Thank you to author, Kevin Golembiewski, A Missing Piece in the Fight Against Bullying, http://www.bridge50.com/9/post/2013/11/a-missing-piece-in-the-fight-against-bullying.html
I can’t remember waking up, but can remember thinking, “Oh, no, not another walk to the bus stop.” As a kid, we lived on a cul de sac at the bottom of two hills, a short steep one at the very top of the street, and a longer less steep one leading down to the circle and our house. Renney was a kid who went to my elementary school and he was in third grade. He lived on the next street down, on a smaller street, with a dead end. We shared a bus stop, and if you cut through the Kisches’ backyard, halfway up the steep hill, you could get to Renney’s street. But, I had never been there.
He used to greet me at the top of the long hill. This was as far up the street as I was allowed to go on my bicycle, still in training wheels. His shaggy black curls hung around translucent greenish pale skin, and a black newspaper boy book-bag swung from his left shoulder. He grinned when he saw me, swinging the book bag off his shoulder, and twirling it, hurling it my way, his right hand holding onto the black canvas strap. Whack right into my shoulder, knocking my lanky kindergarten frame to the bright white sidewalk. I hit the ground with my elbow and my Superman back-back. I was surprised, and stood right up, looked at Renney standing there, laughing, and took a deep breath. Then, I cried. And Renney ran up the steep hill to the bus stop. I watched him for a moment, then turned and ran back down the long hill to our house. Although Renney had spent the last two weeks, my first two weeks of going to morning kindergarten at the public elementary school, teasing me about my voice, my size, my crying on the first day of school, the day my mom walked me to the stop to say goodbye, and my sensitive eyes pissed all the way to school. Although he had been bullying me for all this time, this was the first time he had actually made contact. I showed up at the back door, up the wooden steps from the driveway to the kitchen. I knocked quietly. Mom opened the door, sat with me at the kitchen table, and listened as I told her about Renney. She finished cleaning up the sink, packed my brother and I into the 70’s burnt orange colored Mustang and drove me to school.
That afternoon, she took me to a meeting she had scheduled with Renney’s mom, and with Renney. First, Renney’s mom welcomed us into a dark, high-ceilinged living room, and there was ice water. There were plants, and there was wooden carved lattice covering the half circle of glass window above the bay window facing east. It was unadulterated green outside, overcast day, and misty. Second, I was asked to recount the incident, which I did with Mom’s encouragement. Third, Renney’s mom asked him to recount the incident. He told it pretty much the same as I did. He said it was unintentional to actually hit me with the bag but that he was swinging it at me to scare me. We talked about things that scared us then. He had action figure toys in the living room, and vehicles, and he said that aliens scared him. I agreed. But not Superman, I claimed, he was a good alien. Renney agreed; he also like the S man. Next, Renney’s mom asked if him if he thought scaring me was nice. He said no. My mom asked me if it felt good to feel scared, I said, no. He ended up apologizing, and then we played action figures and vehicles.
Go, Moms! They had just facilitated a successful Restorative Justice Conference, in 1976! So avante garde…
After that, Renney and I said hi to one another at the bus stop, sometimes he would even meet me at the top of the long hill, and I’d tag behind him up to the stop. That was one suggestion made during our conference that came to fruition. But, then he and his Mom moved away before the New Year. Come to find out it was just an apartment, his house was, in a broken up larger house. I never did go back to his house though. And, I remember this story and say, Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. Thank You for so much, and thanks for getting that kid to stop bullying me.