February 12, 2013: Confessions of a Juvenile Delinquent (Last Chapter)

Fr. Paul Eisele...a great principal to Remsen St. Mary's High School
Okay, so I have another confession from my teenage years. And this one is a whopper. I actually have a record. In my defense, I haven't committed another crime since this incident in the early 80's. But nonetheless, this is a confession of my indiscretion; a past juvenile delinquent.

It's time to come clean, so I will stick with the facts. My best friend, Bev, and I decided to go nine miles to the neighboring town of LeMars simply because we were bored in Remsen. It was the winter of 1984. Bev and I thought this was a good choice for a cold and uneventful Saturday night. Bev's brother lived in LeMars and had an apartment there, so he gave us a ride.

We quickly got bored in LeMars as well. With our curfew looming, we started scrounging for a ride. This was is in the days before cell phones, so we weren't afforded the convenient technology of texting. Instead we walked toward the busy main loop, thinking we would get lucky with a car going back to Remsen.

Luck appeared to be going our way as we immediately saw a familiar car full of girls from our little home town. We asked for a lift and hopped in the back seat. Our luck ran out when we were pulled over by the LeMars police no more than two minutes and a half a mile from our pick up spot. In the car were open containers of beer. We were taken to the county jail along with the other girls in the car and booked with "Minors in Possession". 

Our parents were called. Bev's mom must have drawn the short straw as she came and took us out of custody. We cried all the way home. When I walked into my house, my mom was waiting and not a bit happy. I cried the tears of Tammy Faye Baker with mascara streaming down my face. My dad was so mad, he didn't get out of bed. My mom simply said, "Go to bed. We'll talk about it in the morning." She had no interest in hearing how this really wasn't my fault; that I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

My brother, my biggest advocate, came home next. I cried my Tammy Faye tears to him knowing that he would side with me. Not so much. His answer, like a stab in my heart, was "Well, even if you did nothing wrong tonight, this gets you back for all the times you should have gotten in trouble." <huh?> Alone in the world with no one hearing my side.

The next morning my dad still wouldn't talk to me, but promptly drove my maroon two door Nova to Main Street. In Remsen, we are allowed to park in the middle of the street. So there sat my Nova in the middle of Main Street with For Sale signs noting my dad's barber shop phone number.

At dinner, Dad broke his silence, explaining that he had called the high school principal. Fr. Eisele was expecting me in his office first thing Monday morning to confess my conviction and receive my just punishment. <ugh>. Not another word was spoken over dinner as I pondered the shame of this conversation to come.

As my dad had promised, Fr. Eisele was waiting for me Monday morning. I was active in cheerleading and many other extracurricular activites at the time. I knew the penalties would be harsh. I bit the bullet and factually told Father the events of Saturday evening and my eventual arrest. No contest. And then I cried.

"Sandy," Fr. Eisele told me sternly, "you are a good girl, but you should have known better than to have gotten into that car. No excuses. You knew there was probably alcohol. You didn't ask. You looked the other way and now you're in trouble. But here's what we're going to do...."

Father went on to coach me on what to tell my dad and described our "work around" from punishment. He told me to tell my dad that I cried and cried and begged for forgiveness. That he ordered a strict sentencing of a two week ban from cheerleading and school activities. But after begging for forgiveness and promising not to make the same mistake again, he showed me mercy.

"That's what you tell your dad, Sandy. You won't let me down again, will you?"

"No, Fr. Eisele, thank-you."

So I went home that night and told my dad exactly what Father said to say. My car remained on the open market for another week with no buyer. Then it mysteriously showed up back at home, less the For Sale sign, and with keys left on the table.

My parents were always a bit suspect on my lenient school punishment. But please note, Fr. Eisele, I really have been a good girl ever since.


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