LL Bean

I am intimately familiar with the LL Bean tote bag. The one with the handles that go all the way down to the base. Red or blue handles on a white canvas body–inherently American, inherently New England. One summer day, my sister and I packed our LL bean tote bags full of canned food from the back of the kitchen cabinets where we thought my mom wouldn’t miss it, and threw blankets over the tops so she couldn’t see what was inside. We told her we were going on a picnic and then walked down the street, our LL Bean totes over our shoulders.

We had no real plan, other than escaping the house, and only got as far as the next street when our dad came running after us. I don’t know how they discovered that we meant not to return. Maybe Mom needed some green beans, and saw that her cabinets were bare. I know we didn’t bring a can opener.

What were we escaping from? Our safe and perfect lives with two loving parents, church on Sundays and a neighborhood full of friends? Perhaps we had been listening to too much FM radio, and as we were apt to do back then.

I’m glad Dad caught us. But I wonder where those tote bags are. I could sure use one right now.



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