If dog petting didn't strike our collective fancy, we walked our babies in their baby carriages. My parents were of a traditional mindset when it came to most things, including toys-by-gender. "Girls like dolls and boys like cars," summs it up pretty well, I think. When I was five, Pete taught me to tie a proper noose, and from that day on, I took a shine to hanging my dolls from the crabapple tree in our front yard. I still think someone should have taken a hint from that.
There was a steep hill at the end of our street, and we would push our babies to the top in their plastic carraiges. We kept an eye out for cars, pedestrians, and bicyclists who might happen to be crossing the road at the bottom of the hill. When someone promising came along, we hurled our baby carriages down the hill as hard as we could. Though our timing improved greatly over time, we never quite managed the collision we were hoping for.
Unfortunately, my criminal mind was not sated by this. I don't recall how or why I dreamed up "The Great Twinkie Heist Of Crystal, Minnesota," but I'd hazard a guess that I was bored.
Elizabeth and I took our babies out of our cribs one day and stashed them under my bed. When it was soap time for our mothers, we headed out with our carraiges and blankets- sans babies.
We walked to the corner store where I proceeded to stash three "Family Size" boxes of Twinkies under the balnkets in my carraige. Elizabeth decided this wasn't such a great idea, so I had to stuff her carraige full of Twinkies FOR her.
As we walked our Twinkies home, I was feeling so alive! So smart! It wasn't until we neared our driveways that I began to come off my trip a little bit. We slowed way down. What in the hell was I going to do with all of these things? We rolled up my driveway as nonchalantly as possible, pushed our carraiges behind my parents garage, and ate every last Twinkie. Then we dug a hole to bury the wrappers in. Again, that sunburst feeling hit me, spreading wave upon wave of terrible warmth over my body.
I was never brought to justice for that one. In fact, my mom didn't even know about it until I told her just a few years ago. Her reaction wasn't what I'd expected it might be. I thought she'd shake her head and say, "You were always a rascal," or something like that. Instead, she looked as if she wanted to cry, and all she managed to say was, "Really? You DID that?" Maybe it's not such a big suprise after all that Mom never seemed 100% aware of the abuse that was happening in our house. Selective attention defecit.
Oddly enough, Mom had been with me about one year prior to The Great Twinkie Heist to witness my first shoplifting attempt. Technically and logistically,it was a success. Emotionally, it was another sunburst.
We'd been grocery shopping for a long time and were finally in the checkout line when I spotted the object of my desire. It was a pack of gum with a grinning zebra on the wrapper. The sticks of gum had pastel, zebra-fashioned stripes, and they tasted like "fruit." It's the same concept as calling everything purple "grape."
My parents weren't the kind to spend money on sweets, but I'd had some at my cousin's house before, and I loved it. "Mom, can I pleeeease have one of these?" My mother didn't even look to see what I was holding before she said, "No Katie, not today," in that mock sympathetic voice of hers. I was certain that if she could be made to undestand the allure of the gum, she'd change her mind. "But look! It's got some stripes just like a real zebra is inside of it! It tastes like candy, not like zebras." Somehow this had no effect on her, and she told me to put it back where I'd found it.
So, from my perch in the shopping cart, I put it back. Briefly. It made no sense that I shouldn't have the gum, so I didn't feel TOO bad about taking it. I waited until my mom had her back to me again and grabbed a pack of zebra gum off of the shelf. I held it in my hands until we were getting into the car. Mom hadn't noticed it so far, but now she had to lift me down and put me into the car. I tucked the pack into my front pocket of my jump suit, and didn't take it out again until we were almost home. I held it up so Mom could see it in the rearview mirror. "Mommy, look what I got!" I squealed. I'm not sure what I was trying to accomplish this way. Probably, I was just excited and wanted to share it with my mom.
I guess you could say she got excited. "Dammit!" She yelled as she stomped on the breaks. The smile slid off of my face. "Katie! Where'd you get that?" I reminded her we were just at the store. "Why did you take that? It doesn't belong to you. We have to pay for it first." She turned around, explaining that she was going to "march you right back into that store to say sorry to the woman for stealing her gum!"
She marched me right back into the store, and I said I was sorry, though I didn't feel sorry, and the cashier told me I could keep the gum as a reward for being so brave and honest- of which I was truly neither. Mom didn't approve of the idea, but she didn't object. She was never the type to raise a fuss when it mattered. I was left with the feeling that it just didn't matter that much, which was a bit confusing as it conflicted directly with her initial reaction.
Reminds me of taking communion.....