Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, May 3, 1999

A summer vacation to remember


Well, boys and girls, it won't be long and school will be out for the summer. When I was a little girl, I was glad when summer came because our family would always go on a trip and it was fun.

I have a younger brother named Joe. When we went on a trip, it was my job to help take care of him.

If we stopped at a motel for the night, Mom and Dad always found one that had a playground for children and a swimming pool.

It was my job to get Joe ready to go swimming. It never failed, I would get Joe all ready to swim and then he would decide he had to go to the bathroom. So off to the bathroom we would go and I would wait outside the door for him.

On one trip, when Joe was still too young to go to school, I waited and waited outside the bathroom door and he never came out. Finally I went into the bathroom to see what he was doing, but he wasn't there.

I went to find my mother to tell her that Joe was missing.

"Go find your father," Mother said. "We must all look for him. This is a big place and he could be anywhere."

We all looked for Joe, but we couldn't find him. There was a big woods around the motel and we started to think that maybe he had wandered into the woods and gotten lost. Mother was getting very worried.

Dad decided to ask at the motel's front desk if anyone had seen my brother. But no one had seen him and the motel people quickly organized a group of people to help look for him.

Soon the police were called and they brought dogs to look in the woods for Joe. It was beginning to get dark out and Mother started to cry.

"What if someone has taken Joe?" she cried.

There were many people coming to stay for the night at the motel and it was almost full. Everyone who came was told about Joe and asked to help search for him.

Mother told me to stay in our motel room and wait in case someone came to tell us they had found him. Then mother and dad went off to continue looking.

As I waited in the motel, I thought I heard a child crying. I opened the door and saw some people talking to a little kid down the hall. I went to check and, sure enough, it was Joe.

I explained to the people that we had been looking for him and they went to the motel desk to notify the others that the lost boy had been found.

Mother and dad came running. Mother grabbed Joe and held him tight as she cried in happiness.

Dad said, "Joe, where were you? We have been looking all over for you."

"Well, " Joe said, "I couldn't find the door out of the bathroom so when some other kids went out, I followed them. I didn't see anyone I knew so I decided to go back to our motel room. I was kind of cold so I crawled into bed and I guess I fell asleep."

"But, Joe," Mother said, "this isn't our room. You slept in the wrong bed."

"It was the only room with the door open," Joe said. "It sure looked like our room."

Dad looked at Mother and Mother looked at Dad.

"I guess we'll never forget this trip," Dad said.

Boys and girls, always tell your family where you are going and ask for permission before you decide to do something. It's very easy to get lost in a strange place.

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