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Letter: ‘Never talk to strangers’ is an unfortunate rule

‘Never talk to strangers’ is an unfortunate rule

An article in the Nov. 14 newspaper really rang a bell for me. Reading Mary Widdicks’ article, “Why I let my kids talk to strangers,” hit close to home. One of my earliest memories has to do with this very same subject. I was 4 at the time, and remembering it is a true miracle because I am now 82 (well, OK, 83 next week). Still, it is as vivid in my mind as if it were yesterday.

My mother and I were walking down a busy street, and as a gentleman approached us, I did what I always did – I smiled and said hello. And he did what everyone always did – he smiled and said hello back to me. It was then that my world was shattered. I guess my mother decided 4 years of age was old enough to learn the facts of life. She proceeded to inform me that, “We don’t talk to strangers, dear.”

What? It was as heart-wrenching a bit of news as someone telling me there was no Santa Claus. “Why?” I asked, and she simply shrugged her shoulders and said that was the way it was.

I’ve tried to adhere to her lesson most of my life, but still, now and then (don’t see this, Mom, and yes, I’m looking at the sky), I find myself face to face with someone exiting a store while I am entering it, and I smile.

And guess what? I always get a smile back – a lovely reward.

Marge McMillen

East Amherst