My childhood felt free as a bird. Sometimes we may have been a little too free and were prone to mass participation in mud fights, water fights, and clod fights as opportunity permitted.

Jessop kids seemed to know no fear. Our dare-devil escapades on bikes, in swings, on roofs, in trees, on mountains, and in water holes would probably have given our parents a few heart attacks if they had seen it all. It seemed like we always had something to do and boredom was virtually unknown. Rarely did anyone fall through the cracks, but sometimes naughty behavior resulted in the loss of privilege.

I recall one instance when my brother Nathan and I got punished with the withdrawal of dessert for helping ourselves to the pantry one too many times. We skulked off together and discussed at length the unfair persecution we were suffering at the hands of our mother. We concluded that all the rest of our siblings were her favorites since they were chuffing their fat faces full of Betty Crocker chocolate cake and sticking out their tongues showing off the disgusting evidence.

Nate and I decided that since nobody loved us, we would teach everybody a lesson and run away. Oh, how they would suffer when they didn’t see us again in this life. We planned a heist of one loaf of bread and a quart jar of canned peaches for our subsistence and set off down the creek.

We hid behind a sand bank for a couple hours and polished off our food supply while watching our spoiled rotten siblings run around whooping like wild Indians. Occasionally, Mother Ruth stepped outside to check on things, but nobody even seemed to notice our absence. That was a serious insult to our juvenile pride. Our planned retribution was having no effect whatsoever.

Nate and I discussed things further. We reasoned there was a slight possibility the punishment had fit the crime. We had recently digested the Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn and could relate to the adventuresome idea of living on the edge. It seemed only right for us to pay for a small percentage of our crimes.

After another hour when loneliness began to set in, we analyzed the possibility that perhaps our mother loved us a little bit after all. We decided to give our family one more chance to treat us right, and we returned to the fold forthwith.

From WHERE MUCH IS GIVEN

Autobiography by Maggie Jessop Jeffs
Coming soon on Amazon