Tired of being treated less than my sisters, I decided to run away. I went to bed fully clothed, my hobo bag packed and hiding under my bed. I lay there until the house sang with soft snores, then I slipped stealth mode out of bed and down the hallway to the front door. A creaky floor board ratted me out and my mother woke up instantly. She sent me back to bed with a severe scolding.
I was nine.
My grandmother smoked Lucky Strikes, and my dad “enjoyed” a cigar every once in a while. Curious about its attraction, I snuck cigarettes and smoked them outside, out of sight from the grownups. Daddy caught me practicing smoke circles one evening and forced me to join him in an after-dinner cigar. He taught me how to prepare it, light it, and how to hold the smoke in my mouth. I never did that again.
I was eleven.
I tossed my long hair around in a wide circle, arms waving, my bare feet stomping out the beat. A swat on the behind interrupted my tribal dance in mid frenzy. With a horrified look on her face, my mom turned off the record player and ordered me never to do that again.
I was twelve.
I lured my cute neighbor behind his garage and seduced him into giving me a kiss. It was stale, sloppy, and smoochy, definitely not worth the reprimand Dad administered when he found us in our illicit embrace. He ordered me inside and Dad talked to me about my wild streak, something he and Mom expected from my older brother but not from me, then he doled out my sentence – all for my own good - I could not date until I turned fifteen, and, even then, it would be with my brother along as a chaperone.
I was thirteen.