Never Talk to Strangers
I had a very unique childhood. My mother and father were divorced before I turned two. I was born in Cleveland, Ohio, but after my mom divorced my dad she moved to Elk, Washington, which is a small town about 20 miles from Spokane. Elk, Washington is a very rural town with less than 4,000 residents. We lived in Elk until I was about 7 and then moved to a neighboring town called Chattaroy, which has just over 5,000 residents to date. To say the least...I was a country girl. We lived in a mobile home/manufactured home/trailer home on 10 acres. We didn’t even have a street address.
Our address was a Rural Route address. On the other spectrum my paternal grandparents lived in a wealthy community outside of Cleveland, Ohio called Shaker Heights. Every summer I would visit my grandparents and stay in (to me) their huge mansion. This was the complete opposite life that I was used to, but it also gave me such a well-rounded background. I was able to see both sides of how people live. The reason I prefaced this story with my background is because I wanted to put my experience in perspective. I grew up in a town where everyone knew everyone and I never felt unsafe.
One year my grandparents visited us in Spokane. Because my grandparents were “well off” they stayed at the nicest hotel in Spokane called the Davenport Hotel. I felt so “fancy” staying in that hotel. I was 6 years old and my mom let me wander around the lobby by myself (again small town attitude). While I was walking around admiring all of the glamour, a man approached me and asked me to come sit on his lap. I, while hesitating, sat with him. This is when he started drilling me with questions. “Where was I from?” “Where did I live?” “Where was my mom?” “Would I go for a ride with him?” With that question, I ran. I am so fortunate that I dodged a potentially horrible situation and that I was able to run.