This next story I want to share took place around when I was around 7 and really was less about me being bullied then about my family. I am the youngest in the family. I have a sister two-and-a-half years older than me. When we first moved to Lexington, MA, where most of the bullying took place, we had moved from Maryland.
Lexington was vastly different. The people were different then what we were used to. I was less in the know on this, but talk to my parents frequently about our years in Lexington and the issues the whole family had.
Soon after we moved there, my mom walked my sister and me to the school playground at Franklin Elementary, where I went to elementary school and where much of my early bullying incidents took place. This would be the first incident at the school grounds, long before schools made bully policies. My sister and I were playing and there were some older boys at the school. They were probably about 12-13 years old.
For no reason, they started picking on my sister. We were just playing and not even around them. My mom was watching from the side. They started harassing her and calling her names, right in front of our mother. My sister went to my mom and she went and confronted the kids.
They started taunting my mom, calling her a Wicked Witch and singing the theme for the wicked witch from the Wizard Of Oz movie (da da da da da da). Maybe you are chuckling reading this right now, but my sister and I were terrified at the time. We were little kids. They continued to taunt my mom, who started running toward them. They ran from her in circles and just kept doing it. She couldn’t catch them.
Finally she came back to us and we started to walk home. They continued to taunt her by singing the Wicked Witch theme. As I think back to this moment, I recall how this is the first time I saw my mother as powerless to help us. She tried, but could not help. They taunted her and I’m sure she felt bad, but what they really did is ruin something for me. I no longer saw my mom as my hero. She couldn’t help me at 7 years old or my sister at 9. These bullies took her power as our mother and as an adult away from her.
Once the bullying got really bad for me in the coming years, I’m not sure that I believed that my mom, dad or any adult could help me, because of this. Now that I have children that I know look to me to help them, it’s hard for me to think that this could happen to me as their father. Thankfully, I haven’t had to confront it yet.