By Erica Herman
Looking back on 2011, immigration was a topic of many conversations. SB 1070 brought national attention to Arizona, and the topic of people living in the United States without being legal citizens was enough to fill every newscast for months. This furor over the many debates and arguments tossed back and forth got me thinking about growing up here in our small town. As people continue to risk all they have to get into our country, we, as teenagers twenty or more years ago, were dying to get out of our houses if just for one night. Just as being in our country illegally holds consequences, sneaking out of our houses to waste the night away often came with a hefty fine to pay. To some of us, that chance at a little bit of fr
I didn’t sneak out of the house until I was a high school freshman. It never crossed my mind. My brother and I played outside under the streetlights during the summer till the wee hours of the night, and as long as we checked in every couple of hours with our mom, we were fine. The first time I asked my mom if I could go cruising with a group of older kids (not really knowing what that was, just knowing it sounded exciting) she told me to be home at 10:00 pm. I thought this was plenty of time and happily went on my first night on the town. I soon realized that most kids had a curfew of midnight and that around ten, things were just starting to get going. As the group reluctantly headed toward my house around 9:45 to drop me off, one of the girls said, “Why don’t you just sneak out?” I had a million questions—How would I get out? How would I not get caught? How would I explain myself if my mom found out? After having a pow-wow with the so-called “experts” who had snuck out “millions” of times, I decided to give it a try. I told them to come back in thirty minutes and park at the end of our cul-de-sac. I then bravely went inside to enact the plan.eedom was worth the price we payed the next day.
All of my planning and worrying was for nothing. When I entered the house, my mom was fast asleep. I opened her door and told her I was home. She groggily asked if I had fun as I softly closed the door. Then I went in my room, made some noise like I was getting ready for bed, and simply walked back out the garage door, leaving it unlocked so I could return. I couldn’t believe how easy it had been! I started to envision myself having a whole new life outside the confines of my house. Eventually in the middle of my first year of high school my mom raised the curfew time to 11:30; however, it mattered none to me since I knew that I would get home at 11:30 and then return to the nightlife soon after. Don’t get me wrong, there were some complications along the way. A few times when I entered the house, I found my parents still awake or my brother and his friends having an all night wrestle-mania-athon. Since this was the time before cell phones, my friends would wait 5-10 minutes and if I didn’t show up at the end of the block by that time, they left, leaving me to lie in bed and listen to the group of ten year old boys in the living room argue about who could make the loudest armpit farts. Other times I went out my window, which faced the street, or through the sliding glass door and out the back alley, depending on what would be my easiest way back in when I returned.
I’m sure that many of you wondered what the attraction of being out all night was. What could we, as reckless teenagers, possibly be doing all night in the town of Casa Grande? It didn’t matter what was on the agenda, because sneaking out provided exhilaration, a feeling of being invincible. That tingle of fear that ran up your spine on your way out and, most importantly, on your way back in. On these nights, we would explore all areas of Casa Grande, from the chimney atop CG Mountain to the washes where Casa Grande Union High School now stands. We were young and didn’t need any sleep. I’m sure that the city had a curfew for those of us under eighteen, but the few times that we were pulled over, the police officer usually knew our parents and told us to get home before he called them.
Like any good thing, my sneaking out came to an end by the time I was a senior. My family had moved out of town towards CAC, and living on a dirt road with acres of land between houses is not conducive to slipping away quietly. Plus, by this time my curfew had moved to being home before one in the morning, and most of the people I wanted to hang out with had to be home by this time also. As much as I hated to admit it, my mom was right when she told me that, “Nothing good happens after midnight.”