To Lock or Not to Lock: No Longer the Question

A few months ago, I had new windows installed in my house which necessitated redoing my burglar alarm system. As they were installing the system, I recalled what a neighbor said when he had one put in. "Too bad," he remarked, "that we have to lock ourselves inside like prisoners while the criminals run free."

This comment made me think back to when I was a kid. In those days, we didn"t worry much about people breaking in to steal from us. After all, we really didn’t have much to steal. To my knowledge, we kept very little cash in the house. Everyone wore what jewelry they had, and our electronic equipment consisted of a bulky floor model radio and a toaster, neither of which would have brought much on the open market.

It seems that people were more trustworthy back then. When my folks went away, they left the door unlocked for us kids. They probably thought it safer than giving us a key which, if it were lost, meant we were locked out in the cold or heat for an unknown period of time. It seems they trusted the whole world more not to burgle our house than they trusted us to hang onto a key. My bubbie had the right idea, I think. If anyone wanted any of our schmattas (translated loosely as ‘rags’) she would say, they were probably in worse shape than we were and were welcome to them. Come to think of it, my bubbie always was the most generous one in the family.


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