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Friday, February 24, 2012

Pinching Other People's Things


I used to do it quite a lot when I was a kid. I wasn't allowed to read the Girls Crystal comic books that all the other girls at school used to talk about at playtime, and I felt very left out. But my parents didn't approve of ‘those rubbishy comics’; they wanted me to read good literature. (And I did, and loved it, and am forever grateful, But I wanted the rubbish too, or anyway to be part of the crowd.) Of course I wasn't allowed to take advantage of kind offers by some of the other girls to lend them to me, either. So I stole them from the corner shop. I used to hide them under my mattress and read them under the covers at night, with my Girl Guide torch.

Of course the day came when Mum turned the mattress, She waited for me to come home from school, and confronted me. Mum said, her whole life, ‘Oh, we never smacked the children.’ Selective memory? She spanked me that day with a hair brush, she was so enraged. I think it was not so much the morality of it as the ‘what would the neighbours say?’ by which she lived her life in those days.

After we’d both calmed down, she made me take the money for the one comic she had found to the shop, instructing me to apologise by saying, ‘I bought a comic and forgot to pay for it.’ What would she have said if she knew about all the others I had read and disposed of?

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