Boomer Bites continues. This week’s words: Bullies, Bicycles, Brothers and Bluebirds.
Bullies. Every class has them, from grade school to forever. They were kids who didn’t try to get along. They made fun of people. They picked on you because your family had a lot of money, or not enough, and you had too many clothes, or not enough. A couple of kids were picked on because they were overweight, but that wasn’t much of an issue in the Fifties and Sixties. We didn’t have fast food; we had recess and played outside until dark almost every day.
Bullies got worse in junior high. Some of them gossiped to get at you, making up stories that weren’t true and there was no opportunity to defend yourself. They made fun of big boobs, little boobs, big noses, eyeglasses, curly hair, uncool clothes – you name it. But as far as I know, none of their victims killed themselves. We cried about it, took a deep breath, stuck our chins out, and went on with life. We learned early that life wasn’t fair and bullies were one of the reasons it wasn’t.
Bicycles = The closest thing to flying. I loved my bike. It was my airplane and my horse, depending on my mood. I lived about a block and a half from school, and so I rode my bike every day. My bike was a turquoise Schwinn with a basket, I could carry almost anything I wanted with me. I rode the neighborhood on my bike, unafraid. I rode to Champlin park or the neighborhood bird sanctuary and met up with kids in my school. I rode to the grocery store (almost a mile away) to get small things for my mom. I even rode to my piano teacher’s house a couple of times (about a mile and a half away) but that was the furthest I ever went alone.
Brothers. My only sibling was an older brother. He grinned a lot, but that meant that he was plotting something devious, some trick to pull on me, like booby-trapping my drawers or planting fake spiders on my pillow, or sliding metal ice trays down my back on Saturday mornings when I was sleeping in.
Bluebirds. My first social group was the Blue Birds, the junior group of Campfire Girls. These seven girls were my best buds in grade school, whether we were in the same class or not. We met weekly, at one of our houses, and all our mothers (who all stayed at home) took turns coming up with things for us to make or do so that we could earn a special bead for our vests. We had Candy Sales in the fall of each year, and went to camp for a week in the summer. At camp, I was always homesick, but so were my friends. We wrote postcards to our families and asked them to come get us. The song “Mother, Father, Here I Am at Camp Granada” sums it all up.
Watch for part 2 of Boomer Bites -B’s coming next week.