Posted tagged ‘innocence’

“I never thought I’d hear myself say it, but safety first!”

April 12, 2013

The bird’s beak rat tat tatting against my house woke me up this morning, but I’m getting so used to it I fell back to sleep. When I woke up, I looked out the window, saw the gray skies and decided to lie in bed a while and finish reading the James Patterson novel 12th of Never (Women’s Murder Club). Patterson must grind out a book every month which is probably why his novels are getting shorter and shorter like Mary Higgins Clark’s did with all the blank pages between chapters. I stopped reading Clark. I fear Patterson is next.

When we were young, most kids used their nicknames. Ours were never cruel or mean. Mostly they were just shortened versions of our own names. James was always Jimmy and Robert was always Bobby. I was Kathy except to my family who always called me Kat, the name I preferred. Once in a while, in an argument, you’d hear four eyes for a kid with glasses or cry baby if someone was brought to tears but that was about as mean as kids got. We never swore. Even someone saying hell would make for huge gasps from the crowd at the horror of it all. I never saw a physical fight when I was kid except between two adults; however, I admit I did punch someone in the school yard when I was in the fifth grade, and when I was 17, I punched someone at Fenway Park, but those are my only transgressions. Both of them were deserved.

Our innocence lasted a long time. We walked or biked all over town and not once did we wonder about our safety. We didn’t know about all the bad guys out there. We were afraid of the bomb but knew we were safe under our desks. Even though I knew it was only a story, I was a little afraid of the man with the hook so a branch against the window sometimes gave me pause. My mother taught us never to talk to strangers or take anything from someone we didn’t know. That was her only worldly advice. I guess she figured it covered just about everything.

“Courage is fire, and bullying is smoke.”

May 17, 2012

It’s chilly but still a beautiful and bright sunny day. It’s also nap time for the animals. The cats are on my yet to be made bed which they love, and the dog is on the couch snoring as if she were a bulky man in a tank top who fell asleep in his chair watching football. Those animals inspire me!

When I was growing up, there were good kids and bad kids, and we all knew the differences. Bad kids were bullies. They were name-callers and they were sneaky. All of them hung together in a sort of gang because the rest of us, the good kids, wanted nothing to do with them so they were stuck with each other. I didn’t know many bad kids. I know I punched one in the face at recess when I was ten, but I don’t even remember his name. I do remember the satisfaction of that punch. He, the nameless one, deserved it for making my friend cry by constantly calling her names. He wouldn’t stop when I asked so I punched him. We both ended up in the principal’s office, but I told her why and she let me go. I don’t know what was said or done to him but he stopped name calling.

In high school, on the bus, one kid got teased all the time. His name was Billy Marrota, and he always took it from the other guys as if he were the designated target. I think there were three or four other guys, and they always sat in the back row. It was a public bus as we went to school in a different town to a Catholic high school. The ride was a long one so I used the time to study. The boys in the back didn’t, and they annoyed me with their noise and laughter and their teasing which was always aimed at Billy. I couldn’t understand why he didn’t tell them to stop. It seemed humiliating, but he laughed with them, probably out of self-defense. I spoke to the bus driver and made him the bad guy. He yelled and told the guys he’d throw them off the bus if they didn’t behave. They did.

When I was young, I believed that most people were good and they were. Even the bullies stopped when confronted (or punched). We were all so innocent back then.

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