When I was about sixteen, five of my girlfriends and I went shopping at White Front (which was a discount chain store, similar to K-Mart or Wal Mart of today) to buy some last minute accessories, as we were planning on going to a dance at the local Teen Canteen...
The girls I was with, were girlfriends my Mother did not approve of, and did not like me associating with them. I was going to tell Mom I was spending the night with one of them, and then we would tell her Mom we had permission, and my girlfriend and I would be driven to the dance by her older sister and her girlfriend.
Dad rarely said anything derogatory about my friends, but for the most part, would back up Mom's decisions, as she was pretty much the disciplinarian.
I wanted to buy a head band, but if I did, I would not have enough money to pay my way in to the dance. I asked my girlfriend if she had any extra money she could lend me. Another of my friends over heard our conversation, and suggested we each steal some thing. She told us she does it all the time, and gave us tips on how to do it.
I had never stolen anything, except a piece of hard candy from a grocery store bin. When my Dad discovered I had taken the candy, he marched me back to the store and made me confess to the store manager. The candy was only a penny, but Dad insisted on paying it, despite the manager telling him it was all right. Dad made me pay him back out of my piggy bank.
I was very nervous, and have never been a good liar. I had become Catholic at age 7, so guilt and I were well acquainted...
Everyone had selected what they were going to take and broke into pairs. I was certain I had red neon letters flashing on and off on my forehead....letters that spelled, "This girl is stealing a headband". I was so afraid, nervous, and my gut was SCREAMING at me to put my hair in a pony tail and forget the head band...
Everyone had left the store, and were waiting for me in the parking lot. I decided to ignore my gut, because that head band would look so "bitchen" with my flip hair do...much better than a pony tail, which would make me look like Dumbo, with my big ears sticking out...
As I passed the front doors, feeling safe, I began to run toward my girlfriends who were already in the car. I could see two of them kneeling on the back seat staring at me. I began to feel nervous like they might leave me. Just then, I felt a strong hand grab my arm and before I could turn around, I saw my girlfriends drive off in the car.
My heart was pounding. I knew I had been caught. The store detective looked down at me and asked to look in my purse. I opened it up and knew it had to have been the neon sign on my forehead...
He took the head band and ushered me into a back room of the store. He asked for my parent's phone number. There was a woman and another man also in the room, sitting at a table. He called and I heard him say my Dad's name. He spoke in a hushed voice. The detective hung up the phone and turned to tell me, "Your Father is on his way".
When Dad arrived, his face tense and pale, wearing sweat pants with a soiled tee shirt, something he would NEVER do normally. He would dress up just to go to the grocery store. I immediately started crying. I will never forget the look on Dad's face. He asked for the detective and then rushed toward the detective and thrust out his hand. Dad pumped his hand in profuse gratitude, thanking him for not calling the police.
Dad assured the detective, I would be given appropriate punishment. I felt like dirt under a doormat. Dad lead me out of the room, not saying a word. When we reached the parking lot, I noticed all the seats from the VW had been removed except for the driver's seat. Dad had literally been in the midst of cleaning out the car.
I climbed inside and sat on the floor of the car. Dad would not even look at me. We drove the short distance back home, but it felt like the drive was much longer than it was in reality. Dad pulled in the driveway, the car seats, canister vacuum, rags, and a bucket were all sitting in the driveway. I followed him into the house and my mother stood in the kitchen doorway with her hands on her hips. She looked very angry.
I followed Dad into their bedroom, and he closed the bedroom door. I sat on their bed and Dad stood at the door for a few minutes, his back to me. I sniffed and apologized, promising I would NEVER do it again...Dad turned and looked at me. I could not look at him, and looked down at my tear stained Capri's.
"Donna, I am very disappointed in you!" was all Dad had to say. I would have rather have him beat me with a chair leg. I could not feel lower or more rotten if he had picked me up on a street corner soliciting...I sobbed hysterically.
I don't remember how long I was restricted to my yard, or what punishment I received, obviously I did not go to the dance... All I remember is how much I had disappointed my Father, and it had a huge impact on me. That day, I knew I would never do anything to make my Father feel that way ever again. I knew a life of crime was NOT for me.