Thursday, August 7, 2014

old ghosts

Junior High turned out to be a routine of being dropped off at Hell every day.  What made it unbearable was the racial tension that most of the school staff seemed to ignore.  Public schooling for me sucked big time.  I remember bleeding ulcers in seventh grade, and the taste of barium for the x-ray that the nurse called a milk shake.  I also remember the chalky taste of Maalox that I would swig right out of the bottle between classes.  Sure it tasted like minty chalk, but it seemed to ease the internal pain.

I remember fights that I didn't want to fight, but had to if I wanted to stay out of future fights.  With whites bullies,  you fought them one at a time and they usually wouldn't pick a fight with you in the future if you drew a little blood.  Bullies like easy victims.  It didn't matter if you lost, you just didn't make it easy for them.  With blacks, you were going to have to deal with a pack of them, and you would lose because you were always outnumbered.  It was never fair, and that's how I learned life wasn't. 

Nevertheless, if you didn't fight, you were going to remain a perpetual victim. I wouldn't show fear, not a tear.  I would internalize it and bury it with humor.  The worst times were when the kids were left idling in the classroom while a teacher was smoking one in the lounge.  I discovered as a Christian boy, I had only two cheeks to turn, and defending myself a necessity.  I came to terms with it, I grabbed hold of the perspective that even though I had to fight, I would not hate. 

I dropped my eleven year old at school this morning for her first day of middle school.  I couldn't help it, those old ghosts come back to haunt me just like they did when her older sister Katie entered those doors.  I assure myself that she'll be okay and that her world will be nothing like my world.  Her big sister came out fine, and I am glad and relieved that they've enjoyed their school experience.  My eyes and ears are keen to it though.  So far so good.
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