Who Did It? Confessions of Long Ago

clubhouse

It started out like any other evening. Our family gathered around the dining table to enjoy the meal my mother had prepared. After getting settled into our seats, we began discussing that day’s activities. We laughed and carried on as we normally do.

Then, my step-father reached over and picked up a piece of paper that was placed next to him. Until that moment I hadn’t noticed the paper sitting there. He unfolded it and began to read it aloud, for us all to hear. It was a notice from the main office of the town home development in which we lived.

In the center of our community, was a very nice two story club house. On the bottom floor was the office, pool tables and lounge seating. The second floor was off limits to unaccompanied minors, which included me as I was only eleven years old at the time.

The clubhouse was always kept in pristine condition. That is, until a few hoodlums went in and destroyed it. What they had done was summarized in the notice my step-father was reading. The clubhouse had been broken into and 80% of the inside had been vandalized. My parents were astounded and visibly upset over what had happened. My mother thinking out loud, asked “who would do such a thing?” I didn’t respond. I couldn’t.

It was me.

A couple of nights before, a friend of mine had stuck a small wadded up paper into the lock on the back door of the clubhouse. As planned, the paper blocked the lock from engaging, but to the naked eye the door appeared secured once closed. Right as the sun went down, four of us met up outside the clubhouse.

One by one, we quietly crept through the back door. All of the town homes were facing the clubhouse, so it was a risky undertaking. Because of that, we designated one of the guys to be on the lookout for people walking by.

As he stood behind the window keeping watch, we began our mission. Starting downstairs, we overturned the couches, chairs and tossed the cushions across the room. After a few minutes, that got boring so we headed upstairs.

Jackpot! Being ‘unaccompanied minors’, we had never been up there before. We started off by tipping the seats and tables. Then, someone ran into the bathroom and came back with rolls of toilet paper. We each took a roll and began to throw it over the edge. By the time we finished, the interior of the clubhouse looked like a winter wonderland of toilet paper.

A moment of guilt rushed over me as I peered over the edge of the top floor. What had we done? As I stood there stunned at my involvement in such a crime, my friend shouted, ‘Hey guys! Look!” In his hand were two large wine bottles. He offered me one. Not to drink, but to pour out onto everything. I turned him down, so another one in our group grabbed it from him. They proceeded to pour the wine over the ledge, landing onto the white couches below, drenching them and staining them red.

We looked around. Our mission was complete, and I felt horrible. I was absolutely sickened by what I had done. Doing something like that was not me. It was completely out of character. What had driven me to get involved in something like that?

As we stepped out the back door, the other three kids were laughing and bragging about what we had done. I wasn’t. There was nothing to laugh at. I turned away from them silently, and slowly walked home.

I went to bed that night hoping that it would be erased from my memory the next morning. Two days later, the notice was read at the dining table. Trying to control my breathing and my facial expressions, I sat in ultimate fear of my parents finding out that it was me. I waited, pacing back and forth in my mind, for them to get to the bottom of the letter. Would my name be listed? “Please no. Don’t let it be there,” I kept thinking.

The last thing on earth I wanted to do was to disappoint my mother. Jail didn’t scare me, community service didn’t bother me, but disappointing my mother was unforgivable in my eyes. My step-father reached the bottom of the notice and folded it back up. He hadn’t read my name aloud, but was it there? Was he waiting to pull me to the side later? Was it a trick to get me to confess?

No. No trick. Nothing was ever mentioned again. It didn’t need to be. In my mind, I paid for what I had done for years. Even writing this, 23 years later, I still feel the same guilt as I did back then. I could blame it on peer pressure, but it wasn’t. It was just me, being rebellious and acting out.

From that day, I developed a great respect for others and their property.

Lesson: Treat others as you would like to be treated, and treat everything as if it is your own.

 

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41 Responses to Who Did It? Confessions of Long Ago

  1. I’m so glad that you learned a lesson from it – and I bet you are a big supporter of teaching others respect for others property!

    Like

  2. Doobster418 says:

    Wow, I didn’t think you had it in you! But I guess we all have some tale of something stupid we did in our youth. In fact, your story has motivated me to write about something I did, and something for which I am terribly ashamed.

    Like

  3. Khai says:

    Eek! Did anyone ever fess up?

