I am not without compassion for my father. I have struggled my entire life trying to figure out a man I both loved and hated. Last night I was in a stupid "facebook" argument over spanking children again, and the person brought up the old chicken and egg argument. If people hurt people because they have been hurt, who was hurt first? A very interesting question that we can look into when we do a T.O.T.D. post. But today, let's talk about Montana, and my eve of self destruction. Age: 14 1990, the summer before my 9th grade year. It was a perfect, diabolic twist of fate that a 16-year old high school girl was in the bar the night my father and I went in to play some games. They were holding some kind of raffle for the local football team (I think it was for the college?) And we bought tickets, and we won: A dinner at a fancy restaurant, a limo ride, and a hotel room.
But...keep your mind focused on the 16-year old girl. Now, I cannot be certain of her age, as I didn't talk to her, but I watched her very closely. She had long brown hair, sparkling brown eyes, and a smile that was infectious, and the men swarmed around her as she slowly got intoxicated. My father, to his credit, told me how stupid she was being, because she was alone, and surely, with the amount of drinking she was doing, she would probably be raped that night. Rape, oh no, we hear about our rape culture and victim blaming, but please stay focused. This is not about that, it is about the statement my father made and the following day.
Also remember my father was a teenager and young adult in the 1970's. Have you watched Saturday Night Fever? They literally date rape a girl in that movie and act like she had it coming to her....YIKES! The next day arrives and my father, I believe with actual fatherly intent, decides to talk to me about boys and drinking. What he should have said, and what he did say, are two different things. What he should have said: You really should only drink in moderation when your brain has fully formed as the teenage brain is still developing. What he said: Know your limits. WHAT? Think about this for a moment. Parents do have a difficult dilemma from sex to drugs to everything else in-between. They are caught between telling their children: Just say no, but also leaving them ill prepared to the
dangers of peer pressure; to going overboard and giving way too much information that will forever scar the child. I think: As parents we need to give our children the tools they need to survive in the world, but not give them too soon as to spoil their child's childhood. (This is why being a parent is the most difficult job on the planet, its a balancing act...and no one is perfect). My father, in the end, rethought he position on this over the course of the night.
So here we are, a man thinks he can protect his daughter from date rape by teaching her what her limit is. While this is good for girl's going clubbing, or anyone who is going to a dinner party with drinking, it isn't the best when your children are minors. While I could argue that the minimum age for drinking is questionable: 21 to drink 18 to die for your country...I think we can agree that 14 is not the best age to do it.
Oh goodness. It started with a drink of vodka, moved to root-beer schnaps, ended with long island ice-tea. It was strange. We ended up back at our hotel room, and I could feel it sinking in. The ground was further away, I felt sick, really sick, I think my father was saying something about being amazed that I could drink so much as I stood up and vomited all over and promptly passed out. My father was horrified, I looked dead, felt dead. He jumped up, I assume as I was cold to the world, and dragged me to the shower where he promptly placed me in a cold shower. I woke up, and vomited again. This went on for more than an hour before I finally stabilized and fell asleep.
What is the point of this story. My father made a huge mistake, and he knew it, but he didn't handle mistakes like many of us do. We say we are sorry, learn from it, feel a bit of shame, but we move on. My father focused in on the shame, allowed it to fester until it turned into rage against the very person he had wronged. He was so embarrassed (I nearly died) that he didn't want to talk about it and began going out of his way to ignore me until he couldn't anymore and started being extremely cruel and mean. Over the remaining month he pushed, shoved, and yelled at me all the time. Culminating in a ride home where he slightly drifted off to sleep, woke up in a fright, then smashed by head against the window leaving a huge goose-bump and a headache that lasted all the way home. (Did I tell my mother, no, why? I don't know).
Here is the thing about shame. Healthy shame has its place, whereas unhealthy shame can create havoc on family members. If you want to learn more about shame might I humbly point you towards this presentation: It is a playlist on YouTube by John Bradshaw, an educator and counselor that I really admire and helped me to grow as a person. Do I agree with everything he says, no, but I think we need to understand ourselves better by looking at everything around and using others stories to help. The Link
I have also attached the videos below.
"Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta." *Nabokov.
Do you ever wonder how or why people can desire something so much? Like a sickness, something that swells inside of them and takes control. The summer of my 14th year, the summer spent in Montana, I wondered about this a lot. And even though I Knew the character's desire was morally wrong, I couldn't help but desire to have someone desire me. (As an adult I cringe. I have reread the story and see what I didn't see before: Control. Mr. Humbert did NOT love Lolita, he wanted to posses her, and while this may be desirable to a child, to an adult it is a revoltingly frightening thing).
