“Someone’s stolen the car.”
I’m guessing it was about 5:15pm when Dad called home to tell Mom that his white Oldsmobile had been stolen. I can only imagine his shock as he stepped out the back door of his office expecting to find his “Iron Horse” parked in the same place he had left it when he returned to work after lunch. Dad was a bookkeeper by trade, a meticulous man, he liked things kept “just so”, and he was in his fifties. I expect that the missing Oldsmobile must have set him well back on his feet.
I don’t know if he called Mom before or after he notified the police about his missing car. The police were called. That I know for certain.
The events that happened next are sketchy. Dad probably pacing back and forth, his blood pressure rising, anger taking hold. It might have been the pacing–the act of being in motion–that caused the jog in his memory.
When Dad returned to the office from lunch there had been a barricade at the entrance to parking lot behind his office because workers were onsite preparing to lay down fresh pavement. Dad had driven around the block and left the Olds on the street in front of the office.
As we exited the department store Gerry and I came upon a distraught middle-aged woman standing on the sidewalk.
“My car is gone!” she told us through her tears.
As I tried to calm her down Gerry stepped into the entryway of the store where there was a bank of pay phones (this event took place a few years ago–before everyone carried a cell phone), deposited a quarter, and called the police on behalf of the frantic woman.
I don’t remember just how far the conversation between my husband and the police went. Again, it may have been the motion as the woman paced back and forth that attributed to her realizing her mistake.
Gerry hung up the phone and we walked with her to the opposite side of the parking lot, outside of a different door of the department store, and watched her tears turn from those of angst to relief as she put her hands on her car.
“I usually park in the other lot,” she told us sheepishly.
I developed a habit many years ago of parking in the same general location–the same row at the very least–at stores, my place of work, church, everywhere I frequent. I strongly encourage Gerry to park in my chosen row when we’re together too.
At times, I’ve been jokingly mocked for this little idiosyncrasy. I’ve never called the police because I think my car’s been stolen though.