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My father died when I was seven years old and my mother remarried when I was around ten. I didn't get along too well with my stepfather and when I entered my teen years, I began running away from home. I was not alone, I was always accompanied by a boyfriend. One time, a boy and I ran away to his relatives in the Carolina's but for some reason, the next three times I ran away was to New York City! The boy I was with was several years older, so I deferred to his opinion often. Ah, how I remember the excitement of all the activity in Times Square. We had some money initially, but that was soon depleted and we had to resort to stealing food in order to survive. This was back around 1968 and at that time, when you ordered food to go from a restaurant, they gave you the food first and you paid after. So, I would go inside the establishment and place our order while my boyfriend was outside waiting in case a distraction was called for. I would get the food, then run out the door without paying, after all, we had zero money. One time, a worker chased me out the door and my boyfriend intercepted long enough for me to get away. That was how we were able to eat. I swear it's because of people like me that restaurants began asking for the money first and then providing the food. The other scary part was in finding places to sleep. I remember sleeping during the day in Central Park. When the prospects soured, we would return home only to run away again shortly thereafter. The third time we went to New York City, we had a car. Unfortunately, it just so happened to be stolen. Since I didn't know how to drive, my boyfriend did the driving. We also stole some money, so we were good for awhile. The worst part was having to constantly move the car to a parking spot. When the money got low, we returned to our home state, but to one of his friend's apartments. We parked the car a few blocks away. One day, while I was going to obtain some of our belongings from the car, a man asked me my name and I gave a fake name. He saw right through me and I was arrested for a runaway, stubborn child, and stolen car. Thank goodness I was a juvenile so the stolen car didn't stick. However, I wound up being sent to a juvenile detention center for six months. Afterward, I was placed into an all girls boarding school run by nuns. All of the girls were assigned jobs to do and they would vary. Sometimes, you worked in the kitchen or for the priest, etc. We also had an infirmary at the school and I was working there for some time. I planned to finish my schooling and do my time, but, alas, the wanderlust struck and I was itching to run away, this time from the boarding school.
We were in upstate New York for one of the nun's Feast Day celebration at a picnic area when four of us decided to make a run for it. We ran out of the woods and followed the road. As it began to get dark, we decided to hitchhike. How stupid of us, we didn't know it was illegal and there were four teenagers thumbing so apparently, someone saw us and called the police. What I neglected to tell you was that, prior to this, I had worked in the infirmary and I stole some pills and a hypodermic needle. Mind you, I, nor anyone with me, ever did intravenous drugs. That's not why I took it. I just thought it looked cool and we would sometimes jab it into and orange, extract some juice, then carefully squirt the juice into our mouth without getting stabbed. So now, we are being arrested for hitchhiking and they get the story out of us that we are four runaways from the nuns! We were brought to a small police station, so small, two of us sat on the floor while being interrogated. I was petrified I was going to be frisked at some time and that the police would find the pills and the needle on me! Lucky for me, I was sitting near a waste basket. Every once in a while, when they were not looking my way, I would empty some items out of my pockets and surreptitiously throw them in the trash. Somehow, I managed to ditch the contraband without getting caught.
The police chief brought us to his house and had his wife fix us a decent meal before he locked us up for protective custody for the night. They called the nuns who planned to make the lengthy trip to bring us back to the boarding school the next day. While in jail, I found out that the females were kept upstairs and the males were kept downstairs. The most amazing discovery, however, was the fact that the men could speak to the women via the vent behind the toilet. That was hilarious! Well, I wound up talking at length to an inmate and got his address and we made plans to meet someday. The nuns arrived at some point the next day and brought us back to the school. I buckled down and did well, graduating with the highest grade in the school. When I got back home to civilian life, I began to correspond through the mail with my jail mate and we actually had a date. We went to the beach and had a great time, but, to this day, I don't know what ever happened to him.