My sister and me about a year before school started.
My Mother and me around the time I am in second grade
It was the first day of school. It was also my first day to attend school. My mother was with me and we walked through the door together, hand in hand, mine trembling within hers. Of course, she knew and took a moment to stop, give me a hug and then whispered that she loved me. Up the stairs and across the hall was the primary classroom. I slowed a bit and my Mother smiled as she squeezed my hand. A few steps later we were in the rom and Momma was speaking with Miss Shannon. I didn’t hear what they said since many student were around and I felt overwhelmed.
I didn’t want to be there. I was used to the farm, the trailer we lived in, where it felt safe and warm. Momma introduced me to Miss Shannon who tried to be nice. Miss Shannon took my hand and led into the room. I tried not to go, but Momma was right behind me with her hands on my shoulders urging me forward. I knew this was a bad move. As soon as we reached a small group, Miss Shannon introduced me and then said to Momma, “Mrs. Bell, now he’ll be fine, it just takes a little urging. You go now…..I will watch over everyone and make sure it all goes well!”
Goes well, I thought, I want to go home, but Momma bent and kissed my cheek and told me she would go. I looked pleadingly at her, yet I knew she would leave. Her departure is a permanent vision in my heart; the flowing silk skirt of the dress undulated into waves of yellow flowers with black centers waving good bye.
She was gone. I was there. I didn’t like it. In less than two hours the destiny of a small child formed.
I stood at the sink to wash my hands after finger painting. From behind me I felt a harsh breeze as a hand swept across my golden hair and then landed its thumb on my back pushing me forward. I was surprised and confused when this huge boy dressed in blue overalls told me, “Move it girly when I am here!” And so I moved quickly and without understanding a twelve year bout of bullying had just begun and its intensity would increase over the years except when my sister stepped in!
My sister wasn’t afraid of anyone She was two years older than me and determined to defend me when she could. Ah, as I think back on those times she was good. One day the bully caught me at the end of the slide and refused letting me off the slide. He was very talented in verbal abuse and as his comments became more derogatory while his hand on my collar became tighter, my sister marched across the playground to us. We were all less than eight years old and the bully was the largest of all. My sister arrived at the swing, simply said to the bully, “Take your hand off my brother!!” He didn’t. I could see her little hand make a tight fist and a hallmark look of annoyance formed on her face asa bit of tongue stuck out between her lips and her dark brown eyes were on fire. I don’t think the bully realized how affective she could be when her fist plunged between his ribs. He gasped in surprise and then looked at my sister who simply said: “go away”.
There were days I didn’t want to be in school because of this bully and by my junior high days another bully joined him. They each were as obnoxious as they could ever be, unless of course my sister noticed what they were up to. Once, when she was a senior, she saw the original one trip me on the cement stair case. He was laughing and happy that I had fallen. In less than a moment she was by the bully as he scoffed at me. She got real close to him and I heard her say, “Don’t you ever learn, stupid?” Suddenly the fist formed, one blow to the ribs sent him to bend over the railing for air and then as he tried to turn her knee attacked his crotch He left very sullen and quiet.
For the next two years I was alone in school. He continued being a bully, but I learned not to be as bothered by him. I began ignoring him when ever I saw him. I know that if I saw him today and he tried to do anything, my response would be more like my sister. I think I will enjoy that moment!!
Bullies can ruin your life–this one didn’t!!