The pertinent part is here:
I also picked a raw ear of corn out of a farmer's field and ate it right there, amid the acres of stalks sometimes. I raided a neighbor's pear tree when I knew she wasn't home. I trespassed on private property to pick berries. I knew every Japanese plum tree within five miles of where I lived and I used to go pick them, too.I worked the same way as a young'un. Things growing out of the ground were free for the taking, and if the lady next door got upset, well, then she just wasn't free-thinking enough.
I never considered that to be "stealing." I looked at it more as "foraging," or "living off the fat of the land." I NEVER walked into a store and stole a peach or a good-looking apple. THAT would be wrong. But hopping a fence and grabbing something growing in a field always seemed different to me.
Things in a store were decidedly off-limits, unless you had the money in your pocket.
As recently as five years ago, when I had my place in the country, it was the same way. I had pear trees and peach trees and apple trees, along with pecans and berries. I don't know how many times I came outside to see some kid munching a pear or and apple. No problem. Hell, if he (or she) was really hungry, we'd make something else to eat.
I had a pond on my place and stocked it with bass and bream so I could have a place to fish. If a kid wanted to try his luck, I'd even show him the best place on the property to dig worms. One day while I was at work, one young scoundrel caught a six pound bass out of that pond. I wish I would have been there to see it, because I bet that bass put up a hell of a fight. I did take his picture with it, because he was dragging it through the fence when I came home from work. I made him stop, and I took a picture with my police-issued Polaroid camera. I knew his family was going to eat that fish, and he needed something to remember the day. The little thief was about ten years old, and he held that big ole bass up proud when I took out the camera.
The rules changed when the kid got old enough to drive. That pond was for me and all the young'uns in the neighborhood. When you got your Drivers License, you could damn sure go fishing somewhere else. Some young men moaned and groaned about it, but saw the logic of saving the best fishing pond within ten miles for the kids that had to walk to fish.
It was a different world back then.