The second in the 3-part series called “The Locked in Series”. Another true story about being locked in. You can read part 1 – Locked in the Toilet here.
When I was a young kid in the fifties and early sixties, I went to a local Catholic primary school. Sometimes the nuns gave the kids special religious objects such as little pictures of Jesus or the saints, holy medals to pin onto our singlets, and occasionally very special objects such as a little statue of Jesus or his mother, Mary, or rosary beads.
If you don’t know what rosary beads are, they’re five groups of ten beads interspersed with five single beads on a string or chain with a crucifix attached and look a bit like a necklace. You say certain prayers using these beads to count the prayers. As a family we sometimes said the rosary in the evening in our lounge. We used to kneel supporting ourselves against the couch or an armchair mumbling our responses to Dad’s first part of the prayers. Our knees got painful and slightly older sister and I often had to stifle our giggles.
I was about eight years old when I was given some rosary beads. The beads and crucifix of this rosary were green tinged as they were luminous. I was thrilled. When school finished for the day, I took them home and showed Mum.
‘Lovely, Susan’, she said in a somewhat distracted way as she put a lamb and vegetable casserole into the oven to slowly cook for our dinner.
I really wanted to see the luminosity of the beads, but it wouldn’t be night-time for aaaaages.
‘I know’, I thought. ‘I’ll take them to my wardrobe and look at them in there’.
I went upstairs to the bedroom that I shared with slightly older sister who happened to be downstairs doing her homework at the dining room table.
I went into the wardrobe and shut the door. It was fabulously dark in there and the beads shone with a soft greenish glow. I could even see them shining on my fingers and the palms of my hands. I was absolutely fascinated. I wound them through my fingers and held them in front of me.
‘Oh wow!’ I said. I was ecstatic. ‘I’m never going to be afraid of the dark again. I’ll always have these beads to shine for me’.
I went to open the door, and then fear struck me. There was no handle inside the wardrobe. How could I have forgotten that? I was locked in!
‘Oh no. I die here. The air will run out. I’ll suffocate,’ I thought with dread.
I kneeled down to the crack at the bottom of the door where there was a line of light. I breathed in deeply, but I knew, I just knew it wasn’t enough air.
‘I’m truly going to die,’ I thought.
In a total panic and with my breath coming in gasps I screamed for help.
‘Mum, Mum! Someone, help me!’
No one came.
I grabbed a metal rail, part of our bunks that wasn’t being used and banged it repetitively on the floor while continuing to shriek hysterically for help.
Then the door opened and light streamed in. I felt an overwhelming sense of relief, before being grabbed by my big brother, pulling me out of the wardrobe and shouting,
‘What the hell are you doing, you noisy little devil? What a racket you are making!’ Then he let me go and left me in disgust.
I dropped onto my bed sobbing with combined relief and distress. When I was over the worst of these mixed emotions, I went downstairs and told Mum. She soothed me hugging me and saying reassuring words. She then settled me in the lounge with a book and my soft blue teddy and left the room.
Next, big brother came into the lounge.
‘Sorry’, he said. ‘I didn’t know you were locked in the wardrobe’.
I knew that Mum had gone nuts at him and I was glad.
I never locked myself in that wardrobe again. I still enjoyed the rosary beads though.
Read part 3 of The Locked in Series here.