As I unlocked each front and back door to our home this morning, I suddenly felt a loss of innocence.

I am at retirement age, so such innocence, which some would call naivete, should really have disappeared years ago. But it didn’t.

This loss of innocence and the resulting sadness is caused by the theft of my little bright red Honda Fit. It was taken from our driveway sometime late Sunday night or early Monday morning. Police are doing their best to locate it.

My husband was the first to notice that “Cutie,” as I have always called her, was not sitting in her usual place in our driveway. ‘Did she park it somewhere else?’ he wondered, although he knew I never park Cutie anywhere but the front driveway.

Her disappearance was unbelievable, and now, three days later, I still find it difficult to process. The sense of violation, or of being invaded is great.

Beyond the loss of my car, though, is the loss of the sense of safety I have always felt on this back road in Wilton, in the home where I grew up, left, then returned to more than a dozen years ago.

Leaving the keys in our cars, as well as not bothering to lock our house doors, are two things many of us grew up with, particularly if we lived on a dirt road well away from everywhere else.

Yes, I know that times have changed, and as a former staff reporter who had written about all kinds of police news, I know the “bad” guys are out there. I just never expected to find them in my community’s backyard.

Whether Cutie is returned or not, I know I will never view our quiet, country road quite the same again. And more than the loss of my car, I am angry at the loss of innocence resulting from the theft.

I will get over all of this, and either my car will be found, or I will buy a new one. But I won’t get over this very real, very deep loss of innocence. The loss of no longer knowing everyone on our road, and the loss of trusting that everyone is good.

I still believe that the vast majority of people are good, as evidenced by two longtime friends and neighbors who immediately walked to our house to talk about the theft when they heard. I value that far more than anything I may have said during their short visit.

The changes that I must make in my life to adjust to this “modern”-day existence are some things I really don’t want to do, but know that I must do.

Eileen M. Adams may be reached at [email protected]

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