Saturday, July 22, 2006

SSN Interviews Janice Erlbaum

On leaving home at fifteen...

Actually, I first left home at nine. I was living with my father in New Jersey for a few months, because my mother was busy with her re-marriage and her stepkids, and I ran away with another girl from my fourth-grade class. We packed our bags with extra food and our teddy bears and some stolen pocket change, and hit the road one day during school lunch. We didn't have a destination in mind; we just set off to find a new family. Because I'd been driven from New York to New Jersey so often, I was able to navigate us from our school to the New Jersey turnpike, which we entered, walking along the grassy embankments on the southbound side for a half mile or so until we encountered a tollbooth, and several uniformed police officers firmly descended upon us. We were reunited with our parents that afternoon. Of course, I made the same mistake again at fifteen - set off to find a new family, with no destination in mind. This time it took over a year to get back home. Thank god the police weren't involved.

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