I've told stories of my early childhood travels before and this is yet another one that occurred in 1955, when I was four. It keeps popping into my mind so much lately that I thought I would share. I don't remember what state we were in, but it was either New Mexico or Arizona. It's about a bad little boy that was too smart for his own good. Yes. I am talking about me.
We parked our Vagabond in the trailer park as usual. This park had a Laundromat which all in the park could use. This was desert country and there was an Indian reservation close by. The people from the reservation would come and use the Laundromat as well. The tribe owned a bus to get about the area. Mom and Dad had gone to town and left me home to play, I know, today the police would arrest them for that. But you see everyone in trailer parks looked out for one another back then.
I saw their bus pull in ntothe Laundromat and off jumped six kids along with a big lady. I was excited about playing with them, so away I went to greet them. We were having all kinds of fun, and then we got thirsty. Water was free but the pop machine in Laundromat was more enticing than water. You might have guessed we had no money. Wanting to keep my new found friends happy, I said that I had money. Where is it, they asked
I told them I would be right back. I knew my mother’s hiding place--- where she would hide money from dad so we could eat when he didn't get much work or lost it gambling. I climbed up on the kitchen sink counter and found the jar in the cabinet above. There was lots of change, so I took it all and put the bills in my little billfold which I carried in my hip pocket always. You see dad would give me a dollar every time he came home from a job and that’s why I had a billfold. After getting back to the Laundromat, I bought all the kids pop.I was the big shot spender!
After more playing, it was time for them to leave and then I noticed my billfold was gone. They helped me look with no avail. I knew I was in trouble now. I was just showing the bills off to my friends and I planned to put it back in the jar.
I was mad and scared. I kept telling them that "You guys know where it is, so give it back!" I followed them onto the bus and away we went to the reservation. We went down this red, dusty road until I saw lots of little houses on both sides of the road that all looked alike. There was just one road in and out; we stopped at the very last house. The kids kept telling me not to let their mom see me because she would be very mad. She was a scary looking to me anyway. So it was easy to stay out of sight!
The rest of this story is my mother’s side of it. When mom and dad got home they found me missing, and were frantic!. The search was on, two sheriff's department cars, three highway patrol cars and the tribal chief of the reservation knew where to go..
They started a house to house search until they arrived at the last house. That's where they found me, a little dark kid in bed with six other dark skinned kids sound asleep. The lady did not even know I was there when they arrested her. Mom said she had my billfold with the money still in it. I told them she didn't take it, but that didn't help her. They let her go the next day. Again dad hooked the truck to the trailer and away we went to another state. I got so tired of traveling as a child.