On How I Was Taught Not to Steal

When I was five, we moved to a very small town in southern Minnesota called Fulda.  Once we moved into our house, my mom figured that we would need a spare key.  And so, we went to the local hardware store to get said key.

Now, as any five year old girl does, I really enjoyed to play pretend; I especially loved to play house.  It was pretty much my favorite pass time.

When we arrived at the desk where they cut the keys, I noticed the most amazing display I had ever seen.  A full, spinning rack of shiny, gorgeous KEYS!  I could play house, play pretend car/driver, play shop owner, and so much more if I had all of those keys!  WOW!

I did not see a price tag.  (I probably could just barely read, as well, but who’s keeping track?)  I did not see the lady who runs the store.  In fact, I did not see anything wrong with just taking those shiny beauties to aid me in my imaginations. So, I slipped probably five or six of them in my pocket.  Easy peasy.  No harm, no foul, and so on.  Such was the logic of a five year old.

I kept my hand in my pocket, wrapped around those keys as tight as I could hold them, to prevent them from jingling and jangling.  While I did not see anything wrong with taking those keys, I somehow also knew that I could not tell my mom that I had taken them.  This worked until we got home, and I had to take my coat off inside.  I tried waiting until my mom left the entry way at home, but she was in a hurry, I do not remember why or what it had to do with me taking my coat off, but for whatever reason, she would not leave the entry way without making sure I had taken my coat off.

“Savanah.  Is there some reason you don’t want to take your coat off in front of me?”


“Take your coat off.”

And so, I took my coat off, and wouldn’t you know it…

*jingle jingle jangle jangle*

…all of the keys fell to the floor from out of my pocket.  I was caught.

I do not remember the exact sequence of events to follow, but I do know that my mom brought me back to the hardware store to return the keys.  I cried, I begged, I pleaded.  I was ashamed, embarrassed, mortified!  I did not want to face the woman I had *gulp* stolen from!

“Please don’t make me go back!  PLEASE!”

But she made me, and I did.  The lady was really very understanding, and she forgave me.  Since that day, I never stole again.  I learned from an early what was wrong and right, and the shame one feels when getting caught doing something you are not supposed to.

And that’s how I was taught not to steal.


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