I remember VERY LITTLE from my childhood. I remember events happened, but I could hardly form an accurate story about it.
There is one event that I remember very clearly. I had just moved to the other side of Oklahoma City in the middle of my fourth grade year. New neighborhood, new school. I wasn't cool. I wasn't pretty or skinny or have the cool clothes. I had freckles, crooked teeth, and a unibrow. I'll have to dig up that picture. However, I had no idea that I wasn't cool until I moved because the friends of my childhood treated me well. I had lots of friends and I was a good student at my old school. At this new school, I was quiet and shy. I didn't know anyone. I remember I was in Mrs. Welsh's class. She was a large older woman whom I remember had very little idea what was going on among the students in class. (Now that I'm older, I realize she probably knew, but didn't know how to handle it.) Anyway, I remember that this girl, Jesse, had given me a hard time verbally for a few days. I don't remember what she called me or what she said. I just remember feeling tension and that I was inferior. I was sitting in the front of the class working one day when she started to spit paper wads at me from the back of the class. One after the other, they landed on my desk. Spit spread onto my worksheet. Soft giggles coming from the back. I didn't dare look up. I kept my nose down, my chin tucked. I was humiliated. I felt like someone was standing on my heart. I was so confused. I didn't understand how in one place I could be myself and have friends. And in another place I had no one--even worse, I had ENEMIES. It rocked my world. I actually think it is the reason why I became shy and unsure in my teen years. I remember not feeling good about myself socially until college. In the meantime, I got my self-worth from academic and athletic success. I did not have many friends. I was afraid to be myself.
By the way, I did report this to my parents. I remember my dad (a child of the 1950s) advising me to "beat the shit out of her" the next time she messed with me. My dad asked me if the teacher knew about what Jesse did. I truthfully answered, "Yes." My dad said that since the adults weren't handling it, I could handle it myself and if I ended up in the principal's office, my dad would have my back.
Looking back on that, it makes me laugh. Needless to say, Jesse never directly messed with me again. Was she nice to me? No. But she seemed to move on and didn't pay me any attention after the spitball incident. I don't know if I really would have been able to hit her hard. But I do remember that I planned to do exactly that if I needed to. How funny. Now I'm a teacher and would never want a student to hit another. However, it is part of human nature to take matters into our own hands. I think children still often do this when adults don't right wrongs. I don't fault my dad for coming up with that solution. It's an age-old remedy to social order disputes.
That event is vivid in my mind and it also shaped my social confidence for the next few years.