As part of my usual routine, I always read the Charlotte Observer early in the morning. Living in the Charlotte area, some of it contains local stuff of interest in it along with the world news.
One front page article on the local and state section really caught my eye and in reading, it kept my attention. It was a column titled "Mom led her kids on thefts". As I read on I found that she would in the dark, early hours of the morning, she would rouse her four children, ages 7-13 to go on adventures.
She would take them looking for unlocked doors at public buildings. As I read on and on, I quickly saw that she was not doing this based solely on need. Although they would at times get necessities, like toilet paper, gauze and even Gatorade. But when it read of computers, computer chairs and many others not needed for survival were taken, I could hardly believe it.
First, that she would involve her innocent children into doing this, but most important, the impression and long term damage she is or will have left these children with for her actions.
I was raised very modest. We always had a home, food, love and all the necessities, but very few of the extras that others had. My mother never worked during my brief years with her. She received what we learned to call mama's VA check. Whatever we needed or possibly wanted we were always told we will have to wait on the VA check.
Although that has now been over 50 years ago, I can still remember PO Box 113 and I still remember the combination. Suppose it was inbedded in my memory bank of my brain.
We didn't have a lot, so when our house burned when I was 8 and we lost everything we had, we had not lost much. The family Bible with the burned cover and smoked pages and smokey smell did survive. In my opinion that was not just a coincidence....
I was at the open air market that my Aunt and Uncle ran when the fire trucks went out that day. The town being so small, where everybody really does know everybody, I just jumped on my bicycle and headed out. The closer I got I could see black smoke and then even closer this 8 year old saw her first house fire. It was mine. My house.
The house was small and the fire pretty much spread so fast that the firemen couldn't really do much. I do know one was trying to keep my screaming, crying mother from going into the burning house. I think that hurt me lots more than the fire burning my house right before my eyes.
We had our clothes on our back and since it was on a school day and I had just gotten out, we did not lose our school books. What a relief, I had written many notes in mine. My mother being a woman who believed where there was a will, there was a way, so we didn't skip many beats until we had a new home. They didn't do poundings back then like they do now. Oh, poundings would have you everything you could need foodwise to supply your hunger needs for quite a while.
My mama managed to get us our necessites when the VA check came. It took her a while to get what she needed to make the home complete and certainly without having the thought of "taking something" that was not hers like the lady in the newspaper article possibly did. IF it were for need for those children, I can remotely understand, I would not condone it, but it sure would make me have a better understanding the manner of her actions.
That winter mama got me a new red coat. I loved that coat and ironically, it was a fire damaged salvage coat. That didn't make me no difference, I always loved that red coat that kept me so warm. She also got me and my brother flannel lined blue jeans for the winter and I can remember how good they wore and how warm they were. I would skip down the sidewalk just like I was the richest kid in Ellerbe.
Having said we always had what we needed, but not always had what we wanted. Once when we lived beside a school teacher, their daughters were my friends and one of the girls, Joann had this really neat pair of shoes. Since we lived in the sandhills there was plenty of sand and Joann's shoe soles would leave little patterned prints when she walked in the sand. For what ever reason I thought them was the coolest and neatest shoes I had ever seen. Being the kid I was I wanted a pair so bad! I wanted to tell my mama, but I just knowed she could not afford to get them. My kids wants were so strong that finally I told mama I wanted me a pair of shoes like Joann so bad.
At that time we did not have no car, so we always caught the bus behind the Firestone service station on the days the bus came through. After the next VA check came, mama said I think we will catch the bus and go to Rockingham and see if we can find you some of "those" shoes. AND.. that me and mama did. Ya know, I have no idea of what we may have had to do without that month because of my shoes or if we just had to charge more at Wilson's grocery store or mama had to charge the medicine she could get at the local little drug store, but I know that mama wanted me to have those shoes, but not bad enough to do wrong to make me happy.
May God Bless the children of this charged mother and may their character not be marred from the experience. God Bless this mother, give her the help she needs.
I had only 14 short years with my mama, but I do have memories of a loving mother, although she suffered from cancer the last five years of her short 46 years without the miracle drugs for pain, etc. we often times take for granted now days. Thank you mama for them shoes.