It started in about the seventh grade, usually by the boys with all the testosterone. You know, the ones who were already shaving and had hair in a lot of places most of us didn’t have any of, but of course wanted. I know there were bullied because I was one of those that got bullied a few times.
I can remember it happening to me and some other kids, but it was nothing like what I hear that is going on today. Today, I hear about kids killing other kids or beating them up beyond recognition — not one-on-one, but sometimes gangs doing it to individuals who appear weak. Back then, we had been taught by good parents to treat others the way good people should.
We had two parents, one of whom worked and the other stayed home to raise the kids. We went to church and Sunday school, and church camp every summer, and the phrase “Do unto others as you would want them to do to you” really meant something. Or, at least it did by me. I won the city’s “Good Citizenship” award in the seventh and the eighth grades and had to recite by heart the Gettysburg Address at a town meeting on “Declaration Day” — now Memorial Day.
The teachers and principal didn’t do much to the bullies. I guess, at the time, it was considered one of those “boys will be boys” types of things and those involved would soon grow out of that stage in their lives. The ones getting beaten upon just had to learn to fight back and “be a man.” You noticed that I didn’t even mention girls. That was because girls just didn’t behave like that — ever, that I ever saw, anyway.
As I got older, the bullying changed forms a little. It was about boys going to other towns nearby and dating the girls there. I remember one evening double dating with one of my best friends with a couple girls from Walnut, Ill., a little town seven miles west of my little town of Ohio, Ill. After the date, when we took the girls home and were leaving town, here come “the boys” to “run us out of town” in the brand new green Pontiac that my wonderful Grandmother Denbo had let me use that evening. The “boys” started running into the back fender of her car trying to get us to stop and fight with them. There were five of six of them compared to our two and we weren’t about to get in trouble, anyway, because we were raised not to do that. If I had to do it all over again, I would have done things a lot differently than I did that night. We made it home safely and the very next morning, I went to the sheriff’s office in a town 12 miles away and swore out an arrest for the guy in the car behind me that was causing me the problems.
Nothing more ever came of that incident but I promise you I would have went after that guy if I was able to be transported back to that time and place. I would probably still be in jail for what I might have done, based upon how I have felt all these years!
Now, comes the unbelievable part. My first cousin e-mailed me the other day telling me that she met this guy, Wilky Wilkinson, who told her he used to go to school with me and dated some of the same girls, etc. His story was a little inaccurate but it was the guy that did this to me. Can you believe me that this bullying affected me so much that I, even to this day, want to get even with this guy?
So, you see, I really DO understand how these bullying instances affect these kids a great deal emotionally. Mr. Wilkinson would still me smart to keep his distance from me — even 50-plusyears later!
Written by Ted Anderson. Insurance agent Ted W. Anderson worked in sales for half a century, has lived in Albany since 1993. He is president of Dover Lane Neighborhood Watch. Send email to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.