Each day for the next month, write a blog in letter form to the following people:
Here's the list
Day 17 — Someone from your childhood
This is a hard one. I barely remember you. I think I know what you looked like, but it may be some weird amalgam of Gary Coleman and Emmanuel Lewis that I developed later.
I don't remember exactly what you did to me, although I know it was bad enough that I came home and complained on a regular basis. It couldn't have been out and out beating up, but you were certainly some kind of a bully. Pushing, hitting, name-calling and of course the swing. I have a scar somewhere on my scalp from being hit by a metal swing in the playground and I'm pretty sure you pushed it.
There aren't a lot of clear facts in this story except that I was a white girl and you were a black boy. According to family lore you were "bussed in from Sugar Hill." You were a "monster." I don't think the N-word was used in my home, but the S-word was, and in fact, it wasn't until far too many years later that I learned that "schvartze" was by no means a benign euphemism.
Maybe things were very bad where you came from. It was 70's, the economy sucked, New York was a nightmare, and the public school system had put us on a collision course. You were probably very angry and there may have been something about me that screamed "victim." Or maybe I was a brat because this was back when I was still skating on being smarter than anyone else. I just don't know.
I do know that if I couldn't handle you and PS 173 M, I sure as hell wouldn't have made it through the rest of the New York City School System. Luckily I never had to find out. I was white and middle class and my parents moved to Elmwood Park and then Fair Lawn in suburban New Jersey. I was miserable there, and suffered emotionally, but not physically as far as I can remember.
I don't know what happened to you. I'd like to think that you grew out of it, or got some help, or something. But I don't know. You probably had no way out and there's no end to list of bad things that could have happened.
Good luck or god bless, wherever you are.