This is a special memory from my own childhood.
I was about eight when I stole money out of my mom’s purse. I still carry the guilt.
One of the things most of the kids that grew up in Jonesville, population 1700, during the fifties remember is taking the school bus to Baw Beese Lake, specifically to Sandy Beach. It was in Hillsdale, about 6 miles away and on Tuesdays and Thursdays the school bus would take all of us to the lake and then bring us home in the afternoon. I don’t remember us having any chaperones. Our town wasn’t the only one to bus kids to the beach; the parking lot would be full of school buses. We would spend the day on the sand having fun and we could even take free-swimming lessons. They also had lots of swing sets and slides to entertain us. The beach had a concession stand, too but it was very expensive so I would always go to the Popcorn Stand before getting on the bus. It was in the middle of the Jonesville Park and right across the street from the high school and the buses. You could get a lot more candy for the same money at the Pop Corn stand than could at the beach.
Usually my mom would willingly give me money for candy. I think she was glad to have us get out of the house and off to the beach. That day she was sleeping when it was time for me to leave and I knew better than to wake her up for something as silly as candy money. But I really wanted candy!
So I got in her purse. I remember that it was black patent leather and inside was her coin purse. It had one of those gold thumb clasps and was made out of carpetbag material. It was always full of coins and that day I took a lot! I am pretty sure I took more than I would have normally gotten but at the time, I was just trying to grab as much as I could as quick as I could.
Oh but the guilt. I don’t think I ever told my mother what I did. I know the candy that day didn’t taste nearly as good. I think I spent the whole day waiting for her to show up at the beach to punish me! I don’t know where my little sister was and I don’t remember sharing any of the candy with her either!
There are no more buses to the beach and there is no longer a Pop Corn Stand in the middle of Jonesville Park but I still have my guilt. I sure did learn my lesson.