My brother was one of those children – maybe you were, or maybe you had one like him – who would, from time to time, express his displeasure at his parents by leaving home. He would pack up his little bag with his worldly possessions – a few choice comic books, a few pennies left from his weekly allowance, his Peter Rabbit stuffed animal toy, maybe a bag of chips for the road – and he would set off, announcing his intention to leave home and make his own way in the world.
My mother didn’t take a whole lot of notice. For us, “the world” was fairly well bounded by the shops on the hill, by the main road on one side of town and by the sea on the other side, and by the lane past school, where my brother spent most of his adventurous afternoons sitting in the tree we had claimed as a den, eating his chips and reading his comics.
Our mother’s perennial prediction was, “He’ll come home when he gets hungry,” and he did.