formerly Diane's Addled Ramblings... the ramblings are still addled, just like before, and the URL is still the same...
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Thursday, January 8, 2009

That Day (An Interview Mememememe!)

The other day, one of my very best bloggy buddies, Heinous, did an ‘interview meme’ post. Another blogger came up with questions just for him and after reading his responses, I asked (and by ‘asked’ I mean ‘begged’) him to come up with questions for me. So, because he loves me (and by ‘loves me’ I mean ‘he wanted me off his back’) he did. He gave me six great questions, the first of which I answered below. Because the answer (and this damned introduction) was rather long, I decided to post the other questions/answers at a later date, so as not to overwhelm you (and by ‘overwhelm you’ I mean ‘bore you to tears’). I know you’ll all be waiting on the edge of your seats, right? Right. So… off we go!

What is the bravest thing that you feel you've ever done? Physically, emotionally, or whatever.

It was 1972. I was a happy little first grader in Mrs. Veith’s class at Franklin School in Kearny, NJ. I liked my classmates and my teacher and life was good. Until that day… the day that would be forever burned into my psyche… the day I accidentally knocked Patrick O’Brien down at recess.

Patrick was a little kid, much smaller than I. Blonde and scrappy, he came from a big Irish family and his older brothers (of which there were 4) were known for their foul mouths and quick fists. The youngest (and the runt) of the group, Patrick was a little trouble-maker, often stirring things up and then getting his big brothers to bail him out.

Anyway, as I said, I knocked Patrick down. It was a total accident. We were playing tag, running helter skelter, and I somehow clipped him in the mouth with my elbow (he was really short). Down he went; blood on his lip, fire in his eyes, and revenge in his little black heart. He didn’t cry (the O’Briens never cried) but he jumped up as I was apologizing and got right in my face (well, he got right in my collarbone), yelling, “You did that on purpose! I’m going get my brother after you!”

Uh oh. My blood ran cold. He had to mean Kevin, the only one of his brothers who still went to our school. Kevin O’Brien was a big, red-headed 3rd grader, quick and mean, and he ruled the playground. I was scared. Correction: I was terrified. Kevin was not known for showing mercy, even to girls. And you must remember, these were the days when kids solved their own problems; the days before they were instructed to run crying to teachers or parents because some other kid committed an unforgivable sin, like calling them a name. Tattling was not an option.

I spent the rest of the morning in a cold sweat. Every time I looked over at Patrick, he was glaring at me. He kept pointing to his lip (which had stopped bleeding after about 30 seconds), sneering evilly. I gulped a lot that morning. When the bell rang for lunch, I was first out the door. Only the last half of our lunch break overlapped with the 3rd graders’, so I knew I’d be safe on the way home, but I still ran like Satan himself was on my heels. I figured I could talk my mom into letting me stay home for the afternoon. Pfffttt. Was I ever wrong. So I took the long way back, using my best Agent 99 skills to get me back into the building through a side-door, undetected! I didn’t see Patrick until the bell rang and as he sauntered past my desk, he leaned down and whispered, “Just wait until after school.” I didn’t swear back then but you can bet that if I had, “Shit-oh-dear” would have been coming out of my mouth. A lot. I spent the rest of the afternoon shaking, my stomach in knots. If I’d been a smarter kid, I would have told the teacher I was sick so I could have gotten sent home. Yeah, hindsight’s 20/20.

When the 3:00 bell rang, I left the building with my classmates, hoping to get lost in the crowd. But it was like I was a reverse magnet that repelled everything around me… everyone scattered and I was left alone (I’m sure you’re wondering why I didn’t have any friends to back me up… I’m wondering that myself as I tell this story. I did have friends, I swear… so where the hell were they?! All scared of Kevin O’Brien, that's where!).

Anyway, I was nearly out of the school yard when I saw them coming toward me; Patrick in front, leading the way, a ‘you’re gonna get it now’ look on his sniveling little face; Kevin behind him; several other 3rd grade boys following.

