Did I ever write about a happening when I was in the sixth grade? I didn't think so. Let me do that now. When I was in the sixth grade, yikes! that was over 50 years ago, I was a chubby and very young for my age girl. I was the youngest of the lot at home and truly the youngest of the lot at school. My birthday was December and I was enrolled a few months before the legal age for reasons of being able to write and speak in a bossy manner. Everyone in my life was way older than I was and I was a chub and had two brothers and 4 uncles not much older than my brothers. I was always in defense mode or silent. Got it?
One day, walking through a patch of woods at the end of my dead end street, my girlfriend and I were pelted with garbage by boys hiding behind large rocks. As they threw the, as I recall, old grapefruit halves, they called names which rang in my head. "Fatso, Piggo" Whatever O. My mother would usually tell me to "man up" not in those words but you get it. Sticks and stones etc etc and so forth. This particular time, I guess, my hysteria got to her. It usually didn't since girls are always sooooo dramatic. I spotted a boy from my class as I ran home. He was standing up and appeared to have just thrown something so when I was able to tell my mother what had happened, I named him. You have to have known my mother to know this was a monumental moment. She always protected her kids but we always fought our own battles. She actually called that boy's home and read them the riot act.
As parents did back then, his father dragged him by the ear to our house to hear the story first hand. I was terrified. There was so much anger going on between the parents. You have to know here that my parents?, they never hit us, they sort of yelled but not in an angry way. The anger that boys dad was showing scared me to death. That boy's name was Alan and I knew he would be dead by morning if I were not absolutely sure about my story. My mother, who had never called a parent in anger in her life was behind me. Alan and his homicidal dad were in front of me. I had to tell the story as I know it happened. I could only tell the truth! I never saw Alan throw the garbage grapefruit that hit me on the head. I never saw him call me Fatso Piggo. I only saw him standing up behind that rock when the deed had been done. I could not say he did it and my mother never forgave me. I cared but I couldn't send Alan to his death with half a story. In truth? I think he did it. I just couldn't say for absolutely certain sure.
Since that teaching moment, I have never wanted to extrapolate a story from events I had not witnessed for sure. That's kind of why I am so sensitive to the press and it's nonsense and how people jump on the hook because it's the story they want to hear.