It was a Sunday when the police came. Daddy answered the knock at the door because we’d seen the lights flashing from the living room windows and knew it was them. Mommy held our hands, “Don’t worry girls, your father will take care of this.” My little sister Cat and me stood with her in the hall, listening to the police tell Daddy that he had to go with them.
“What am I under arrest for?” Daddy’s voice had the same strong timber it always had. He wasn’t afraid, I could tell.
But the policeman’s voice sounded impatient, almost mean and my chest started to hurt. “Mr. Buie, you must come with us.”
Daddy insisted, “First tell me what I’m under arrest for.”
The policeman shouted, “Now you’re under arrest for resisting arrest.”
Mommy pulled us with her when she ran to the door, and we stood watching as one of the policemen dragged Daddy down our front steps toward their car, and held him while the other put something on his wrists behind his back. When Daddy demanded again to know why they’d arrested him, the other policeman yanked him toward the open car door and ripped his sweater right at the shoulder. I started crying. Cat did too. Mommy yelled at them. Daddy looked back at us as one of the policemen pushed down on his head to get him into the car. Daddy didn’t look upset. He looked angry. “Call the lawyer and come get me out,” he said to Mommy.
“Of course. We’ll be right there.”
Mommy gathered us back inside, knelt down and gave us both hugs. “Now girls, I have to call Uncle Bob to meet us so I want you to hop in the car, and when I’m done, we’ll go get Daddy back.”
In the car, me and Cat sat holding hands waiting on Mommy. I didn’t want to go to the police station. It was bad enough two policemen had dragged Daddy away, I couldn’t imagine how we could get him back from a whole building full of them.
“Are you scared?” Cat asked me.
I nodded and looked at her. We both had tears on our faces. Cat wiped hers off and said, “Mommy’ll get him back.”
“Uncle Bob will help her.”
Mommy jumped in the car right then. She backed the car out and we zoomed off to rescue Daddy.
Thirty years later talking to my mother about that incident, she said she’d never understood why I’d always been fearful about stepping outside of my safety zone. I’d done just that numerous times, including now and the reason I'd called her. I am a writer. I was in a doubting crisis, LOL. (Those of you who are also writers perhaps understand about fear and self confidence, and why I might have too much of the former and not enough of the latter!)
I said, “I think somehow during that experience with Dad and the cops, my little brain decided that if those men had power over someone as strong as Dad, I didn’t want to be noticed by them in any way and so learned to hide whenever I felt threatened.”
“But Lisa, don’t you remember getting him out? We did that very thing a few hours later. We won that battle.” Genuinely perplexed Mom didn’t understand.
“I don’t remember anything else but them taking him away. I know we got him back. I just don’t remember anything else.”
“Through the eyes of a child…” my mother said. “I’m sorry you were so scared. I’m sorry I didn’t know how frightened you were.”
“I’ve always been fearful.”
“Yet it hasn’t stopped you from doing things you thought you could do.”
“Yes and no. Some things I’ve done because I wasn’t afraid of doing them at the time, like going to Europe alone. But finishing college? Well, I didn’t think I was smart enough to do that.”
“You’re smart enough to have finished five novels!” I smiled at her righteous-mommy-tone and immediately wanted to negate her statement by saying yeah, written, not published. But I didn’t. Instead I said,
“That’s why I called you, Mom. You always know what to say.”
Footnote: Loosely based on a true story. My father WAS arrested, twice (!) but after the election that he had just won. Friends coming for a dinner at our house were stopped in our front yard by "plain-clothed" police for "not stopping long enough" at a stop sign on the way to our house. My father went out to ask what had happened and why they were being so rough with our friend and the police, who wouldn't show any ID, got angry and arrested him for interfering. A few weeks later we were out on a family picnic on some land near a park. As we napped after eating, cops came up with guns and arrested Dad, again, this time for trespassing. Both cases were dropped. The first cops couldn't agree on their reasons for arresting my dad in his own front yard, and the trespassing charge was dropped because the cops were out of their jurisdiction and there were no signs to say we shouldn't be there. A reporter brought both events into the limelight and the persecution disappeared... Oh and, they really did rip my dad's sweater!
Photos by Buie-Collard
Photos by Buie-Collard
Hi Lisa .. what a frightening time for a child and I can see why the fear held you for so long. Extraordinary situation/s ... and very unpleasant all round ... I haven't been arrested, but have been questioned about something that I didn't do, because someone else was a bully ... very unfair and very stressful. As tiny child .. this is a great tale for "Through the Eyes of a Child" ... sad ... but you're strong like your parents ... and will overcome the road to publishing.ReplyDelete
France sounds a great theme for the A-Z .. see you there .. cheers Hilary
I love hearing from you always Hilary. You lift me up! It was good talking with my mother about it. She lifts me up too! Looking forward to seeing what you blog about on A to Z soon!Delete
Lisa, an excellent story. I know full well that incidents like that can stay forever in a child's mind. I saw a 'klan' cross burning once at night in the distance. That image has never left my mind as being indicative of man's inhumanity to man.ReplyDelete
I'm glad I've never seen a Klan cross burning except in films or photos. As Maria Montessori wrote, A child's mind is a sponge. It can't tell the difference between water and acid. It absorbs everything. Thanks for coming by and commenting!Delete
Forgot to say I'll be by to check on your France posts, for sure. It's one of my favorite places. . .Delete
Powerful story, Lisa. I was moved by the depth of love within the family unit. Despite the fear, the child understood that Mum would make things all OK. Very insightful. And, Lisa, listen to your mum, she's right! Keep writing, keep dreaming. Don't give up. It's not the publishing that is important. Honestly. Writing is a gift.ReplyDelete
Lisa, as always, riveting! How scary those arrests must have been seen through the eyes of a child. And the repercussions in your adult life shows how deeply the fear entrenched itself. There's nothing like a true story to resonate with readers. Thanks for filling us in on the story behind the story.ReplyDelete
With a theme like 'France' I'll be visiting you. I'm not participating this year, but will be visiting my blogger friends with interesting themes. I won't visit every day, but will come over and read a week's worth when I can.
Thanks for being an enthusiastic participant in WEP. You always come up with something heartfelt. I hope you can slip April Fool in somewhere during the A-Z. It is a completely open prompt with the A-Z in mind.
Have a crazy month!
Wow, well told! I totally bought it, really wanted to know what the charge was. Nicely done.ReplyDelete
Wow, those are some memorable moments. ;) My dad has been in jail for things he actually did do, but they were only ever traffic infringements. He would stay overnight rather than pay the fine, and he was really disappointed they didn't let him take his camera with him (he's a photographer). :PReplyDelete
A great interpretation of the prompt, must have been beyond frightening for a child! The residues of childhood trauma are hard to get rid of, no wonder its persisted in some ways. Thanks for sharing a bit of your life. Enjoyed it.
I am participating in the A-Z, your theme sounds seriously cool!
Best of luck,
I like the child-like voice you have in the memory part of the story. Very nicely done. :-)ReplyDelete
Hi Lisa, this incident is so strongly written that I was there with you. I'm glad the issues were resolved and you have a loving family around you to help each out in difficult circumstances. I'm hoping to do the A-Z as well - just got to find time, oh and a theme.ReplyDelete
HI Lisa, I can totally relate to your story. I am happy that you family always stuck together.ReplyDelete
Truth always adds depth to fiction. Good piece.ReplyDelete