My answer came by way of misunderstanding and naivety. Ah, being a child can skew not only the eyes, but the understanding of those conversations and visions that change us, if not forever, at least for a significant amount of time. In Montana, at least in the summer of 1990, children were allowed to accompany their parents into a Bar. I rather enjoyed my father's and my time at the Bar. We would order nachos and play darts. It was fun. This is when I spotted a group of younger girls. The girls, let me see, I remember them as looking old, twenty-two, twenty-three, but in reality they were only fifteen through seventeen. One was actually staying in the same motel as I was.
Sunday was our only day off, and it was Sunday that I went off by myself to the small laundromat the motel had. As a girl who wanted to be a writer one day, I liked to talk to people, and boy, the girl had a story to tell.
Have you ever talked to a stripper? Outside of a strip club? She was nothing like I thought she would be, in fact, without her make-up and outfits, she looked a lot like my friends, which in a way was both comforting and sad all at once. She ran away from home when she was thirteen. She didn't like her step-father, her mother didn't care about her, and she thought she would do better on her own. She said at first it was easy to find people to help, but as she started "growing-up" the same men that once treated her like a child, started seeing her as a potential mate. (I use all these terms lightly.) At fourteen she met a man that got her a fake ID and talked her into stripping. He sold her on the idea, talked about the money, about becoming independent. She wanted to be independent. And though she talked a big talk to me, I could see, she was far from being independent.
I want to keep this post short, so I will leave you with something she told me, that stuck with me for a long while. "It's okay to hate men because I honestly believe they hate us. How else could they stab themselves into us? How else could they simply get up and walk away after saying they love us? How else could it be that everyone I know, every girl, was molested or raped by a man?"
Now to be fair: She was a stripper, a fifteen-year-old stripper, and though we hear stories of medical students stripping to pay for school, we all know that many of these women have issues about sex and sexuality. But, to the impressionable mind of a fourteen-year old girl, these words imprinted on me and made me see men in a different light. Remember: I was just cheated on by my boyfriend.
Are men evil? No. But we must remember, much like the fictional character being obsessed over his sick relationship, many children can form and lump people together, they need only be pushed in this direction. It was a tragic dance, a recipe with tainted ingredients that shaped my mind over the next few years and turned me from an innocent girl filled with hope and love, to a man hating, man destroying succubus. My mission was to seek out an innocent boy and destroy any light in him.
Okay, I shall talk more about this at another time. And remember: Don't get mad at me, I have, as an adult, sought out many that I have hurt and apologized, and even though this doesn't change my actions, I think it is a good start.
I am behind on my deadline for this book, the clock is furiously ticking (I think time is conspiring against me). Well, no worries, it is what it is, so I am going to cheat today and re-Post from a series I did back in 2012: "Good-Day-Bad-Day" as it is relevant to memories and me forming my views of the world. My readership has quadrupled since this time, so it should be new to my newer friends. Cheers!! At the age of 15 in order to get away from the daily crap of being a teenager I would go for long walks. I lived just off Washington Blvd. and for those of you familiar with Ogden you can probably appreciate this: No one really needs to hitchhike in Ogden, there is an ample supply of people driving around looking for people to pick up. Call it the original means of stalking, before the internet social websites were around.
It was a crisp fall afternoon, late 90's. I was following my typical route. I would cut across the end of Riverdale Road around 36th street in Ogden, and walk along Washington until I reached 25th street. I would stop at the city park, walk around, look at the Ten Commandments, stare at the people waiting for the many buses, and finally would make my way up to the Library on Jefferson. I particularly liked the library because it was quiet, and at the time I really needed quiet. (Plus I was writing my first novel. ;) )
So following my same path a man pulled up in this huge car, I can't say I remember what it was, but if you can think of a typical old man car of the time, I am sure you will get an accurate picture. He asked the usual question, "Do you want a ride?" But as usual I heard, "Would you like a ride little girl," followed by a wicked laugh. I must say I was tired this day, and he was old, like 70, so I took the ride.
Mother's everywhere shutter right now....A fifteen year old girl, getting into a car with a trunk large enough to hold a human body...what was she thinking?
I will tell you...I was thinking I am invincible, nothing bad will happen to me. And in this case I was right. The old man was very nice, we drove around and talked...really talked. I am happy to say this time it ended up alright. I made a very good friend who I could share all my secrets. It was very therapeutic...BUT...it set me up to further think I was invisible...and I was not
Arrive to BAD DAY: Two years later, and possible 100's of rides later we come to my 17th year. Now you may ask yourself. Why in the hell doesn't she have a car, I didn't even have a license. I was a full on city bus kid with a monthly pass and all.
