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Opening Arguments

My mom the jailer

One of the coolest "take your kids to work" experiences ever:

 GREENFIELD, Ind. (AP) — Few people who have stayed a night in a county jail have a desire to return and reminisce on their experiences. But for Phyllis Anderson, the old brick building at 27 American Legion Place conjures up fond family memories.

After all, she spent much of her childhood in the Hancock County Jail.

Back when Anderson and her sister, Janet Lenhart, lived in Spring Lake in the late 1940s, they’d tag along with their mother, a sheriff’s deputy, when she was assigned to cover overnight shifts in the jail, keeping watch over the inmates. Their father had recently moved to Washington, D.C., for a job, which left the mother, Edna Macmillan, no choice when those calls came but to bring her four kids along with her.

Though the family ended up moving to Virginia in 1948, leaving behind their friends and community, many of the memories stuck with them — especially those spent alongside the colorful cast of characters that made their way through the jail’s doors all those years ago.

Some places are good to take your kids to, some not. Into the jail with you, OK. On patrol with you, not so much. It never occurred to my father to take me to the coal mine when he worked there, thank goodness, but I spent some enjoyable Sundays with him at May Stone and Sand out past Elmhurst High School when he worked there. During the week, he was part of the blasting crew. Every other Sunday, he was the caretaker, doing small chores while the place was empty and shooing away trespassers.

No "colorful cast of characters" like the jail had, but I did learn to drive at the gravel pit. After going up and down the hole with a sheer drop-off the punishment for not paying attention, nothing I encountered in traffic really scared me much.