Seems like everyone around me these days has a police record….
What gives, I wondered?
What’s up with that?!
My record is basically lily white and at my age and temperament,
it is likely to stay that way.
Or so I thought...
As I pondered this oddity, it came to me, a bit belatedly,
that I actually had had a couple of early run-ins with the law!
I actually had a police record! I, indeed!
So much for thinking I was above the rest...
Once more, the joke was on me…
Now, this was not a record that a criminal would be proud of...
Oh No…not at all!
And so, donning the lens of judiciary perception, I began to recall
a rather lengthy and disorderly history of run-ins with the law
that I had conveniently banished to the recesses of my subconscious.
I’m pretty sure, given the time span involved, that I can no longer
be held accountable for these crimes due to statute of limitation laws.
So it is safe to confess my crimes at long last...
The list runs as long as my 3 year old arm...
I started out breaking out of jail at the earliest opportunity....
jail being my parents’ home.
I would sneak back in for meals and sleep, but I needed to be certain
at all times that I could break free again.
I had places to go...things to do!
From time to time, I would get caught.
I gave my folks a terrible fright now and then!
They would put their heads together in an effort to contain me.
They installed more and better locks, they reinforced windows, the works!
I made it my business to outwit them at every turn.
I practiced constantly, honing my skills, primarily those of disguise ie:
wearing my mother’s dresses and heels, subterfuge (I could spell it
at that tender age), accepting bribes of candy from the night shift factory workers with whom I visited in the pre-dawn hours, duplicity
and breaking and entering upon my return.
My criminal behavior escalated, however, when I followed the milk
delivery van by our house very early one morning.
Thinking that I might bribe my folks with a gift of milk if caught,
and mimicking my mom’s borrowing of a cup of sugar, etc. from the lady
next door, it seemed reasonable enough to borrow the neighbor’s milk jug.
The theft of that milk bottle landed me in the emergency room with shards
of evidence embedded in my arms after I fell forward from the weight of it.
The punishment seemed to fit the crime and I was released with a stern warning.
There was a period of peace after that....even reform, once the nuns
got hold of me in Catholic school-the Penitentiary of earliest reckoning.
But, as I said, I was reforming myself pretty handily.
I had made a bold turnaround and was bent on becoming Saint Debbie
before something worse could happen.
But it wasn’t long before I found myself in the back of a police cruiser,
headed back to jail once again!
“Er…Mr. and Mrs. Rouse? Is this your daughter?” intoned the burly officer.
Wide-eyed and gape-mouthed, my folks alternately glared at me
and made confused gesticulations toward the good officer.
They had no idea that I was pounding pavement at 5am on a frosty
Green Bay morning.
“I was just on my way to church!” I cried woefully.
"Was that against the law?!"
Apparently I appeared to be on the slippery edge of somebody’s law!
Discussions regarding jurisdiction ensued!
Whose law prevailed? The city ordinances, my folks or God’s?
They, being unprepared for this level of complexity, faltered ever so briefly.
There was a moment’s pause-a costly mistake, from which I snatched
From that time forward, my folks had to let me attend 5:45 am daily Mass
and the police agreed to keep an eye out for me.
From time to time, my patience and my parents’ exasperation were tested when an officer, new to the beat, would pick me up for questioning
and the scene would be repeated at my parents’ house.
But, each time, the law held firm.
Keeping my record clean these days…
Debra Robinson/ firstname.lastname@example.org