I really had met some great people by taking rides, and as of this date only one pervert, who offered me 50.00 to...well use your imagination. The creeper, but this, this was different...and what a fool I was.
For those not familiar with the streets and parks of Ogden. Washington Blvd. is a typical city street, with a few big buildings scattered along a few miles stretch. There is a side road, I believe either it is 20th, but it could be closer to 18th street which turns up toward the mountains. This road has a long pathway which is next to a small river, and has many trees. The path leads to Lorrin Farr Park, but you first have to walk up along the winding path for about 5 city blocks...there is a river on one side, and a large hill on the other, so once you commit to walking up the street you are stuck until you reach the top of the road where a bridge is.
So I am walking from 26th street to my father's store on 17th street and Washington. I am presently on 23rd and Washington when he pulls up.
Even now I can picture his face, see his mannerisms...and I kick myself for being so stupid, I would blame youth, but really I knew better.
He had long blond hair, feathered back, and was wearing a Hawaiian shirt, blue with red flowers. His license plate was from California and he did look truly lost.
"Could you please tell me where Adam's is?" He asked.
I stepped off the curb, leaned down, and from the passenger side answered him, "You only have to turn up, it is about 2 blocks above Washington, which is the street we are on."
"Oh, okay, thank-you," Then he pretends like he is going to pull away.
I turn when he yells out, "Do you want a ride?"
I look down the block, "I am only going straight ahead 6 blocks, I think I can manage."
"It’s no trouble." He insists.
I sigh, I am kind of tired, so I tell myself, and jump in. "Just drive straight 6 blocks."
I settle in, and do what us women too often do, I do not listen to my gut, that is until he takes that ever fateful right hand turn up along the old Lorrin Farr path.
"Um, no you just need to go straight." My heart has already sunk, I know this isn't right, and I fear the worse.
"It’s okay, it’s okay." He says softly.
I begin squirming in my seat, my mind is on overdrive as adrenaline skyrockets my pulse and my stomach aches.
He pulls to the deserted side of the road and pulls behind a large concrete slab, effectively hiding us from the world.
Stupid girl! Stupid, stupid girl! My mind shrieks.
He turns off the car and slides closer to me, "I thought we could get to know each other better."
What to do, what to do...my mother's words come to my head...thank you mother for telling me about your young impetuous youth of hitchhiking.
I do the only thing I can think of.
Though my heart and stomach wanted to stab my brain for the suggestion, my brain was in charge. I lean into him. I smile, and then my hand is placed on his leg and slowly slides upward.
"Not in here, I know a better place, let's get out, it will be nicer by the river."
He gets excited and jumps out of the car and walks around to grab me. We slowly begin walking up next to the river and all the bushes and thick trees. My eyes are desperately searching out for someone, anyone to call out to, and yet there is no one, not a single soul. We walk maybe a few yards, he is anxious and has a death grip on my arm.
"Let's go." He snarls after we have walked too far and starts pulling me toward a large bush.
I spot someone. "Oh no, that is my cousin, oh God, no, no, if he tells my boyfriend."
This causes him to pause for a moment, and a moment is all I need. His hand slightly goes limp and I bolt.
I run, he swirls around and races back toward his car. I still have more than a block to reach the bridge, if I can make it to the bridge I can get to the park and either hide, or hopefully find someone, anyone in the crowd to help me.
I reach the bridge just as he gets to his car and drives toward me. I run faster than I ever have or ever will again across the bridge and hit the park.
Not a soul...not one person,...where in the hell are all the people.
His car rumbles across the bridge. I cut through the park, skinny behind a house, jump over a fence and race down the back half of 17th street until I reach my father's store.
I have never been so happy to see someone as I was to see my father (which is ironic in a way) than in that moment. I literally collapse in his arms and start crying.
Good point: My father, for one moment in his life, sees how someone can fear another...and for a moment, even for the slightest moment in time.
We called the cops, and come to find out I had stepped into the car of a serial rapist. Now one can say this was a good day...I mean I didn't get rapped, I won...but it was a bad day. It created a new fear in me, one that was very hard to reset.
Moral of the story: Don't fear, don't reject life's experiences, but when your gut tells you not to get into the car...Don't get into the damn car, seriously...a ride is not worth it.
