I was talking to my dad yesterday morning, father’s day, and he brought up a the subject of bullies, specifically me getting bullied during high school. Blogging is the reason the subject came up at all.
You see, my brother got an email via his blog from a person that used to live in the same town as us in high school. He replied to the email and the original sender dropped a bunch of names.
My brother sent that second email around to my family to see if we knew any of them. One of them was a guy who had the locker next to me in high school and as my brother put it, "was unkind to me". I saw his name and shot some sort of strong worded email back to everyone on who was copied (all four of five of us).
My mom replied and asked what prompted such a response. I sent her the following email:
He had the locker next to me for 4 years in high school
He loved to taunt me, hit me, and generally make me feel bad which he accomplished on a regular basis
So that email has been bothering my folks for the past week. They never knew about this situation because I never told them. I never told my brothers either. It was my thing, I dealt with it as best I could. That’s the way I always did things back then.
My Dad told me yesterday, father’s day, that he was sorry that he didn’t know and didn’t help me. We talked about it for a bit and I assured him that it wasn’t something he should feel bad about.
I’ve been in the same boat as a parent. Last summer at camp, Josh got pushed around by another kid in his bunk. When we came up for visiting day, we found out and it really made me upset (maybe because of my own experiences). But we didn’t do anything about it other than coach him on how to handle it. To Josh’s credit, he got the kids on his bunk on his side and they ostracized the bully. I wish I could have pulled that off in high school but I couldn’t.
There’s a postcript to this story. My brother got an email from the very guy who caused me problems in high school and he asked to be remembered to me. My brother, always the comic, replied:
… So, if you aren’t interested in beating Fred up, I’d be happy to send him your regards.
And the guy replied back that "he understands my memory" of him. He’s with the marines in Alaska now. And I’ve got nothing against him anymore. Time passes, we all grow up, and move on.