I stopped dead in my tracks… and peed in my pants. I did. I was actually wearing a skirt, so it wasn’t readily apparent, but it did not feel good, let me tell you.

When they got to me, Kevin stared at me with his little pig eyes, smacked his bubblegum loudly, and bounced a small pink rubber ball on the pavement (the same one he bounced against the wall of the school every morning, trying to bean the little kids on their heads as they dodged past on the way to their kindergarten classes). He cocked his head at me and said, “This her?” Patrick, the little weasel, replied affirmatively. I stood there shaking, pee running down my legs and into my socks and Buster Browns, ready to just close my eyes and fall to the ground in a fetal position.

And then it happened.

I don’t know where it came from but I looked right at big, ugly Kevin O’Brien and I said (in a shockingly defiant tone that belied my Jell-O, pee-covered knees), “Look, I knocked him down by accident. I didn’t mean to do it and I said I was sorry. But if you want to hit me, then just go ahead and get it over with.”

Then I waited, not taking my eyes off his freckled face. Kevin looked back at me for what seemed an eternity, chomping his wad of Bazooka, bouncing that ball all the while, and finally said, “Nah. Forget it. I don’t wanna hit a girl.” Then he clipped Patrick on the back of the head and turned and walked away, followed by his gang.

And I ran all the way home to change my underpants.

And that, my friends, is by far the bravest thing I have ever done in my life!


Shanna said...

OMG you poor little kid! UGH. But DAMN! Way to stand up for yourself!

La Pixie said...

I cant believe that a boy would hit a girl!! you are brave! I would have cried.

Diane said...

Pixie... for all I know he never did hit a girl. I never actually saw him do it. But reputations, especially the reputations of bullies, are often built on lies and assumptions. All I know is that I believed he was going to hit me. And in 1972, it didn't seem so out-of-the-question that a 9-year-old boy would hit a 7-year-old girl... at least not to me :)

Michelle said...

Wow what an awesome story!! It was as though i was actually there with you running helter skelter through the yard. I told you to be careful but you didn't listen. Then all of a sudden Patrick was right in front of you!! Sorry, i didn't come to your defense later on, i was busy peeing in my pants!!!

Happy Thursday!!!

blueviolet said...

This is like a scene from a movie. You're a tough one and I like your moxie!

Mel said...

Yeah, I'd say you were pretty brave. For a girl with pee running down her legs. So, you literally gobsmacked Patrick with your elbow? Cool!

I personally think you're braver every day you get up as a single mom and raise my goddaughter to be the person she's becoming. Just sayin'. Oh crap, my huge heart just grew 2 sizes. My boobs are even bigger than they were before!

J Cosmo Newbery said...

Gutsy stuff, at any age.

Mel: There are images there that I rightly should not be dwelling on.

Jo-Jo said...

I felt like I was reading a Christmas Story! LOVED IT!

Heinous said...

Great story, cutie!

It was like David and Goliath all over again...except no rocks were thrown...and the pee thing.

The Odd Duck said...

A very brave little thing you were.

This takes me back to the days where my reputation preceded me, maybe I'll blog about that time in Hell one day.

Petra a.k.a The Wise (*Young*) Mommy said...

what an adorable story! good for you standing up to that punk!

you were a brave little girl (even with the wet undies)

Ronda's Rants said...

Very brave...well, all but the wetting your pants but totally understandable!

blognut said...

Wow! I don't know whether to be awed because you stood up to a 9 year old boy, or because you got away with peeing your pants at school. That's the sort of thing that leads to therapy in later years!

Jen L. said...

That is an awesome story.

Mama Wheaton said...

Way to go girl you rock! Did you have to explain the wet under things to Mom?

Stinking Billy said...

diane, don't worry, you've got lots more where that attack of guts came from. I know that I would hate to tangle with you, although...I don't know? ;-) x

Protege said...