A broken heart at the wrong moment in time can change and morph the soul. It was a recipe really, a moment of weakness, a betrayal, and a summer that followed, all were needed to help me choose the dark path and made me someone who strove to play the same game that is played in Dangerous Liaisons. One I got very good at over the years to follow.
Age: 14 Grade: Eighth, end of the year
During my 7th, 8th, and 9th grade years I went to the Roller Ring just about every Tuesday. It was dollar day. One dollar to get in and one dollar to rent skates. Some of my favorite memories are from this time. Kelly never joined me, and that is fine. I liked it there because one could meet new people. Well after my humiliating evening of running out of Mr. X's house, Kelly had convinced me that I should probably practice with someone younger. The goal: Find a boyfriend, and kiss him.
In enters Ben. Many kids that went to the Roller Rink were from another junior high, South. Which was nice, because you could talk to kids without having to worry about your social status in school (ah, we all love the cliques at school, don't we). There was a group of 8th and 9th graders I had started talking to, and thought Ben, who was in 9th grade, was pretty cute. I asked him if he wanted to skate, and things naturally started to progress. Every Tuesday I would look forward to seeing him until he finally asked me if I wanted to be his girlfriend. Now did I love Ben? Hmm, this is a good question. The memory of my true feelings is tainted, but I at least liked him a lot. I loved listening to him talk, and soon enough I was riding the city bus to see him after school, which would be ending in less than a month. We would talk and talk, and I met his mother, who loved me I might add. But there was a problem. I would always chicken out when he tried to kiss me. (Silly I know). In the end, Ben got use to it, and we became really good friends. Life seemed to be perfect.
School let out, and summer began. This is when I got that call from Kelly. The boy I had introduced her didn't like her, really he didn't want to have anything to do with her. She couldn't take it, she needed me. I was torn. I would be leaving in the next few weeks to Montana so I wanted to spend as much time with Ben, and kiss him, before I left. So I thought, I will just bring Kelly along with me when I go spend the day with Ben....Have you guessed what is about to happen?
Kelly was twitterpated with Ben. He was so sweet, he was so smart, and as she smiled and giggled at every little thing he said, I should have seen it coming. I was clueless, seriously, and even when all the red flags popped up, still nothing. That night she talked about him to me and as the week passed, she talked about him more and more.
The day I was leaving for Montana, Kelly came to see me. She had something to confess. She had sex with Ben. Sex? Sex? They were in 9th grade? What? What? She said she couldn't have me believing that Ben and I were boyfriend-girlfriend while I was away. I called Ben, and he confirmed that it was all true. I was just too much of a child, and he needed a woman. She was 15, I was 14, seriously? Later that week, while I was sitting in the Store in Montana, I told my father about it. His response: "Everyone cheats."
What a crap thing to say.
I was heart broken, not because of Ben, but because of my friend. I felt more betrayed by her. How could she do this to me? She was suppose to be more. I must confess, had the events that followed in Montana not taken place...I may have just shrugged it off, started Ninth Grade fresh and new...but Montana did happen, and I wanted Revenge. Between watching Dangerous Liaisons, reading Lolita, and living in a place that allowed, at least at the time, for underage kids to go to Bars....I was becoming a new woman. (girl really).
My father and I were staying at a hotel, a weekly rental were strippers and military men regularly stayed. And, to my surprise, many of the strippers were only 15 and 16. Oh, my eyes were opened that summer: Opened to a cruel hard world. (One plus side to the summer. There was a military boy, 18, who was staying there for two weeks. I really enjoyed talking to him, he was sweet, and probably help keep a little piece of my soul. That and a Sheriff).
Oh, this is a mess of a post. And as I write it, I realize, I need to take greater care with these memories, slow it down a bit. Tomorrow I will tell you about the stripper who to this day haunts my memories, the military boy, and the Fight with Four Canadians. YES, I said Canadians. AND don't worry: My revenge on Kelly is coming, a revenge I deeply regret.
All right, that is all today. Have a great day! And know this: Not everyone cheats! That is a lie! Yes some do, but to presume that everyone does is well...just silly.
Shall we move onto the juicier memories? Why yes, yes we shall. Warning: Mom, yes my mother loves me so much she has been reading these, please take all these memories with a grain of salt and remember: I love you and no, you can't ground me....(*Laughs*).
