Growing up in Ely, 1952.
In the summer of 1952, I wandered into the Economy Drug store (owned by Ray Miller’s dad. Ray became our class valedictorian in 1962). My cousin, Dick Horton was with me. We perused to shelves. As we were about to leave, I spotted a notebook and ballpoint pen, which I suddenly could not live without. In1952, kids didn’t have money in their pockets; so I palmed the goods and began to sneak out. Mr. Miller shouted out for us to stop. He made us sit in two folding chairs by the pharmacy.
After a few minutes he picked up the phone and called somebody. I heard him say, “Tom, I’ve got two thieves here at the store. Can you come get them?” After another few minutes Sherrif Tom McGlaughlin showed up, took us by the shirt collars and put us in the back of the cop car. A short ride later, we were at the county courthouse (and jail). He “booked” us and put us in one of the empty cells. By this time, I’m blubbering away about how sorry I was. He told me to be quiet.
At 5 O’clock, I heard my Uncle Dutch Horton talking to the sheriff. They were speaking loudly enough for us to hear them. Sheriff Tom asked my uncle what he should do with us. I almost peed my pants when I heard him say, “Just keep ’em here for the night and I’ll let you know.”
But a few minutes later the sheriff came and got us. We then got a
version of the “What Boys Need to Know About Growing Up” talk. When Dutch dropped me off at home, I had to promise that I would never take what wasn’t mine. I’ve never forgotten him saying, “He who takes what isn’t his’n, must give it back or go to prison.”
I’m the lone survivor of this story. I thought I should share it now, even if I was “the bad guy.”
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