Call the cops

400+ Year Old Longleaf Pine

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.


16 thoughts on “Call the cops

  1. Let’s hope that being arrested frightened him off approaching any other little girls.

    What a fantastic sister you proved yourself to be from an early age. You dealt with the situation really well, but I’m sad the adults didn’t take your accusation seriously.

    When I was 12 I stood at a lonely bus stop waiting for my school bus. That day the rain poured out of the sky as I waited. I looked up the hill and watched for the bus, and as I did so a car swerved slightly on it’s approach of me, as if it were braking heavily in the rain. The man stopped the car right next to me and offered me a lift. I politely said no thanks and then pointed out that my bus was at the top of the hill and he sped off.
    He didn’t frighten me but I thought it was odd so I told my teacher who called the police. The police asked me for details but I could only tell them the car was a blue saloon and the man was probably between 50 and 60. They told me that if something like that should ever happen again I should note down the registration number of the car. They said he probably meant me no harm but he shouldn’t offer young girls lifts.
    A few weeks later it was raining cats and dogs again and as I watched for my bus I saw a blue saloon approaching me, swerving once again.
    The man stopped the car and offered me a lift. It was, of course, the same man. Again I politely said, “No thanks.” But that time the man lost his patience and aggressively ordered me to “Get in the car!” I refused and he started to open his door and I really believed that he was about to attempt to force me into the vehicle. Luckily though my bus again appeared at the top of the hill and I told him this and he fled.
    I wrote down the registration details.

    I arrived at school visibly shaken. The teacher called the police but the police decided I must be fabricating the whole thing without doing any checks. They wouldn’t even take the registation details down.

    I was a good kid with good grades and no history of lying.

    Fortunately we moved house shortly after. I was really afraid standing at that bus stop after that.


    • After THE WAR there were many demobbed guys without jobs. They wandered from place to place picking up work where they could find it. Still they had no right to pick up litle girls.

      For a long time, I think many people were in denial about the dangers children faced from adults. Your story made me angry.


  2. That was a close call! So many kids today would not have survived that. It appears you have had a good head on your shoulders from an early age.


  3. I was about the same age as you, four or five. a Miami policeman and his family lived behind us in a new housing development, I was good friends with the daughter of the policeman we played together almost everyday. My Daddy had given me a new fishing rod for my birthday and I showed it to my friend. I kept it in a kind of cupboard at the back of our carport. It wasn’t locked ,our neighborhood seemed safe and besides we had a cop behind us. My rod went missing shortly thereafter, I was heartbroken, no money to replace it I was lucky to get one in the first place.One week-end I was playing with my friend in her carport and her Daddy was putting away some tools in their cupboard when I spotted my rod I yelled” that’s my new fishing rod!” He slammed the door shut and said no it wasn’t. I went straight home and told my Mama. She told me not to tell my Daddy as he would have gone over there and started a fight and ended up in jail. Hard lessons to learn at an early age.


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