Monday, October 15, 2012

The Unexamined Belief System Politics Part IV

Being a poor student and being bullied

I attended Union Center grade school it was in many ways the best of times and the worst of times for me. There were two classes to one room and one teacher to two classes. We had recess in the morning for about fifteen minutes and an hour for lunch then recess in the afternoon. The school was set on a hill where sledding was great in the winter, we used cardboard and sleds we brought from home to slide down the hill, it was wonderful. Behind the school was a wooded area and we made lean-too's along the back fence. It could be bitterly cold and inside the lean-to it was as warm as toast. There was no such thing as being too cold to go out for recess.

There was an old red barn on school property where a farmer kept his tractor and such. We use to go behind the barn for boy things like smoking or at least trying too smoke. Everyone smoked then and boys being boys we had to try it. Like father like son. I was an average student for my first three years at Union Center I had friends and life was for the most part good, then came the kids from Wheeler.

When I entered fifth grade the kids from Wheeler came to our school and with them came three bullies, I'll call them Larry, Moe and Curley, (The nice thing about writing is you get to name your characters). Larry and Moe were brothers and Curley was their running buddy they took an immediate dislike to me. Over the next four years they would make my life a living hell. Yet through it all, although I didn't know it at the time they were making me into a strong willed self sufficient person and toughening me for the trials that lay ahead. But at the time the bulling not only affected my school work and life at school it also affected my home life and life with my extended family. The effect was in many ways devastating and in some ways still effects my relationships.

Yet in the end, I would not trade that time for anything. Looking back on all they did to me the telephone calls, urinating in my gym shoes, getting beaten up and all the harassment at school only served to make me stronger. In the end they were their own victims and I became the man I am today in part because of them and in part in spite of them.

I went back to Union Center the late 1990's or early 2000's to speak at the school for Veterans Day. When I walked into the school the school secretary remembered me from grade and junior high school. She informed that Larry had been arrested as a peeping tom and did some time in jail, Moe had been in jail but had turned his life around and now had a family and Curley could be found at the local tavern in Wheeler just about every day, he was a drunk. I really wanted to feel good about it but I felt sad. They too had been a victim of their own bulling.  While they got away with things in school in the end life and the law of return caught up with them. What goes around, comes around. 

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