Memoir Mondays: Rain, Rain, Go Away

I used to be afraid of the rain. Terrified, really. I barely remember it, but I know it to be true. The fear is no longer there. I love the rain, although I get sick of too many days of it, just like anyone else. But I now know the rain cannot harm me or my things. I didn’t know that as during this phase of childhood.

I don’t remember what began this short-lived childhood paranoia of rain. Perhaps it was simply the strange and unexplained phenomenon of things falling from the sky. And then, these things falling from the sky are hitting my head (hmmm, see earlier Hammer and Tree Fort memory for more falling objects on my head). Or maybe it was the connection of rain to the thunder, which always seemed unsettling to my childhood ears.

Yesterday, I was watching a neighbor build a little plastic tricycle for his son and it somehow brought back memories of this childhood anxiety. The connection is the vehicle. I used to have a little metal push-pedal go-cart that I adored  and loved. I remember one day, as I was cruising around the parking lot of our apartment building, it started to rain and I just completely lost it. Freaking out is a better way of saying it. I screamed. I yelled. I couldn’t move. And what kept me in this state of panic was both a desire to get out of the way of these falling watery objects and to protect my go-cart. I could not do both at the same time and as a result, I didn’t do either. Thus, the vocal chords were in full bloom.

I finally made it home but I left my go-cart outside in my desire to get the heck out of the rain. This abandonment had me screaming even louder. I was sure my go-cart was doomed. My mom finally had enough (my voice was ringing through every corner of our apartment complex) and after unsuccessfully telling me that if I wanted my go-cart, then I should get it (no way), she sent my brother out to get it. He did so reluctantly, shaking his head at the folly of his foolish younger brother. But he did it.

Somehow, I eventually got over this fear. I even remember running barefoot in thunderstorms with a neighbor of ours and how joyful it felt and how free it felt, even as our moms were shouting to us to get our butts back inside before the lightning started in and we’d get ourselves zapped. There is some real irony here as to who was now doing the shouting at whom. Suffice it to say that my friend and I took our sweet time, mouths open, filling up with water from the heavens before shuffling back.

And my go cart, you’ll be happy to know, was tucked safely at home.

Peace (in rainy days),

  1. Hi, Kevin– What a great story. Your description of your freak-out is so vivid. I could feel the push-pull of flee the rain or protect your go-cart. Really well told.

  2. Great story! So many childhood fears so unreasonable as adults. I just bought a great book about fear called “Little Mouse’s Big Book fo Fears” and I can’t to read it to some kids in the fall.

    My dog is similarly afraid of rain, but only if he is in the house. Once he gets outside, he is OK. This has been going on for 13 years!

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