Posted by on Jun 13, 2011 in Personal | 2 comments

I don't know how long I stood there, wanting.  Ten minutes might as well be forever to a kid.  I walked the aisle up and down, stopping in front of the arts and crafts supplies and desperately wanting to slip the box off the shelf and into my pocket. 

"Would anyone notice?" I wondered.

I'm not sure how old I was but Mama died when I was nine, so I'm sure it was before then; it was when we still lived at 1-7-5-Baxter-Drive-Apartment-J-7.  I definitely knew right from wrong.

We'd blow our allowance at Eckerd's Drugs down the hill and to the right, Hershey bars or Wrigley's gum, Juicy Fruit or Doublemint.  Sometimes we'd buy nail polish or incense or Tiger Beat magazine.  I loved Donny Osmond.

I didn't have enough money for modeling clay, but I wanted it so badly I stood there seriously considering becoming a thief.  I reached for a box and turned it over in my hands, sizing it up and calculating how conspicuous it would be shoved in my hip pocket and how quickly I could make it out the door.

My tell-tale heart was thundering in my ears and I wondered if anyone else could hear.

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I left empty-handed that day and I'd be lying if I said I felt good about my decision.  Now, of course, I am, but then?  I was just disappointed and frustrated.  I never told anyone that I was an almost-shoplifter, and I felt guilty even though I didn't follow through.

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Screen shot 2011-06-13 at 2.25.50 PM Some time later I got some modeling clay; I don't remember if it was a gift or I actually saved the money for it, I just know I had it. 

I worked it until it was soft; then I rolled coils.  Carefully curling and shaping them, I formed a beautiful vase.

I put it in our Suzy Homemaker oven to bake it like the clay bowl I made mama in first grade at school.

I can still feel the shock of opening the door and discovering it melted instead.

I was devastated.

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I have so few childhood memories, I'm intrigued these two linger.  Somehow two stories about clay remain present when so many others are swallowed by the past.  I wonder if these stories, these glimpses, are more about my own becoming, than they ever were about clay.

This is the first time I haven't known how to end a blog post….