Saturday, May 24, 2008

No, They Weren't Hippies

Right off the bat, I'm giving this funny (good girl), Candid Carrie , the credit for this story. I needed something to write about today and I thank her from the bottom of my (good girl) heart for reminding me of this little tidbit of my past.

When I was a kid, I had a very firm understanding of right and wrong. I'm pretty sure my first word after "Momma" and "Daddy" was "Jesus". I knew all about Heaven and Hell. My dad knew the Bible like the back of his hand. People used to ask me if my parents were hippies (our family car was a Pacer--just like on Wayne's World--and my mom played the guitar and she did look a lot like Karen Carpenter), but the truth of the matter is, we were Bible Thumpers. We lived and breathed church and scripture and Jesus. I think I might've spoken in tongue at the age of 6 (is this too much info for 7:52 a.m.?). Anyhoo, I think you get the point. Sinning was a big no-no. Huge. So when I stole a pack of gum at the age of 7, you can bet there was a lesson to be learned there.

Okay, so I didn't mean to steal it. Really. I'm not just saying that. I really remember freaking out on the sidewalk in front of Alphabeta the minute I realized I had the pack of Hubba Bubba in my hand. I remember my body going hot. Starting at the top of my head and traveling down to my toes. Pins and needles hot. I knew right then and there I was going to Hell.

So here's the story. My sister (Star--no lie, that is her name--and NO, they were not hippies) and I went to the grocery store with my dad. As we were waiting in line to check out, I remember the gum/lifesaver/tic-tac/candy bar display and as all kids do, picking up various wrappers and smelling them. Didn't you just loooove the smell of gum? All those flavors--grape, watermelon, bubble gum, rainbow stripe! As a kid (a Bible-thumpin' kid) you imagine that this is what Heaven is going to smell like. So we're walking out of the store, and it is then that I realize I'm holding a pack of Hubba Bubba. I realize it is not paid for. I knew I should have told my dad, that we could've taken the five steps back into the store and given it back. But nooooooo--I was suuuuure that regardless there'd be a spanking involved, so I shoved it down the pocket of my terry cloth shorts and we headed for home--the pack of Hubba Bubba burning the top of my leg. I was full of guilt and shame all the way. Sick. As soon as we got home I ran to the backyard and into our little play house (an old refrigerator box with a window and a door cut out of it--we used our imagination a lot). We had a little play stove and fridge inside and I immediately shoved the pack of gum into the back of that little play fridge. I didn't even want to look at it. I vowed to never chew gum again as long as I live.
As I was walking back into the house, my dad walked past me, into the backyard, into the little playhouse and came out with the pack of Hubba Bubba. Caught. I don't remember what was said, but the next thing I knew we were back in the Pacer and heading back to Alphabeta. The feeling in the car was thick with shame, guilt and disappointment. Inside Alphabeta, he pulled me to Customer Service and explained the whole thing. He knew all along that I had that gum in my hand! He was actually waiting to see if I would do the right thing. Well, you know which route I chose. My consequence was that I had to go to every single employee in Alphabeta and apologize for stealing. Everyone. The deli-person, the meat-guy, I think we went in the back of the cooler and apologized to the guy putting milk out. The flower lady, all the checkers, the bag boys. Humiliating. Awful, awful, awful. And it did the job. Some may think that's over the top. It probably was. But looking back at it now, I think it was genius of my dad. He probably doesn't even remember it. But I can tell you, I never forgot. I never did that again. And that's the whole point.


careysue said...

Wow...I never would of forgotten that either!!! you poor girl, but you did learn a lesson! Isn't it weird how parents just know, they are all seeing, hearing and knowing! I truly thought my parents must of had eyes in the back of their heads!

I did the same thing with my third daughter she took something (very small) a beanie baby tag. I drove back and made her give it back and apologize. When she did the store lady said--"Oh, that's OK."

Not the response I was looking for. I felt like a real mean mom.

Thanks for sharing!

Mrs. Romero said...

Okay, if your name really is Sunshine and your sister really is Star, you parents HAD to be hippies. Bible thumping hippies?

I have a very similar story to this with lip gloss, but I didn't get caught, which might have been worse, because the fear and torture of going to hell lasted for years.

Cookie said...

What a great recall from the past - I was with you every step of the way... and as far as being severe punishment? When you are 7, a simple act of embarrassment like this can last a lifetime. You weren't beaten or strung up ... you were disciplined and that shows exactly how much your father loved you. Too many kids these days just grow up instead of being raised up - and you see the results in society all around us. I heard on the news this morning about the kid who got caught smoking pot... his dad made he wear a huge body billboard saying something to the effect of "I smoked pot and I got caught" The kid was humiliated but you know what? I bet in 30 years, he will look back on it just like you did with the hubba bubba and hopefully have the same life lesson you recanted. KUDOS TO DAD!!!