sound. The rip ripping through the dark. I had walked right into a patch of briars. My costume. And MY JACKET. MY NEW JACKET. Ripped from the shoulder to the elbow.

Oh, God. The first kiss? Didn’t happen. The panic? Overwhelming. I turned and ran from those New Hampshire woods with the fear of Halloween ghosts and goblins and devils. Fear of my parents’ reaction.

Well, the fear was founded. I couldn’t explain about the possible first kiss. No way. (Sorry, Mom, if you are reading this today and just finding out.) But the ripped brand new winter jacket in the briars in the forbidden woods in the dark? I had to tell them. And I was appropriately grounded for… well, a very long time.

Now… do you have a story of disobedience from your past that is better left from your children and/or grandchildren in the recesses of your memories? Ah, c’mon. Do tell.

(As for the first kiss… some other time. Maybe!)

As for today, I am so enjoying the warmth, and memories, of my cozy winter jacket.

Is there anything you won’t tell? was last modified: February 9th, 2010 by Sharon Couto
SHOWHIDE Comments (12)
  1. As I sit in my office reading this post, I am reminded about just how great of a writer you are. I couldn’t wait to get to the next word or the next sentence. Great story!
    But come on Honey… I really, really want to hear the first kiss story…or do I?

  2. Great story!!!!
    I can’t say that I feel the same today about winter jacket ! my try mine and being 29 weeks pregnant and all I don’t fit in it anymore and it’s freezing outside!!!!!

    I don’t really feel like buying a new one just for a few months cause this baby will be coming out LOL!!!! I’ll try warm sweater underneath!

  3. Two days before my 16th birthday, I really wanted my car to be ready for the big day. I persuaded my mom to let my boyfriend, who already had his license, drive me to the car wash up the street, on the condition that I was not to get behind the wheel. Absolutely not. Under no circumstances.

    We went, we washed, we waxed . . . and I decided to drive home. My boyfriend hesitated, but it was less than a mile to my house, and we only had one 100 yard stretch on a main road before we would be safely in the residential streets of my neighborhood.

    The only problem was that the 100 yard stretch involved a left turn of dubious legality. We were doing this during half-time of a Super Bowl, so there were literally no other cars on the road (come to think of it, I’m not sure why my football playing–now football coaching–boyfriend even agreed to go with me). I made the turn and pulled up to the stoplight to turn into my neighborhood. As I waited for the light to turn green, I glanced in the rear view mirror. Oh, to have had a picture of my expression when I saw the police car with its lights ablaze.

    To this day, I have no idea where he came from. I don’t remember a word the man said, only the “I told you so” look on my boyfriend’s face as I meekly accepted my very first ticket.

    My mom took it better than I expected, and I don’t think she even grounded me. I think she could tell from the look on my face that I had learned my lesson–and I had. I never again did anything that she flat out told me not to do.

    My dad went with me to traffic court a few months later, where the judge dismissed the ticket for violation of my learner’s permit since I had turned sixteen before my appearance in court but ordered me to pay the fine for the illegal turn. I got my first after-school job so that I could pay my dad back.

  4. That is a great story, and you tell it so well! I have no great stories. Sorry. Sometimes I feel like my mind is swiss cheese. There are big gaps of time missing. In fact, the other day, I was reconnecting with a friend and she was talking about her son’s baby shower. I asked her whether it was before they moved to Michigan or not, and she looked at me like I was nuts. Apparently I was there, and in all the pictures. I don’t remember it. At all! Very scary.

  5. Oh, I loved this story! I felt like I was right there, and I can so see any 12 year old girl doing the same thing you did.
    My disobedience story involves a 6th grade dance. My parents were chaperoning (the horror!), and even though I knew this, my friends and I still got it in our heads that it’d be a good idea to body surf off the bleachers. We grouped up to catch a relatively small boy, and right as he was about to jump, my parents came running over to break it up. My mom still tells this story to people by saying, “And OF COURSE, who is right in the middle of this group but my daughter!”
    Suffice to say, I never attempted the body surfing again.

  6. I am the same way – I love the first sweater, the first time I have to wear socks, the first time I have to wear my winter coat, or my in between coat..it’s comfy

  7. My story is short and sweet:

    My mom tried to feed me shark for dinner.
    I refused, against my moral compass.
    She sent me to bed with no Little House on the Prairie.

    Fast forward 6 years.
    “It’s swordfish!”
    *chomp*
    “Just kidding, it’s shark.”

  8. We have a lot of those don’t tell stories. We have even more that we have told my mom recently and to see her reaction is hysterical! Last Thanksgiving she told my sister (29) and I (26) that we were grounded. Hello?…I don’t even live with you anymore, but if you’d like to make me sit in my room for a week without my kids, please do!

  9. Oh Sharon, your stories are the best. I would say that the thought of a kiss was worth the rip. It’s funny cause this morning, I had to get out my jacket also. The only story that comes to mind is actually when I was an adult and was outside of a church during a night service time and a friend boosted me up to see our friend sitting in a pew to make a face at her and my foot slipped and crashed thru a glass basement window and the usher came running out of the church to ask if I was ok. He thought I slipped…oops! I did ask forgiveness from God! This is actually a story that I kept from my kids…

Is there anything you won’t tell? was last modified: February 9th, 2010 by Sharon Couto