With Halloween just around the corner (can you even believe it?!), I have been thinking about all the stuff that used to scare me when I was a kid. In case you’re interested, here were a few of the items on my Former Fear List.
1. Talking to someone I didn’t know. While my younger brother Johnny could strike up a conversation with anybody at any time, I was always diving headfirst into the lilac bushes so I didn’t have to make eye contact with strangers.
2. Being accidentally buried alive. This was a real phobia with me, which I acquired that summer I sat on my friend Wendy’s front porch, eating cookie dough and reading her brother Scott’s “Tales From the Crypt” comic books. Turns out people were always accidentally burying each other alive back in the olden days.
3. Discovering there was an escapee hiding under a blanket in the back seat of the car, which we didn’t realize until we were far away from home. This is why you should always check beneath blankets in your cars BEFORE pulling out of the driveway.
4. Hearing the principal announce that the Russians really WERE bombing us this time, which is why we had to crawl under our desks for protection like we did during all those Civil Air Patrol drills we’d practiced in class.
5. Playing with a Ouija board. Which I never did. Because I was afraid. In fact, I was afraid of all things supernatural, something I remembered after reading Peri Kinder’s awesome column in The Davis Clipper about her childhood fear of Satan. I was afraid of that bad boy, too, along with everything else that went bump in the night. My friends were too, which is why after I tripped and hit my head hard that one time on the pavement, my girlfriend ran into her house and gave me a Bible to clutch when I began behaving strangely. We thought I was possessed, not unlike Linda Blair in “The Exorcist.” Except, of course, my face didn’t turn green and I didn’t throw up on a priest.
6. Hanging out in graveyards. Actually, I never was afraid of graveyards and I’m still not, SO NEXT.
7. Being sent to the principal’s office. I used to be afraid of this. But then I got used to it in the fifth grade, SO NEXT.
8. Getting left behind at Knotts Berry Farm by my parents again. You know how parents are — always forgetting that they have 9-year-old daughters with them at Knotts Berry Farm. OK, it wasn’t really that bad. Not like the time when my friend Jen’s parents drove off and accidentally left her at a gas station. My parents and I somehow misplaced each other for about an hour. But then we were reunited and lived happily ever after.
9. Finishing dead last in a foot race. I did this in the first grade after spending seven months in bed with kidney disease. My atrophied muscles (Hey, thanks for that, Kidney Disease!) and I returned to school shortly before Field Day, which meant I was in the worst shape ever for the 50-yard dash. It took me FOREVER to cross the finish line. How long did it take me? By the time I crossed the finish line, the new school year had begun. By the time I crossed the finish line, my classmates were shouting, “Hey, Ann! We’re in the second grade now!”
Fast forward to October 2017. Do any of these things strike fear in my heart now? No. So what do I fear these days? Well, that’s another subject for another October.