Personal Reflection

July 17. 2015
What did you get in trouble for the most when you were a kid?

The pictures I see of my youth are so sweet. I was a beautiful child with long, curly hair of brown. I was blessed with beauty, love, security, all that a child should have or want. I was raised by two very good people and, in time, had seven wonderful, loving siblings. What could I possibly do to get in trouble with all this?Apparently, I was a little thief!  I can’t remember how old I was, but I had to be between 5 and 8 years of age. I have no idea where it came from, but I remember at least three instances where I stole money or property from others.It is interesting how certain memories of our youth stay with us. This is usually because the core memory was wonderful or terribly traumatic. These memories of thievery were not wonderful!

We had a discount store across the field from our neighborhood. This place was called Globe. Somehow, and I honestly do not know how, I discovered some silver 50 cent John Kennedy coins in my mother’s dresser drawer. I knew they had monetary value because I began to take one, then two, three, or more. I would walk to Globe to buy things like candy, coloring books, crayons, etc. I did this two or three times before my mother realized what was happening. When she did find out what I was doing, she went berserk. My mother adored John Kennedy, but I didn’t know how important these coins were to her. She had every right to be angry and, believe me, I got it! I felt so badly afterwards that when I had a dollar bill, I put it in the same spot in her drawer. I did not realize she was not upset over the value of the money, but rather the principal of someone taking something that meant so much to her. It was a valuable and sentimental collection for her. What a terrible thing to do to my mother.

Another time I walked to Globe and hung around the candy and gum area. This area was off to the side a bit and hidden back in those days. or so I thought! This was probably one of the times I bought something with my mother’s treasure and had it in a bag. I then hung around the sweets area and eventually put a pack of gum in my bag.  As I walked past the information desk towards the exit, a woman stopped me. She wanted to chat and see what I had in my bag. I remember her being extremely nice, but keeping the gum. I can’t remember what the woman said to me but I do remember her taking the gum out of the bag while smiling. I then left and walked home sans gum!

A third time that I remember well was when I got a basket and walked to the neighbors’ houses ringing doorbells and singing at their doors.  I was singing Christmas carols and asking for money for the poor.  They would give me change and I would go on my way.  One neighbor called my mother and I again got in some trouble for being a little thief.  You see, I had no intention of giving the money to anyone else and my mother knew it.  My mother was a smart woman!

There are a couple things about these stories that still have me stumped. I went to Catholic schools my entire life and knew stealing was a sin.  What was I thinking and why was I a thief? Remembering these experiences made me think of something else. What child today around 5-to-8 years of age is allowed to walk alone through a neighborhood, across a field, to a shopping center full of people, to shop by herself? We just don’t do these things anymore. It is too dangerous. My childhood was so innocent compared to today, but those stories are for another time.

I still wonder why I became a little thief because I would not do it today. I just would not take anyone’s money or property without their permission. I do not have the slightest bit of temptation to do this. I suppose you can say somehow, through all the madness of my youth, I fortunately learned a valuable lesson.


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