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Wednesday, November 21, 2001
      ( 7:15 PM ) Jackie  

A Birthday present for Choire

There are many things I've done that are embarrasing and of which I am ashamed. This one still looms large for me, probably because it was my first experience of shame about something I had control over.

When I was in second grade I went to St. Anastasia Catholic School in Waukegan, IL. In order to get there my sister and I walked down Park Avenue to Camp Logan Road. There we turned right and walked up the hill to Sheridan Road. We crossed Sheridan Road, a very busy road. The place we crossed was close to where my father was killed. Once across the street we took the bus, which cost 20 cents.

In the winter I had little mittens with a string through the arms of my coat. I kept my bus fare in my mitten.

Once we climbed onto the bus, we put our fare into a box where it jangled down into the bottom. One morning I put only 18 cents in the box and kept the remaining two cents in my mitten. When I got to school I put the money in my coat pocket. After school I bought candy with the money.

This worked so well that the next day I did the same thing. This time the bus driver stopped me and told me I hadn't put enough money in the box. He asked if I still had it in my mitten.

It may be hard to believe that this was horribly embarassing and that I was filled with shame. But that's the truth. I stole money, I bought stuff I wasn't supposed to, and I stole again. Getting caught and having to admit my sins not only in confession but in front of everyone on the bus was terrible.

Happy Birthday, Choire!

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Words and photos from Jackie in Oakland, CA. More I cannot tell you ... I won't know what it is until I do it.

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