We all have that one friend that forever changes us, unfortunately I had about four, and only one changed me for the better. Now, now, that isn't fair, without these experiences, I may not be the person I am now. So let us say: We live, we learn. (At least we hope we learn)
Grade: End of Eighth & Ninth. Age: 14-15. Friend: Kelly Knight. << an alias. ;-)
Imagine if you will. For a short time I was a pretty innocent girl, shy, never kissed a boy (not really), danced with a boy only once (I'll share that story another time), and was a book nerd. Straight A's, honors classes, and a proud member of the school team that competed in Olympiads: Science, Math, and Geography. If you don't know what Scholastic Olympiads are; there is a great movie that shows how nerdy they can really get: Hairbrained (It's on Netflix, and no, I am not getting any advertising dollars for this show, I actually liked it, cute story). Knowing this about me, you must also keep in mind that even though I started to spiral down, no adult would ever know: Why? I kept my grades at A's, was very polite, and never, never got caught. Well Once, but that is another story.
It was Choir Class, midway through my 8th grade year when Kelly walked into the room. I must say she took my breath away. She was tall, had jet-black hair, sparkling blue eyes, wore a hat, a spring dress, and wore bright red lipstick. She was so cool looking. (It's funny how children judge a person off their looks. Well, I think many of us do). It was in this moment that I knew I had to be her friend. And how easy it would be: She had a crush on my secret friend's friend. (That sounded weird, to explain: One of my best friends was a guy, Sean. He was a skater. In order to keep my good-girl profile, and in order to keep Sean's dark secret, we never hung out at school. It was his best friend that she liked.) After learning about this, I promptly made friends with her and promised her to take her over to my friend's house when the boy was there.
Ah, good times. The first month was simply a fairytale for me. I would leave my home early, get to her house, and we would get ready, talk about boys, and that would be it, a simple little story of me finding a really cool friend. BUT, this is about the girl who changed my life. I was reading at the time: Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov (We'll get to the side story on this another time). I should have never told my friend about this book, and I should have never introduced her to that boy. (What I didn't know about Kelly, but found out a year later, is that she was sent to live with her dad because she had tried to kill herself when her boyfriend broke up with her)
I am dragging this on, so let us cut to the first meat and potatoes of the story: She kept asking me who I liked, who do I like? Who do I like? No one, not a one. (At another time I will tell you about my first dance, and maybe you will understand why I didn't have another boyfriend for over a year). She didn't believe me, which she shouldn't have, because I did like someone. But who? I sigh, because hopefully my mother isn't reading this. It was a teacher, not one of my teacher's but a teacher at my school. She laughed when I told her his name, let's call him Mr. X. Why did she laugh? He was not attractive and though he was a very nice man, she couldn't see why I adored him so much. Then I told her about this wonderful movie I saw, so romantic. Always, below is the trailer (Sorry, best copy I could find, its only 1.23 minutes, the video loops or something)
That's right, I had a crush on a man because I thought he looked like Richard Dreyfuss. What can I say: I am a writer, and well, we sometimes live inside our own fantasies. So everyday I would go out of my way to say hi to this man, sometimes even stop and talk to him when he was talking to one of my teachers. Honestly, I think the men knew I liked him, yes I was a little puppy dog....but as we know...girl's in 8th to 9th grade, can look a little older than they are. Here are some pictures of me age 14-16.
Oh this post is getting long, and I have a deadline looming, thus my time online is about up. I'll have to have a part: II, and to entice you to join me tomorrow I will leave you with this:
After a few months of hints, nudges, and even a couple drives home from school. I found myself inside Mr. X's house.
Hope to have you join me tomorrow. As always, have a beautiful day. And know this: Bad girl's don't necessarily have more fun, just more drama...drama that can turn into a dark nightmare.
Who has watched the show: 1,000 Ways to Die? Or, I Shouldn't be Alive? They are crazy shows, right? After you watched it you might have been amazed that we are alive, especially when you start looking back at your own life. How many times should you have: not been alive?
Yesterday I remembered a dangerous crosswalk I had to cross when I was in about 3rd or 4th grade. It was located at the top of a hill that had a speed limit of 45 mph. But I was lucky, my crossing guard took his job serious. He was an older gentleman, it's hard to gauge his age because as a child, even someone who is thirty looks old, but I would say he was at least 65.
I remember it like yesterday. An older couple was in a large red car, maybe a Monte Carlo, something about that size. They had stopped, and the ever watchful Crossing Guard waved for me to cross. I started across and was passing by the older couple, when the Crossing Guard yelled at me to get back, while simultaneously moving toward me. He shoved me just as a truck, full of teenagers, who sadly were not paying attention, slammed into the Monte Carlo, the Monte Carlo clipped the Crossing Guard and flew forward, and I safely fell backwards, the car just missing me.
