I Stole a Nickel Pack of Gum in 1955

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I wanted a piece of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit gum.

 At age had 5 I tasted that mouth watering gum a few times before.

Standing in the grocery store line with my father I spotted the display of the yellow packages of chewing gum. I wanted to experince that fruity goodness in my mouth.

Yes, I wanted that gum.

I could taste it in my salivating mouth.

I asked my daddy to get the gum for me, but he said, “No, not  unless you have your own nickle to buy it.”

I wanted that gum!

I took that gum in my little hand just before we walked out of the store onto the sidewalk.

It was so easy to grab and go.

I remember the little pull strip sticking out just enough to pinch between my fingers to tear open the nickel package of gum.

With 6 sticks of the sweet smelling cheiwing delight exposed, I offered to share a piece with my dad.

“Where did you get that from? I told you no you could not have it!”

I hated it when I made my father angry. He was very angry.

“Give me that young lady, right now!”

He snatched the gum right out of my hands… but.. it was mine!

Daddy ripped out every stick of gum from the foil wrappers only to shove them all into his own mouth. He smacked on that gum with his mouth opening wide so I could see the chewed on pieces and the sugary juice dripping out onto his lips.

I was Daddy’s right hand man. How could he take all of my gum! What if he did not love me anymore?

Daddy pulled me by the hand to march me back into the store.

“Excuse me, my daughter is a thief. She owes you a nickle for the gum she stole from the store.”

Heads turned.

Some one had a radio blaring.

Tennesse Earnie Ford was singing, “You load sixteen tons and what do you get? Another day’s older and deeper in debth. Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go-o-o-o-o! I own my soul to company store.”  http://youtu.be/Joo90ZWrUkU

I hung my head low, ashamed to be a thief.

Not only was I embarrased that I had not listened to my father’s words about not getting gum…

…But, I abruptly understood why the buckles on my leather shoes were on the inside and not the out side….

…The buckles caught on each other causing me to stumble and fall on my face. My short little dress fipped up over my behind.

The boy who sacked the groceries saw my underpanties. He laughed, adding insult to injury.

Dad paid for the gum even when the checker said it was OK. My dad insisted that I had to learn a lesson to never steal again.

I worried about getting to start Kindergarten soon and having my class mates know I was a thief. I could see my self with a black and white striped pirson uniform.

I would be the only Kindergartener dragging a 16 ton ball and chain.

I wanted to die!

Now, the world knows I am a thief. I published  the 1955 incident on the internet! I can’t take back the confession.

That poor choice did haunt me the rest of my life as Daddy had predicted. Little did I know at the time that all kids take what they want when they are are 3, 4, 5 years old.

  • It is a normal learning experience.
  • The normal part does not make it right.
  • All parental figures have to take the initiative to nip that behavior in the bud.
  • My father did the right thing by being harsh with me so I could learn right from wrong.
  • I am grateful that my father loved me enough to set the boundaries.

Over the decades whenever I hear the song Sixteen Tons I salivate…just like Pavlov’s dogs. Only I taste Juicy Fruit gum.

Now it is your turn

How did you learn right from wrong? How did you feel when you got caught in a mistake when you were 5? Are there any senses that stick with out about what you did wrong?

I am Malika Bourne the No Non-cent Nanna saying, “Make good choices.”


 The image is of me when I was about 5 years old. wiht the name of Nancy Bakehous. This was photographed by Ken Rene’ Studio, my father copyright 1955. All rights reserved by the Bakehouse sisters.


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Source: Nanna’s Spot (Archive)