I was feeling particularly grown up when I got up to go to the bathroom by myself. Laid the toilet paper on the seat as my mother had taught us to do and sat down to pee.
On the way back I couldn’t find my seat. In a panic I walked up and down the aisle, searching the rows, looking at the grownups’ heads for my grandparents. Finally, I found them just where I had left them, unconcerned and looking upward, my grandmother’s silver gray hair illuminated by the light from the screen. With vast relief I sat down next to them in the dark theater to resume watching the movie three rows ahead of us, and immediately got the news from the Great Stag. “Bambi, your mother is dead.” At that age, five or six, you can take a lot but there is a limit.
Twenty-five years later I found a Little Golden Book called Bambi in among my three-year-old son’s books. I hadn’t bought it for him and don’t know how it got there but he wanted me to read it. When I got to the page where the Great Stag told Bambi about his mother, I started to cry, closed the book and threw it away.
Author’s Comment: This childhood experience has always been with me. Perhaps in writing it down I had hoped to transfer it out of my mind and onto paper. That didn’t work as, 65 years later, there it still is. Doing some research I recently found out that that Bambi was one of Time Magazine‘s “Top 25 Horror movies of all time.” All is not lost though; there’s still time to save my two young grandchildren.
Loved your story–in several ways. 1st–I’m glad to know I’m not the only child whose mother made her put toilet paper on the toilet seats. 2nd: I had the same “getting lost”movie experience at the same age–and was relieved to be able to find my mother and return to my place on her lap. Only when the movie ended, I found I was sitting one some one else’s lap. And 3: Bambi–my heart went out to you. I read it and saw it when I was older–and yes, I still cry–and did NOT take my kids to see the movie.
Thank you for this poignant story.
Your comments made me laugh and then a little teary. Thanks for them, they are greatly appreciated. We who were marked by this experience must stick together!