The days slipped into weeks and the weeks into months, and yet I couldn’t shake it…the glint of the gun pointing at my face loomed large in my thoughts and in my dreams. It was the Sunday before Thanksgiving 1989. We piled our four young children into the back seat of the car and happily went off to visit grandma and grandpa. It was only 5 p.m. but it was as dark as midnight as I drove up their steep driveway. I pulled up to the car court, honked the horn and turned off the ignition. At the same time, in my side mirror I noticed something moving quickly toward us. I instinctively locked the car doors, and then, through the closed window the gun was in my face. I calmly said to my husband, who was in the passenger seat, “This is real, give him whatever he wants.” At first he didn’t know what I was talking about, he hadn’t been looking in my direction. The young guy began to scream “Don’t move, don’t move!” At that moment my father flipped on the car court lights and opened the front door. The guy pointed the gun at him and screamed at him not to move.
I wanted to pick up our car phone and call 911, but those were the days when car phones were just coming out, and the car had to be running for you to use them…I had turned the ignition off an instant before the young man had reached the car.
The windows on our car were darkly tinted. The young man couldn’t see that there were four little people in the back seat and was surprised at the sounds coming from there. He kept screaming “Don’t move” and aiming his gun at me and then at my father, and back at me. Little voices screamed “Mommy what is he going to do?” “Daddy do something!” “Mommy, daddy what does he want?” I just kept thinking, be calm and get the kids safely into the house over and over again. With a panicked look on his face, our young would-be robber looked over at my father, then at me, then at the tinted backseat windows, and at that moment decided to turn around and run back down the driveway from where he had come.
The police came and took their report. Not knowing exactly how to define it at the time, we were all suffering from a bit of P.T.S.D. I took my kids to a psychologist so that they could vent their fears, and I visited a psychologist as well. I told him that I was too afraid to ever go back to my parents’ house. I didn’t even want to go the next Thursday for Thanksgiving. He said to me, “We’re going for a ride.” He took me out to his car, and he drove me up to my parents’, while asking me all the way what I was feeling. My heart was pounding as we approached the house. We went up the driveway, got out of his car, and he asked me to walk down to where the young man had sprung from. He made me look in the bushes and all around until I began to calm down. The daylight and calm blue skies made me relax a bit. I overcame my fears enough to make it for Thanksgiving that year, but I never really got over the glint of the gun randomly appearing in my mind over the years.
With the advent of Hanukkah beginning tonight, a holiday where we rejoice in miracles, and with the prevalence of guns in our country today, I recall this event in my life as a true miracle.
Here is wishing each and every one of you a Happy Hanukkah and a life full of miracles!