Yesterday, while Mommy Katelyn and Grandma Betsy were busy in the kitchen getting ready for an upcoming family party, Daddy Brendan offered to go buy Kentucky Fried Chicken for supper. He left out of the front door and unbeknownst to the rest of us, Avery followed soon after. Brendan didn’t see her leave, and neither did anybody else. Avery took her minky blanket and wandered around the corner out of our cul-de-saq. Fortunately, a woman and her two teenaged daughters were driving by and saw Avery all by herself. They stopped and got out. The girls sat with Avery on the grass while their mother knocked on a few of the neighbors’ doors. No one recognized Avery, so the lady called the police.
Katelyn was putting something away in the hall when she noticed that the front door was wide open. She immediately sensed that Avery had escaped. She ran outside calling her name and I ran around in the house looking for her in her usual locations. The kids in the basement said that she was not with them. So, Katelyn and I quickly put on our shoes and determined to search the neighborhood. Katelyn went one way and I went the other.
When I rounded the corner onto the main street, I noticed a worried-looking woman on her cell-phone pacing the sidewalk. I approached her and asked if she had seen a little girl. She noticed me at the same time and asked if I had lost a little girl. Then I noticed Avery sitting happily with the two teenagers in the shade on the grass. She seemed happy to be making friends with the two girls. I explained that we had been looking for her, and the woman said that she needed my name and address for the police who she was talking to on the phone. Just as we were talking, two police cars drove up. I told them that we had been searching for my little granddaughter. A relieved Katelyn soon joined us. We thanked the woman, her daughters and the police and then walked home. Poor Katelyn! It took her a while to decompress after such a close call!
Katelyn had spent some time gathering shells along the beach and then noticed that none of her family was around. She decided to go up to a young Naval Officer in uniform and his girlfriend. He looked like a policeman to her. She told him that she couldn’t find her family. The couple called the police and they came and took Katelyn to the Monterey Police Station. (This was in the days before cell phones.) Katelyn actually knew her name and her parent’s names. They were able to find the home phone number and kept calling it for two hours.
Ellis walked into the house as the phone was ringing. When he answered it, the policeman asked if he was missing a daughter. He said that he didn’t think so. He said that she was in his wife’s car and we had been sightseeing all afternoon. The policeman explained that a little girl named Katelyn said that she had been left on the beach. I came in the house just then and was horrified to learn that we had left Katelyn! Ellis and I went quickly to pick her up at the police station. Although Katelyn had been quickly taken care of, she was traumatized that her family had left her. Even now, years later, she remembers that awful feeling of being lost.
My mother was frantically looking for me --- in the house, in the yard, at the neighbors’, up and down the block. Finally, she called the police. “Does she have a dog with her?” the police dispatch officer asked. “Yes!” “We have her here. You can come pick her up.”
When my mother got to the Police Station, she saw me sitting on the counter with a donut in one hand and a lollipop in the other. When I saw her, I said, “Hi, Mommy.” The policemen said that I had never cried once. They explained that they had asked me what my name was. I told them “Betsy Lee.” They then asked, “Betsy Lee what, little girl?” I told them, “Betsy Lee.” Then they asked, “What’s your mommy’s name?” “Mommy.” What’s your daddy’s name?" “Daddy.” They were a little embarrassed when my mother told them that “Lee” was our last name. They apologized profusely saying that they could have tracked down our phone number if they had only realized. Anyway, I was safe. My mother had been traumatized, but I had had a lovely day out and had gotten two treats to boot! But the joke ever after was that my name was “Betsy Lee What-Little-Girl.”
Like mother, like daughter – three times lost,
but thankfully, all found, safe and sound!