The kids and I are reading “Ramona Quimby, age 8” by Beverly Cleary for Olivia’s next book report. I just love Ramona, don’t you? There’s a character in the book, a boy in Ramona’s class, named Danny. He teases her and drives her crazy and she calls him “Yard Ape” because of the way he acts on the playground. This has brought back a flood of memories for me of a boy who used to bully me named…Danny.
My mom was a working mom so we went to a sitter or daycare. When I was in Kindergarten, we went to a woman’s house in our town. She was fairly nice and had three kids, one was older than me, one was my age and one was my sister’s age. Sounds great, right? Well the one who was my age was Danny. He was a bully and so mean.
Every day he would tease me. That I could handle. He would take my backpack or take my lunchbox and hide it. Then he would taunt me about how I would never get it back. As a girl who was not in any way, shape or form spoiled, my backpack and lunchbox were precious to me. I would beg him to give them back while fighting back tears.
He would also kick me in the shins. All the time. Again, I would hold back tears because I was not going to let this punk know that he was bothering me. But obviously I didn’t hide it very well because he knew he was getting to me. When we would wait for the bus, he would push and shove me and, if there was a hill of snow, he would push me down the hill.
One summer day he even pushed me head first down a slide and knocked my front teeth out. I hit the dirt so hard, we never found my teeth. I remember sitting in their driveway all by myself with a washcloth in my mouth to soak up the blood, crying and thinking over and over again in my head “IwantmyMomIwantmyMom” until she arrived early to pick me up.
I finally told my Mom what was happening to me. She had noticed the bruises on my shins and now, with the teeth incident, she knew something was going on. Did I forget to mention that, as a Kindergartener, I was the size of a third grader? That Danny was puny and small? My Mom gave me permission to fight back. I remember when she said “Well kick him back! Push him back! Fight back!” my eyes lit up and I was so happy. I knew I was bigger than him and could definitely fight back. I just didn’t know I was allowed.
The very next day, Danny took my backpack again. I grabbed his shirt and kicked him as hard as I could in the shins.
Guess who got their backpack back?
He didn’t bother me anymore after that. I felt so powerful knowing that I was allowed to fight back.