The look of horror on the teenagers face haunts me, and I am sure it changed their driving habits. The crossing guard split his head open, and the driver of the large car was hurt. I stood up, a bit shaken, and simply watched as the police came, an abulance came, and the children were lectured, though no words compared to what they were feeling. The driver kept looking over at me, and to this day, I am not only grateful for the crossing guard, but I am grateful I wasn't hit for that teenage driver, I have seen a child hit by a car before, and it isn't pretty.
Thanks for joining me today, do you have a "near-death" experience: Please Share Below. Comments are easy to make, just a name and comment. :)
Never underestimate a small act of kindness. It was my ninth grade year, I was fourteen, turning fifteen, and I was locked in this deep dark world of emotional pain (no I did not have a chemical imbalance, in fact, I had every reason to be sad, but this is not about that).
Needless to say, many of us have challenges growing up in a world that can seemingly be filled with real Monsters and well, I just couldn't shake it. I woke up like a zombie, I had no reason to smile, and this morose mood was very evident. But all of this was going to change with one small act that kept me going for five long years (The worst years of my life). :)
It was my birthday, and I was called to the office. Not that again, yes the dreaded office call that I was use to (hey, what can I say, I had a bit of an insubordinate streak, today they might call it O.D.D..thankfully, in my day, it was just called being a teenager.) And there it was. The most beautiful bouquet of roses, in an elegant vase, and it was addressed to me, me! (It may be cliche, but I am a sucker for flowers).
The ladies in the office were all giddy and they pressured me to open the card, open the card and find out who sent them to me. To quote, exactly, yes I remember it 23 years later, how? I read that card many, many times. And this card saved my life, many, many times.:
"In later years, when we meet as equals, I pray you feel the same for me, as I for you. Love--Your secret admirer."
My heart thumps even now. It was as if life was poured back into me, and I smiled. Someone loved me, me. Elicia. I couldn't believe it, but there it was, someone out there loved me. The ladies of the office got all googly eyed and awed and gave me a hug saying how wonderful it was that I had a secret admirer. Sure, when I got home my father was mad, but who cared, there was a man out there that cared about me...and this simple act saved my life.
It may sound a bit silly, but I didn't think a man would ever love me, and over the next few years, with my ups and downs, I would pull out that card, and remind myself that someone did love me.
Would you like to know who sent me the roses? I found out when I was twenty. Well of course you want to know. Who wouldn't. Well, it was my mother, and while this may seem weird, it was actually the kindest thing she could have done for me. At the time I needed to know that one day someone would offer me a love that transcended time...It was the perfect thing to do...and I was amazed that she kept her secret for all those years, possibly because I gushed about it so much. And though I must admit, I was a little disappointed that it wasn't some wonderful prince charming, I so loved her for pulling me out of that funk I couldn't seem to shake.
Well that is all for today my friends. Remember, love is very powerful, and kindness can do wonders. Peace out. Catch you tomorrow. :)
Some memories I share with you may make you no longer like me, yet I feel it is important to show both the dark and light of someone as we all have struggles and no one is perfect. That being said, if you get mad on this one, don’t worry, I did worse things than this.
Age: 10 or 11. Grade: 5. Situational background: In fourth grade, and in a different school, I had a bully. His name, let’s call him Gerald. He was big and mean. I would have to ride the city bus to my dad’s store on Saturdays, Gerald wouldn’t let me stand at the bus stop near my house. He would throw rocks at me so I would have to walk a mile to another stop just to avoid him. He terrified me. Lucky me, we moved away.
Imagine if you will my horror when in walks Gerald to my new school (Old school really, I somehow always managed to go back to Club Heights.) My heart dropped and my stomach churned. My fears were founded. The boy proceeded to make my life hell at recess. Ugh, what was a girl to do? I would not tolerate this, and I had a plan! With a friend (who was in junior high) we came up with an elaborate plan. This school had a particularly mean sixth grade. They were big and on the lookout for ways to destroy someone’s life. Yes, I would ruin Gerald’s life by planting a note. Yes a note, because all too often, the pen really is mightier than the sword.
This note, my friend and I wrote up, was disgusting to say the least. It was sexual in nature and made Gerald look like a creepy, disgusting, sexual deviant. The kicker, my friend had usurped a sample of Gerald’s handwriting, and thus the note looked very authentic, too authentic.
Flash forward: The very next day, being very careful to go unseen, which I was, I planted the note just outside the sixth grade room, and waited.
Things did not go as planned.
