The summer before I was in junior high — I guess it’s called middle school now — my dad was arrested for trying to murder my mother. Without his income, our home went into foreclosure. So my mother’s parents came to the rescue and moved us from our quiet hometown to a small city where we could live rent free in their house until my grandfather was ready to retire. My grandmother also helped us get signed up on welfare.
My grandparents’ house was in a school district where nearly everyone had enough money. From day one I felt like a fish out of water, wearing my last year’s outgrown school clothes, with my wild frizzy hair, gazillions of freckles, and toothpick skinny arms and legs.
That’s right, I was the new school freak.
A week or two after I started going to that school, where almost everyone was dressed like they were posing for a fashion magazine, the school guidance counselor came into my home room and announced to the class that she needed to know if any of us were on welfare. If so, raise your hand, she said.
I had been taught to respect and obey my elders. Had it literally beaten into me that I must tell the truth at all times, or else I was going to hell. It was also pounded into my head that withholding the truth is the same as lying. So, yeah, I raised my hand. In front of all those fancy dressed kids. I raised my hand, wishing I could shoot myself instead.
After that, my classmates bullied me like they were having a contest on who could be the biggest and baddest bully of them all.
Grrrr. Do you know how many years ago that was? This fall it will be fifty-one years. More than half a freaking century. And I still feel my blood pressure rising, just thinking about those bullies! Especially the worst bully of them all – that WITCH who called herself a guidance counselor!
It breaks my heart that any child ever has to experience being bullied. Most kids who are bullied are probably like I was, going through hell at school and even more hell at home. It’s a special kind of purgatory when everywhere you go, everyone is telling you what’s WRONG with you.
Bullies will destroy you if they can. Don’t Give Them That Satisfaction!
Here is a great big grandma ((HUG)) if you need one.