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  4. Had a similar experience – except one of the others was caught and gave up my name. I had my rights read to me, in my family kitchen, and ended up paying $500 for repairs. Even though all I think I did was remove the knobs from the stove.

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  5. April says:

    Wise words. I would have spilled the beans on myself. I fear looking over my shoulder more than dealing with my punishment and getting it over with. A good lesson would have been for the community to have y’all clean it up and work to repay anything that had to be replaced. But for now, forgiving yourself would be a wonderful step forward. 🙂

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    • mewhoami says:

      I agree. That would have been a great lesson. They had no idea who it was though and at only 11 years old, there was no way that I was going to fess up. The consequences for such a deed in a young person’s mind is too much to even fathom. Back then, I was probably thinking in terms of 20 years imprisonment. haha

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  6. No matter how long ago it was, it does us good to admit our mistakes and shames. I can imagine the weight of this all of these years. I hope the other three also ended up feeling the responsibility of what they did. This is certainly one to reflect on.

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    • mewhoami says:

      It does and in some strange sense, I feel like I’m being reprimanded in a few of the comments. We see things differently when we’re feeling guilt. Strange how that works isn’t it?

      I hope the other three felt guilt too, but after this incident I broke all ties with them. They weren’t good company to keep.

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  7. What a powerful piece of writing. So much to learn from it.

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  8. JF says:

    Here is a problem in many countries: when you give free apartments to needy people or rooms to homeless very often they are vandalized! If people get everything free there is no respect to others and their property!

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  9. suzjones says:

    I don’t think there is a person alive who doesn’t have something in their past that they are ashamed of. You were certainly brave writing about it and I hope that you have forgiven yourself now. Take care my friend.

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  10. pardenme says:

    Yeah, well, you are SO grounded!!!!

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  11. moi says:

    I wonder if your name was ever at the bottom of that paper?

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  12. Pingback: True confessions | Mindful Digressions

  13. marilynmunrow says:

    Wonderful blog sugar. I too have done things in my childhood, that i have carried in my memory only for years, and yes it does make me feel guilty, if i think about it. We have to remember though, we were kids then, and kids will be kids. Its still embarassing and yes, we will pay for this with guilt, but at least you did not kill anybody, you did not hurt anybody, and you certainly did not tell on your friends who did the deed with you. So, all in all, your morals are completely in order. You learned a big lesson in life, and that is respect for others and their property. I think you have been very brave to admit this. Most people would not. WEll done.

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    • mewhoami says:

      You’re right. Kids will be kids. We can’t beat ourselves up for what we did so many years ago, before we really new how serious our actions were. Also like you said, what I could have done could have been much worse. Thank you for this and also for the reBlog.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. marilynmunrow says:

    Reblogged this on Marilyn Munrow and commented:
    Wonderful blog sugar. I too have done things in my childhood, that i have carried in my memory only for years, and yes it does make me feel guilty, if i think about it. We have to remember though, we were kids then, and kids will be kids. Its still embarassing and yes, we will pay for this with guilt, but at least you did not kill anybody, you did not hurt anybody, and you certainly did not tell on your friends who did the deed with you. So, all in all, your morals are completely in order. You learned a big lesson in life, and that is respect for others and their property. I think you have been very brave to admit this. Most people would not. WEll done.

    Like

  15. gh0stpupp3t says:

    It’s good that you walked away home bc if you stayed you might have done more damage.. or worse the cops could have found you.

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  16. ally1lakeside says:

    We all have lessons in life that stay with us and I admire you for admitting this now. I cringe at some of the things I did as a naive shy teenager and still hold the guilt. You learned a big lesson back then and it has made you what you are today, a brave person with a conscience. Well done for admitting it.

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    • mewhoami says:

      Thank you. Like you, I cringe at things from the past. As children, we don’t realize the severity of our actions until years later. I suppose we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves, but it’s hard not feeling guilty. It was certainly a big lesson and I never did anything like that again.

      Liked by 1 person

      • ally1lakeside says:

        I agree, it is difficult to not feel remorseful because you were obviously brought up properly with respect for others and their properties. From reading your blog, what came across was, not just your guilt for what you were party to, but the fear of disappointing your parents and I think that is what you feared more. You learned a lesson for life but remember you were a child and stop beatinv yourself up x

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