WHEN BULLIES WERE COOL AT SCHOOL
Attending school was a nightmare. In grade school there were the battles. My brothers were picked on because they were short and had to wear glasses. Bill and Terry were bullied back in the days when the victim was more likely punished, not the bully. I did try and help defend them, but I had my own battles.
My teeth. An overbite is just ripe for jokes and insults. I found myself further ostracized because of our financial situation at home. One girl came up to me on the playground and said, “we are going to buy you a new dress because you are poor.” I was excited! But the dress never materialized.
For reasons I never understood, I was friendless. I think my most humiliating experience was when we were to pick “friends” to put our desks together with. The kids scrambled around and created their desk formations. There I sat, my desk alone, in the middle of the room. The teacher, with little wisdom and less tact, told me to put my head down. She then asked if anyone would be willing to sit with me. I have no idea what happened after that, but it still hurts to think about.
DOWNWARD WE GO
Life changed dramatically when I was in 4th grade as a result of my father being injured at work. He worked for the city in the traffic department. They were unloading a telephone pole when the hook broke, and my father was knocked off a tall ladder and thrown to the ground. The injuries to his head, face and body were so extensive that he never returned to work again. No one worked in our home as a matter of fact. My father was placed on disability. Years later his disability was not only physical; It was also mental. After a considerable amount of time in the hospital, my father came home. His eyes were bloodshot from the blow to the face and subsequent surgery, but that did not stop him from taking a sledge hammer to a wall in the kitchen. He was going to make a new bedroom. Despite the pain it caused him, my father found it therapeutic to work with his hands. By this time his hands shook so badly he could barely tie his own shoes and his nerves were in the same condition.
My father continued to receive medication for his pain, but his mental condition turned into paranoia. He was later diagnosed with Paranoid Schizophrenia, so he didn’t trust the doctors and rarely took any medication they gave him to treat his condition.
My mother on the other hand, found that she felt pretty good when she took medicine. One doctor explained to my mother that the tension she was living under was the cause of her pain. Taking pain medication and tranquilizers allowed her to sleep day and night, so having to deal with father wasn’t as unbearable. When she ran out of medication she was prescribed, my mother looked for the medicine my father wasn’t taking. For years my father ranted and raved about my mother stealing his medicine. No one believed him. I never believed him; I was afraid to.
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