Within thirty-minutes of me planting the note, Gerald was called to the office. Oh to be a fly on that wall. The boy returned an hour later in tears, oops, at this point I started to feel sorry for him, his eyes were large, red, his cheeks tear stained, and he was looking at me. At me? This is the moment that my name was uttered over the intercom. Oh, no, no, no, I thought. But how? How?
Side note: To this day I have NO IDEA how they knew it was me. There were no witnesses, only two people knew of the note, and the other did not go to school with me. So my friend could not have ratted me out. Could there have been cameras in the hall as early as 1986, 87?
I entered the office. My teacher was there, the principle, and the school nurse. My parents were not called (To this I get angry, as a parent at least, my parents should have been part of this conversation, seriously, it was a sexually explicate conversation, to their defense, they were reading what I wrote) I was lectured on sex, sexual deviance, and then they told me that Gerald told them everything.
Apparently my friend and I had held him down and forced him to write this letter. WHAT????
I told them, no, we didn’t hold him down, but they said yes, yes you did, how else could the handwriting match? I didn’t really arguing with them after that point. My head was still reeling over being busted, and that Gerald would “confess” to being forced into writing the letter. Not to mention that these adults were looking at me like I was a dangerous human being. After listening to them talk about this they warned me: I was to stay away from Gerald or they would have to involve the police to protect him. Protect him. Oh the irony or is this simple reality?.
The positive side of this story: I am thankful that a teacher found the note, as in hindsight I see how wrong it was that I would write what I wrote in an attempt to destroy the boy’s life.
Gerald never bothered me again, in fact he seemed to fear me after this.
Negative side: Whatever those teachers wrote in my permanent record came back to rear its ugly head when I was fifteen.
Very Negative side: We will reach this when we talk about memories from my 17th year of life.
I am not proud of my actions, and I assure you, it came back on me tenfold. Even though the boy was wrong to be a bully, I went overboard and really could have ruined his life. Yet, as I think back to this little gem of a memory, I still wonder how it was I was caught. I also wonder how they made a boy falsely confess to something he did not do.
One good Point: If they can get a strong boy of 11 to falsely say that two girls held him down and forced him to write a letter, a letter he didn’t even know about, you can bet that “Confessions” cannot be seen as proof positive of someone’s guilt. Remember: Even I tried to tell them that HE didn’t write the letter at all and that he didn’t even know about it…YET it was THEIR truth that stood. Something to think about.
This morning, as I was deciding on a memory to share, it suddenly hit me. Doorbell Ditching, oh the fun that was. If you get a chance you should pop the term into the old search engine and you will find ridiculous articles being written about youth and their bad behavior. Man, can kids have any fun anymore? In third grade I lived in an apartment complex with many children, and boy, some of my favorite memories come from that place, from kick the can at night to doorbell ditching in the day. We sure had some fun, and to tell you honestly, the children of that apartment complex were in hardy shape, we could all run very fast, and we all had loads of fun. =)
This brings me to a memory of a particular apartment house. The man who lived there had grown to legendary status. Why? The man would get so angry, he would chase down the kid, and rumor has it (you know how stories get exaggerated) that he once caught a kid, who was then never heard from again. Upon hearing this story, four of my friends and I decided we would take on the challenge. We would Doorbell Ditch the house of the man. The stage was set. We all waited for the man to get home from work. After he arrived, and we were certain he was about to sit down for a nice home cooked meal, we took our chance. I'm not ashamed to say that we were all a little frightened, yet we giggled and laughed all the same, until we reach his floor. This is when we began shoving each other as a means of avoiding being the one who actually rang the bell, because what if the man was waiting just behind the door? What if he knew we were coming?
Our anxiety grew, and though I can't remember who it was that did the actual knocking of the door, I do remember running like a bat out of hell when the man opened the door, started shouting, and took chase. And oh boy, oh boy, this man could run. Long story short: we all got away, breathlessly finding each other behind the old barn located in a back field. We laughed, we joked, we blew the story up until we too joined the ranks of legendary status. A while later we moved away, but I will never forget all the fun we had living there.
Today however, upon looking at the Internet, I found a story of Doorbell Ditching, that went wrong, and I couldn't help but think: Why? The story ishere. (A girl was assaulted by a man behind the door). It's strange isn't it, how seemingly harmless fun, really just a game of chase, can turn into something malicious. I sometimes think we are robbing our children of childhood. With strict night curfews, how many will ever enjoy a good game of Kick the Can in the dark? Alas, I suppose it is what it is, and as we continuously propagate fear campaigns about this and that, we might be raising a generation of basket cases who will not dare venture out of their houses for fear the sky will fall.
