Scared Straight

My father loved to do impersonations even going so far as to dress-up as woman for Halloween one year, complete with kerchief, handbag, high heels and lipstick.  He had a funny schtick where he pretended to be a woman driver, putting on her makeup, and swerving all over the road (long before stereotypes and political correctness were noted).

Anyway, Dad fell in love with the comedy routines of Flip Wilson in the seventies. He roared with laughter when Flip took on the persona of Geraldine Jones. One of his favorites was The Devil Made Me Do It where Geraldine blamed the devil for her shopping habit which aired on the Ed Sullivan Show in January 1970.

I would have been almost 10 years-old, and it was about this time that a traveling exhibit came to town featuring the bullet riddled car of Bonnie and Clyde. Now, I have no proof that this was the actual car, but I know it seemed very real. My best friend, Karen, and I went to see the car together. And that night remains distinct in my memory. On the way home, we got really worried about our own criminal activities.

Being kids, who were mostly good, but sometimes bad, we had figured out a little scheme to make money. We knew that if you returned a soda bottle to the local A&P, they would give you a nickel. We noticed that there were a bunch of bottles outside the store, which really belonged to the store. We toted them inside, returned them as if they were our own, and collected a fistful of nickles. And then the guilt set in.

Between the Flip Wilson skit about the devil and the crime spree of Bonnie and Clyde which ended up with them both dead, well . . . we got pretty worried. As I recall, we returned to the store and replaced the bottles or something along those lines. Maybe we swore we'd never break the law again. All I know for ceratain is that we were both pretty sure we were going straight to hell.

So when I came across this sign at Manor Mart Flea Market, I looked at my husband and without batting an eye, said, That sign would work on me!

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