Childhood Guilt

Grandma Kc wrote this on June 13th, 2014 23 Replies

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.

23 thoughts on “Childhood Guilt

  1. Olga

    You certainly have a well developed sense of right and wrong. My husband’s business was in Jonesville (VT). It is also where I go to yoga classes in the old one room school house.

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      I actually knew there was a Jonesville, VT. There is a Facebook page called Vanishing Jonesville (for Jonesville, MI) and people have recently posted photos of signs from other Jonesvilles. Our Jonesville had a one room school house, too and my Dad and all of his brothers went there until high school. I have a picture from when he was about 10 – a school photo of the teacher and all the students. It is priceless. The school house is now a beautifully restored antique shop.

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    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      I certainly did and I am glad she never found out. She really wasn’t the forgive and forget type and would probably have reminded me of it for the rest of her life.

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  2. Sandy

    It’s no wonder you are such a great person! You’ve been practicing it for years!

    I hope you can stop feeling guilty about taking money without your mom’s permission. She would have given it to you anyway. xoxo

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      Thank you. I don’t feel guilty for it anymore but I will sure never forget it. I think my adventures on the roof are why I am not afraid of heights and maybe that stealing adventure is why I am honest.

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  3. Launna

    I think most of us are guilty of that… I always told my children that if I had it I would give it to them.. I hoped to spare them the guilt… my oldest never stole from me… I learned my lesson and it sounds like you did too…:-)

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      My mom was very good at handing out guilt and maybe that is why I never forgot. I knew she never would have! Your children are lucky to have you and I bet they know it.

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  4. sarah christian

    Oh, dear, bless your heart to this day! I can well relate – in my case a friend and I had stolen candy from a grocery store, and then we went outside and the store clerk asked us if we had anything to tell her – we said no, and went on home. Well, that night at the supper table, I just burst into tears and spilled the beans! The guilt was all consuming. My dad took me and made it right with the grocery store, and I do not remember ever stealing from anyone again.

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      Oh poor little Sarah! I am sending her a hug. I know you and I can well imagine you couldn’t hold that guilt in. You would have never slept or eat again. It is no fun when we have to learn things the hard way. I sure wouldn’t want to have faced that store manager.

      Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      If I had it to do over I would probably just go without candy. Oh who am I kidding, I was 8 and I loved candy! I’m still sure that not waking her was the wise choice!

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  5. Joy @ Yesterfood

    Kc, childhood guilt is huge and awful, isn’t it? Yes, I took some change from my mom’s billfold, too. Hers was red leather with a snap. Isn’t it funny how we remember these things so vividly? I do love your stories. I think there’s a book in here somewhere!

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      Thank you, Joy. It amazes me that anyone reads these posts besides my family. I can’t imagine they would sell as a book but I do appreciate the compliments. I’m also surprised that other little girls did such a thing – I thought I was all alone in my terrible ways.

      Reply
  6. Judy @ NewEnglandGardenAndThread

    This post reminded me of two things. When I was about that age, I stole a package bow (don’t ask me why I don’t have a clue) from the drug store on the corner. My mother noticed it, walked me back to the store to apologize to the owner and pay for the bow. Never did I ever take anything that didn’t belong to me again. I’m sure your mom would have willingly given the candy money to you. And, I also remember we would ride the city bus as teens to a local beach and spend the entire day there by ourselves. The times they sure have changed. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      I am so glad I never did anything where I had to go back and face somebody. THAT would have been worse!

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  7. Rhonda

    Oh the conscious, it’s our moral compass of right and wrong. Funny, you remember the candy didn’t taste as good on that day. A lesson for life. I enjoyed your story.

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      I’m glad you liked my story, Rhonda. One thing is for sure I did learn from my mistakes! I didn’t repeat them often and definitely never repeated this one!

      Reply
  8. Lisa @ Grandma's Briefs

    Yes, you definitely learned your lesson. I used to tell my kids (and myself) that guilt is built into our psyches for a reason and all the folks acting like you shouldn’t feel guilty about things are just wishing for a way to get out of the guilt-producing things they’ve done. The guilt works for you when it makes you a better person. It clearly did that for you.

    Just an FYI: I am *not* Catholic. 😀

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      My mother was not “the forgive and forget” type. If it got forgiven it certainly never got forgotten! Many years later my sister and I used to joke about the fact that while mother claimed to be Catholic she did Jewish guilt better than anybody!

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  9. Joyce

    I just love the brutal honesty of kids – and the guilt when they know they’ve done wrong! I see my grandkids just having to tell on themselves for “crimes” like not really falling asleep during nap time or taking two graham crackers instead of one. And then we outgrow that honesty when we start seeing others get ahead of us when they are not as truthful. Or maybe learning to justify things. That’s probably why honest people are so few and far between these days!
    I cannot recall a time where I stole anything except make up from my sister when we were in high school. But of course I justified that since she was a “brat” and “deserved it!”

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      Oh stealing make up or clothes from a sibling is totally justified! I don’t even think you had to confess that! Interestingly this all happened about the time I started going to catechism class so maybe that is why the guilt has stuck with me all these years.

      Reply

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