Anyway, let me know what your thoughts are on Doorbell ditching. I think it is just harmless fun, obviously, some people think it is a wicked thing and children should be punished for it. Ugh, what do kids have: Video games?
Hello my fellow travels, with the new year I will start a new series. Memories. These will be glimpses into my past. I wanted to share things that have helped shape me and created my perception of this world.
Subtitle: Cheating? Not the Pretty Girl.
In third or fourth grade, a time when I transferred schools a few times (though I always ended up back at Club Heights) I sat next to a very pretty girl. She had long golden hair, pretty nails, and always smelled of some type of flower. The teachers loved her, and I, being her friend, enjoyed her as well. Let's call her Alice. Why Alice, because honestly, she did look perfectly put together, just like Alice in Alice in Wonderland. At the time, I was the opposite. I had short frizzy hair, I wore boy clothes most of the time, and my nails were certainly unkept (refer to the photos above for a visual on this). Teachers at this school didn't much care for me. Why? I was a daydreamer. (Side story: At parent teacher conference my teacher complained that I stared out the window and didn't do my work until she gave the warning of: 5 minutes until recesses. Upon which I would get it done and get 100%, she thought it was a distraction to the others).
Why was I a daydreamer, because I was bored. But this is not about that. Flash forward to the big test. Everyone was nervous, even my pretty friend Alice. I told her not to worry, these tests were easy. I guess, at the time, I didn't understand that some people can get test anxiety, that they become so nervous and worried they literally freeze during the test. Needless to say my friend must have had test anxiety, at least I like to believe she did, especially after what happened next.
Two days after the test all the papers were handed back except two. Alice and I looked at each other as the teacher promptly told us that we needed to see her after class. There we were, standing in front of this beastly lady who sat proudly behind her desk, her hair in a tight bun, a few sprigs of gray sprung out where she had placed a pencil behind her ear. She handed back the tests. Only two wrong, two out of a hundred. Wow, we did excellent, a smile formed on my face. A smile that was quickly dashed. The two that were wrong were exactly the same, right down to not carrying the eight. Long division, while tricky, shouldn't have the exact same mistakes. Someone clearly cheated, and not only cheated but somehow the tests looked as though one was exactly copied from the other. But who did it?
This part amazes me, even to this day. The teacher did not ask us who cheated. No. She simply accused. Though the conversation is foggy at best, I will reconstruct it.
"Elicia, how dare you cheat off Alice. It is clear that she studied really hard, and you decided to take the easy way and simply copy off her, and you were so lazy you didn't even try to cover your tracks by missing a few more than her. Why, you didn't even try did you?"
I think at this point she began lecturing me, but I can rightly say, after she accused me, the only thing I heard was blah, blah, blah. What happened next did however, surprise me. Alice's face changed from her normal dainty smile to a look of horror. Did she believe it? Did my friend think I would do something like that? No. It was after a full minute of lecture that my friend showed me what friendship was really about. She interrupted the teacher (maybe she was mad, I can't be sure) and in a louder than normal voice, she said: "Elicia didn't cheat. I copied off her."
This shut the teacher up. The silence was overwhelming to say the least. Even I was silenced, and my life, was forever changed. The teacher looked ashamed, lowered her head, and promptly excused us. The next day I found out from Alice that she got in trouble, her parents were called, and she was going to have to take the test over again. Alice didn't apologize, she didn't need to, she had been brave, because we both knew that if she had not spoken up, it wouldn't have mattered what I said. I would be the girl to get in trouble. I don't know why she did it, the speak up part, and I never asked, as I ended up moving away a few weeks later.
What this experience taught me: Pretty girls are treated better, whether this is true or not, this was a lesson imprinted on me, and after that day I began to grow my hair long, brush it, and tried to always look put together in school. (Not a good lesson, but I think it demonstrates how little actions can warp and change a person. We often blame barbie dolls for the way girl's feel about themselves, but I think Barbie may not be to blame, no, it might be the way people treat Barbie.)
Second lesson: I learned how to be a good friend. A friend with Integrity. Now I know the girl cheated, but in the moment of truth, the moment where I was going to go down for her crime, she stood up for me and didn't let me suffer. For this, I will always have a special place in my heart for pretty Alice.
All right. This was the first post of a new year. They will get better as we go along. I hope you will enjoy this series. As always, have a beautiful day. XOXOX Oh, and like and share if you like and you like to share. ;-)