If It’s Not Yours Don’t Take It

I’m guessing I was probably in the 3rd grade and Kenny was in the 5th. Mr. Henniger was the principal at Pond Springs School, the little 3 room school we attended in Jollyville.

After we ate our lunch each day, in Mr. Henniger’s office there was a chest type deep freezer where he kept ice cream bars. If you had your nickel you could buy a ice cream sandwich or a fudgesicle to eat out on the playground. After we finished our lunch, we would go in there and line up and watch as he unlocked the freezer with a key on the big key chain attached to his belt.

One of the big boys discovered the unlocking business was all for show. If you push down hard the lid would fly up. So it became the thing to do after he would “lock up” and head to the playground they would go through and help themselves. The younger ones followed suit and I was a younger one.

After a few days, I the inventory wasn’t working out. Perhaps someone ratted out the thievery or he stood back and watched. Either way, a bunch of kids were called in for a good talking to.

We were each told to go home and tell our parents what we had done and then have parent could come up to the school for a conference.

With dread, Kenny and I went home and told our mother. I’m not sure if Cecil was ever included in this. The next morning she took us to school and went in and talked to Mr. Henniger. Not a conversation she delighted in I’m sure. I don’t remember what restitution was required but just having to go home and tell her was punishment enough.

Out of the other dozen or so other culprits, no one else ever told their parents, therefore no other parent ever showed up to talk to Mr. Henninger. Nothing else ever happened.

Kenny and I thought the whole thing didn’t seem that fair. But in the big picture, the two of us learned a lesson. Don’t take anything that doesn’t belong to you. When something happens, face it head on and get it over with. Nothing is hardly ever as bad as you imagine it will be. Kind of felt bad that we didn’t the right thing and none of the others had to face up to it.

But if we had done like all the others, I wouldn’t have this memorable story to tell almost 60 years later. I bet none of the others even remember it happening.

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