My mom Frieda is sharing another great story with us today.
When I was eight years old, I talked my parents into letting me go with a friend who was the same age as I and spend the day at the Dallas zoo by ourselves. Don’t think my parents were negligent—the world was different in 1945, and children often went out alone in the city in the day time. Very excited, we woke up early. My mother cautioned us to stay away from the creek that ran through the zoo and not to get too close to the animal cages. We prepared a picnic lunch and went to the corner to catch the bus which would take us for the long ride across the city to the zoo.
Feeling very grown up, we walked around and looked at the animals all morning until we began to get tired. We decided to eat our lunch under a tree beside the creek. Since it was such a hot day, we thought it would feel good to wade a little in the cool creek. As soon as I stepped in, my foot landed on a slime-covered rock, and I sat down hard in the muddy water. The sun soon dried my clothes, but they remained stiff with dried mud.
Just as we were thinking about leaving to go home, we noticed a lot of excited people in front of the lion cage and decided to investigate. The lion evidently objected to all the people staring at him because he was pacing up and down and roaring ferociously. We pushed our way through the crowd and got right up against the bars of the cage. To our dismay, the angry lion suddenly lifted his leg and gave us a disgusting shower. No longer feeling so grown up, I was so embarrassed and humiliated that I cried. Nevertheless, wet and dirty as I was, I had to ride the bus home, all the way back across Dallas.
When we got home, my mother felt so sorry for me that she didn’t even scold me, but I definitely regretted not having listened to her instructions.