Childhood Misdeeds…

T I M E   T R A V E L   T U E S D A Y

Today’s post will be part time travel, part confessional. I was involved in a few shameful incidents in my past. Before you think too badly of me, let me explain…

TRICK OR TREAT FOR UNICEF

I’m not sure if this is practiced anymore but back in the 1960’s somebody had a wonderful idea to combine Halloween with UNICEF. UNICEF, for those of you who might not know, stands for, UNITED NATIONS INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN’S EMERGENCY FUND. It was established in 1946 to help with children’s health care, clean water, nutrition, education, protection and emergency relief needs around the world.

NEW YORK SUBURBS SOMETIME IN THE 1960’s

At the end of the school day on Halloween, children were each given a small orange cardboard container with the words UNICEF printed clearly on the side. We were given the instructions to take the container around with us to each house on Halloween and say, “Trick or Treat for Unicef.” The homeowner would then give us candy as well as a monetary donation for UNICEF. After Halloween, the UNICEF containers would be collected at school. Sounds like a great idea, right? — Children helping children. Well, more like children helping themselves. I distinctly remember never returning my orange container full of coins. It wasn’t sinister, mostly just lazy. It sat on my shelf for months until I made a firm decision to just forget about it, returning it at that point would be embarrassing. That’s right, I emptied the contents and threw away the container. THE SHAME OF IT!!!! (I’m not sure why mom wasn’t aware of the incident – she must have been watching Dinah Shore or Merv Griffin while I was tormented with bouts of guilt, knowing that God would punish me for my misdeed.) In truth, I think it only totaled around $8.00, but still, that’s not the point.

I fear Audrey Hepburn would have thought me a disgrace.

CARNIVAL FOR THE CANCER SOCIETY

 This time I was not to blame. It was out of my hands quite literally. My older sister and two neighbors decided to have a carnival on our street and give the proceeds to the Cancer Society. I was more of a worker bee, definitely not the brains behind this enterprise. We went around to different stores in town and asked if they would donate items to our carnival, explaining that the proceeds would go to the Cancer Society. We also asked neighbors to bake cookies and treats for the carnival. We spent a great deal of time making posters to advertise this great event. There would be lots of games, a bake sale, a raffle, etc. And by “etc.” I mean I don’t remember what else we had going on at the carnival. (A petting zoo would have been a fun addition but we didn’t have any adults helping us, oh well.) In my simple child mind I envisioned a carnival to rival ‘Six Flags’ or ‘Playland.’

The day came and it was a bit of a disaster. It was sort of rainy as I recall, and very few people showed up. I forgot to mention, the carnival took place at the end of my driveway. So here we were with a table full of sweet treats, prizes that the stores had donated and really, only a handful of people participating. It was a failure.

So what did we do with the items that the stores had donated? If memory serves, I think we (the carnival workers) kept them. I personally think we should have returned the stuff back to the stores, but maybe it was just crappy stuff anyway that they didn’t care about? I don’t know. I don’t remember. I assume that whatever money was made that day was sent to the Cancer Society, at least I hope it was. I already felt like a creep for keeping my UNICEF money. I certainly didn’t need another shameful incident on my record.

A MINOR UNRELATED INCIDENT OF SHAME

I was hired as a waitress at The Goody Shop, during my teen years. I had no experience whatsoever. On my first day, after I had taken orders from two tables, I decided this line of work was not for me and I snuck out of the restaurant, never to return. To this day, I wonder if those people are still waiting for me to deliver their food and drinks. Believe it or not, this still haunts me.

Now, after 40 years of feeling icky, I’m ready to let these memories go. I finally feel free!

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