It’s the one, running with no iPod plus…your mind opens like a reluctant treasure chest, whether you want it to or not.
I’m blessed with bravery, even if I’m freaked down to my socks since I never back down when facing a foe even if it means getting my ass kicked. I also tend to face them for others as well.
I remembered an incident that happened in the third grade which is rather funny since, I can’t recall what happened yesterday, but that’s age for you…it’s very selective, as if your mind’s a hot downtown club only letting in who it wants.
There was a black kid in class named Firmen Johnson. Back then the term colored was still used, but I prefer black, even now, same as me being white, both clean in their simplicity. I always think, thank God I’m not a pastel.
Firmen was a first-class bully…a tough kid without a mom raised by Firmen senior who seemed so kind and respectable each time he had to come to school.
“What did he do now,” he’d ask Mrs. Griffin, probably the kindest teacher who ever taught elementary school especially to such a mixed group of heathens. The only reason she’d call Firmen’s dad was because it usually involved another kid. When Firmen called her a fat, old bitch, she took it on the chin, all five of them.
I’ve really popped a file here, haven’t I?
We’ll call it, The lion and lamb file.
There was another boy in class named Ronnie Spartaro with bright red hair on a football shaped head who Firmen relentlessly made fun of. He’d take his lunch, beat him up making him cry daily calling him Howdy Doody, exactly who he looked like. One day Mrs. Griffin asked Firmen a question about something, history, science…I can’t remember, but he gave the wrong answer causing the whole class to laugh at him to the point, it made him cry.
You would think Ronnie Spataro, of all people, would have been a happy camper gleaning revenge from this moment. But instead, he got up crouching down next to Firmen who had turned his chair to the wall in embarrassment trying his best to comfort him.
I was sitting behind Firmen, always grateful since he couldn’t pull my hair like Teresa Errechetti, so I heard Ronnie say, “Don’t cry Firm, it’s gonna be okay…don’t cry.”
I got very emotional remembering this. I was very young, yet that kid’s compassion for his tormenter nestled itself neatly in my memory bank.
I always think, kids really do absorb all they hear and see and it’s a myth to think otherwise.
Made me think of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s three standing sadly on the church steps the day of their dad’s funeral, an image eternally etched in my mind.
Then I thought of myself having such lucid recall.
How old are you in the third grade…eight?
A writer is born.