Diane, this was a great story; good for you! You were indeed very brave! Poor little you, I feel so sorry mostly for the fact you had to spend an entire afternoon in terror.;))
I guess Patrick got smacked twice then on that day, once by a girl and once by his brother.;))

Heather said...

I laughed out loud at this one Diane. You were very brave, indeed. Next time the neighborhood bully gets after me, I'll know who to call. Of course, everyone on my street is 65+, so I might be able to handle myself against a senior citizen bully. Who knows?
And I like your description of the Irish as "foul mouths and quick fists." I'm Irish, ya know? Well, a couple generations back. I've been working on the mouth thing. :)

Sometimes Sophia said...

This is a great story. It would makes a wonderful kids' book. You should write it and get someone to illustrate it for you. Can't wait to hear answers to the rest of the questions. Have a love weekend.

Jane! said...

I can always sympathize with the girl with the wet pants.
Good story.

jill said...

it's funny how those events stay with us forever. great story.

i've seen "wicked" several times...i LOVE it. i'm taking 103 folks on Sunday - it's the last Los Angeles performance. i'm kind of a theatre junkie and i'm always trying to get others hooked. =D

Anonymous said...

I knew I should have hit you.


Stu Pidasso said...

Just kidding, Diane. Must be the mean Irish boy in me. I am foul mouthed and quick tempered much more than I care to admit. And the unknown reserve of guts just surprised you to all ends, didn't it. Well, it is still showing today as you raise Ryan on your own. Can't wait to read the resat of the questions.

Kevis aka Stewey

Pearl said...

Oh, I can just see it now, like something straight out of "Christmas Story". :-)

Diane said...

Stu... that's the hardest I've laughed all day... thanks for that! (Oh, and thanks for the nice stuff you said, too ;)... xo

K and/or K said...

Kudos to you!! Booya Patrick!

I came over from Blarney's blog, happy to meet ya!


Shanna said...

Ding Dongs eh? Well ... hmm ... I'd have to say it's not very nice to start a line like that and then back out with a never mind! :P

justsomethoughts... said...

hear hear! thats IS a great story. you should find the a--hole and punch him now. thats what i say.

Live More Now (LMN) said...

This is so funny ... takes me back to childhood days of chasing on the playground. One day I was chasing this boy who fell down and smashed his glasses on the pavement and jumped up and immediately yelled "My dad is a lawyer and he's going to sue you!"

I felt bad. But he didn't have any big brothers try to beat me up.

Strange Pilgram said...

I wonder if it was also the most scared you've been in your life?

Jenners said...

That was a totally brilliant piece of writing. You have got talent. I was right there with you and your little details are just fantastic. And the story itself was terrific. I love that you stood up for yourself -- it took courage beyond belief. I'm so proud of your little girl self.

It reminded me of my first day of high school when I had to ride the bus and was chosen by the bus bullies to be taunted the entire way to school. It was me and another girl (easy pickings I guess). She ended up breaking down in tears. I just sat there stony faced and gave them no reaction and they left me alone for the rest of the school year. The other girl was a target all year long until they got bored and broke her. I've always been incredibly proud of that moment.

Maithri said...

Standing ovation!..Woohoo!!! You get em Diane...

Bullies are such assholes...pardon my french... I wonder where that term comes from...must be a lot of swear words in french eh? ;)

I was a skinny coloured kid in an all white private school... And bullies were like infestation!!

We had to find our courage from somewhere...

And as adults I think the bullies sometimes become a little more esoteric, a little more metaphysical..

They're no longer freckle faced gum chewing idiots... .they become addictions, or restrictive/diminishing thought patterns, or a whole number of other things...

I wonder where we get that stand up to our fears...even though we've just peed our pants (i dont think thats how you spell peed... is it peeed? wheres mr webster when you need him lol)

My Dad used to say..."Theres steel in you."

Maybe thats what is...somewhere in all of us...theres something strong...

Something invincible...

Something that says... You know what...Give it your best shot...

I shall not be moved.

Much love my heroic friend, Much love


only a movie said...

Oh, I love this. Great story and well told...

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