.It was the summer of 1960, the summer I turned 13. I went several days a week to a swim club to meet my friends. My mother drove me there and picked me up every time I went. I would go across the street to a toy store to use the phone to call my mother and wait there for her to pick me up. The owner of the store was nice to me. He made me feel grown up. He talked to me and said nice things. I started swimming and hanging out with my friends less and hanging out at the toy store longer before I called my mother.
At some point during the summer he asked me if I wanted to work for him there a few hours a week. I asked my mother if I could and she said no. She told me that I could not go to the toy store any more to use the phone. I was mad. I thought she was being unfair. I wrote "I hate Mother" on pieces of cardboard and put them all over the house. She turned them all over and wrote "I love Jeanie" on the other side and didn't come close to changing her answer.
My mother never went into the toy store, never met the owner who was nice to me, but she knew. He was being nice to me for a reason. He wanted me to work in the store for a reason. His reasons were not good. It was not until I looked back on the toy store owner's behavior years later that I realized what my mother knew when I was 13.
The 12th of this month would have been my mother's 96th birthday. She died at 51 when I was 18. I didn't get to have her long enough, but I was lucky to have her as long as I did.