Big Trouble as a Small Child

Did you ever get in “big trouble” as a young child? 

Either I was an amazingly good child, or I have an exceedingly selective memory, as I really cannot recall getting into “Big Trouble” as a young child. My earliest memory of getting into trouble at all occurred when I was probably about seven years old. I remember our family coming home from church, and mom taking my brother and I downstairs to our dark, cold, musty basement, where mom spanked my brother – and then turned to grab me and give me a spanking, too! I suppose we must have been misbehaving in church, but I have no recollection of that, and indeed, I remember that I was far more upset about what I perceived as the injustice of the spanking, than about the spanking itself. I actually don’t remember the spanking at all, but I do remember crying and wailing loudly, proclaiming my innocence. In fact, I think my mother might have softened and let me off without a spanking, but after I then went to add about how my brother deserved a spanking but I didn’t, I remember she said that even if I didn’t deserve the spanking up till then, I sure deserved it now for talking about my brother that way!

Other than that, the only truly evil thing I can remember doing when I was young happened when I was about six years old. Our family was shopping at “Dion’s,” the local grocery store, and one of the last of the old-time general stores. They still sold bulk items in large barrels, and I loved to gaze into huge wooden barrels full of nails, grain and other items. That day, close to Valentine’s, there was a barrel full of red cinnamon hearts. I dearly loved cinnamon hearts, but knew there was no point in asking my parents to buy any, because they did not buy us candy except for very special celebrations. I stood there gazing and gazing into that barrel, until I could stand it no longer. Peeking around to be sure no one was looking, I grabbed one tiny red cinnamon heart and stuffed it in my mouth. I am afraid that I did not enjoy it at all, for immediately I was consumed with guilt for stealing! However, I never told anyone about my crime, but carried about the vivid memory, seared into my conscience, for years and years. It bothered me more than anything else I did in the following years (and I certainly did do some reprehensible things in later years, but not theft), until finally, when I was about 16 or 17, I actually wrote a note to the store owner, confessing my criminal past, and enclosing payment, with interest! I never did receive a response to that letter, but at least my guilt was mostly assuaged!
Posted: Sept 20, 2008

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