Do you ever look at your young child and think, ‘Oh dear God what have I reared?’. Maybe they have a crazy temper, or are so bossy even you can’t ignore it? Or maybe they are a thief? Yes, what if you discover your dear little one is light fingered.
Well today on my blog, in the hope that Tuesday is ‘not many reading day’, I will confess, that I Tric, was a thief in the past. I know I bet you can’t believe it, but I confess that when I was about eight years old I ‘stole’ an airfix model battleship!
I am perhaps being a bit too hard on myself. What I mean to say is that I acquired the toy by deception, but I did pay for it, almost.
It was a Friday night and my younger, much better behaved, brother and I were shopping with our parents. For some reason we were being treated and allowed to go to the toy shop with four pounds each to spend. That was quite a lot of money at the time.
It was a large toy shop to a child, but in reality had only two aisles. We wandered up and down for ages, virtually buying everything. Eventually for me it came down to two airfix models. There was one small plane for £2.99 or a fine size of a boat for £4.99. My brother strolled over and I showed him the beautiful boat. He looked at the price and matter of factly (for a seven year old) said it was too dear. He had already chosen his toy, perfectly priced. Squatting down I picked up the small airplane and carefully removed the price, and to my brothers horror, I placed it directly over the price tag on the large beautiful battle ship that I had decided was mine. ‘Now’, I declared, ‘I can buy it’. My poor little brother nearly had a heart attack there and then. Hissing at me, he told me I couldn’t do that, ‘It’s stealing’. ‘No it’s not, I replied, I’m paying for it’.
As he continued to protest I gave him the look. The big sister, I just might kill you if you say anything, look. He stopped speaking, but as we approached the til his little face began to redden. ‘What if they call the police?’, he said. Loosing patience I said ‘I will just say I’m sorry I thought that was the price’.
The two of us got to the til and queued up to pay. Little brother was a mess by now, sweating and almost crying. I was making sure I kept the pressure on with my,’don’t say a word’ looks so that he was more afraid of me than the shopkeeper. I remember reaching up and handing over the two toys and waiting while she calculated the price. There was a brief heart stopping moment when she looked a second time at my beautiful battle ship, but then she rang it up on the til, took our money and bagged up our toys.
I strolled, smiling triumphantly, out the door of the shop while my little brother ran out, I suspect in desperate need of the bathroom. I felt no pang of conscience when I showed my toy to my parents. Not a shred of guilt.
Remembering this story now, as an adult and a mother, I wonder what sort of a wild child was I? What was it made me care so little and my brother so much? As I look back tonight I am struck by the fact, that as I remember the robbery, I do so with all the feelings I had as a child.
And I still remember the joy of ‘buying’ my battleship.