(EASIER TO DIGEST)
lol. I've been wanting to do this for a long time.
THREE: BALLOON FEAR: THE BEGINNING
When I was three, I overheard my parents discussing an event that occurred near Vancouver, where we were living. A weather balloon had come down in the Rocky Mountains to the east and I thought that people had been hurt. Listening to my parents talking about it affected me. When you are so young and hear such an event being discussed in hushed tones of gravity, you are struck with a sense that something is dire. For some reason, I decided that I had to try to make everything alright again.
I left home to try to go and find this balloon and perhaps save some people. But mostly to make my parents happy again and thus align the planets so that my world would again be the happy and serene place that I knew and loved. My parents thought I had run away. I never told them about my feelings prompting my decision to leave. They launched a search party for me.
Family friends found me wandering the streets of Vancouver, where I refused any attempt of theirs to coerce me into their car. Eventually my father arrived to take me home. I'm not sure my parents ever knew precisely why I had "run away".
In the late 1970s I worked for a man who was a friend and business associate of Maxie Anderson, the mining engineer, vineyard-owner and hot air balloonist. This is a link to the Wikipedia entry on Maxie:
During the transatlantic flight of his 'double Eagle II' balloon in August 1978, Maxie phoned us in Toronto from the balloon. I was thrilled to be able to speak to him during such an historic event and was touched that he had even thought to call us. It was a moment I will never forget. I had "known" Maxie for a couple of years and liked him very much. He was a man with a great appreciation for humour. He was one of the nicest businessmen I ever dealt with, and was an adventurer and a true free spirit. To this day I admire those qualities most in people.
Years later in 1983, I was horrified to find out that Maxie had been killed in his balloon 'Jules Verne' in Germany. My balloon fear became imbedded in my psyche. To this day I am terrified of balloons popping at children's birthday parties. I have been known to run from rooms, my hands clapped over my ears in terror. I cannot be present when clowns are twisting balloons into animal shapes. I have a complete inability to blow up balloons for children.
NEXT: HOW MY EMPATHY MATERIALIZED