Robert Lee Contributing Columnist
March 20, 2014
I now know that I was born and raised at a time in our country’s history that will never be seen again. It was at a time when you did not have to worry, as a parent, about your children.
Let me explain. It’s not that the parents did not have a concern about their children’s well-being, for parents have always worried to a certain degree about their children. It’s the fact that the people were caring human beings in the late 1950s and early ’60s.
Other parents cared for and looked out for all the children in the neighborhood. That was the reason why I, at 5 years old, could be a child and my parents did not have to worry about predators as parents have to today.
When I was 5 years old, my eyes were on everything. I took it all in. I was learning from what I was seeing. I remember seeing all the old men in our valley with key chains. They all had these big key chains that hung on their hips by their belts. Well, I wanted to be just like them. The only problem was that I did not know where to get keys.
The idea of having keys also made me think that I would be bigger if I had keys like the old men. For some reason, at 5 years old, I just wanted to be bigger and older than I was. I would trade everything that I own if I could only go back to the days of being that little boy that just wanted to be a big boy. Because as it turned out, being a big boy was not what I thought it was going to be. As far as that goes, is anything ever what we think it should be? I think not. But you just make the best of it and go on with your life as I did at the age of 5.
Keys, I want keys but where are they to be found? I asked my parents, but they had only the keys that they needed for the house and the truck. Car keys. I lit up like a bulb. I know where to find keys. The question for keys was on. I was on the prowl for keys. Nothing could stop me in the quest for keys. I would have keys before the day was out, and I did.
By the end of the day, there was no man, young or old, in our valley that had as many keys as I did. I had a candy bag full of keys. I was on top of the world for about an hour before my world and my butt came apart. Where did the keys come from, you ask?
Well, it started off with the junk yard that we lived near. Just about every car or truck that I came to still had one or two keys in it. I could not have been any happier. I was on a role. I have keys. Then it happened. I was transformed into a key junkie. I was hooked. I had to have more. Where was I going to find more?
The light bulb popped on again. The idea was to be my downfall. The idea got my butt busted and I don’t mean just caught. For I got my little butt torn up for it. The idea was simple enough. I would just go from house to house and take the keys out of the cars and trucks, and I did. Any house that had a car in the yard was fair game to me.
You see, back in those days people were more trusting than they are now, so why think that the keys were going to walk off on their own?
Well, they did on that day — with my help.
Needless to say, on that day in 1959, I lost the desire for the quest for keys.