400+ Year Old Longleaf Pine (Photo credit: ross.grady)
The earliest encounter with the police I can recall, occurred when I was 5-6 years old. The Chief of Police in our small town (Southern Pines, NC), lived next door. He was a genial fellow, like Andy Griffith. As my mom had three children, Chief MacDonald and his wife, who were older with no kids, took a shine to my sister Shelly and me.
We often visited Mrs Mac. One day when my Mom and Dad went somewhere? I took Shelly and we walked next door to Mrs Mac’s house for cookies and milk.
Being an intelligent little girl, I left my parents a note, which I wrote on a Kleenex, “Gon to Ms Macs.”
Later that year, my sister and I were roller skating in the park a couple of blocks from our house, when an old bum approached us. As we skated back and forth up and down a very long sidewalk that ran the length of the park, he stood at one end, and began to catch us, alternately swinging us around and sending us back up the walk. After a while, when he caught me, he asked me to “pull down my pants.”
I knew this was wrong, and I told the man to wait a minute. I then skated back up the walkway and told my sister to go home and “tell Mom.”
I was the oldest, and like a second Mom, so she generally did what I told her to do. After she skated away, I continued to skate up and down the sidewalk, letting the old man catch me and give me a swing, giving Shelly time to get home. When I thought she had been gone long enough to get home, I skated back down the walkway away from the man, and kept on skating toward my home.
I don’t know if he came after me or not, because my parents arrived in their car and rescued me. My 4-year old sister had skated home and told them about the old man.
Later my Dad and I rode around in Chief Mac’s car looking for the man. We found him in the process of walking out-of-town. When I spotted him I yelled, “There he is.” Later, after Chief Mac took Dad and me home, I think he arrested him for vagrancy.
Dad told me later, as the man “hadn’t done anything,” and I was a child, he thought maybe I had “made up the story.” So, based on what my Dad told them, they let the man go.