At age six, I entered Mrs. Gross’ second grade class. Mrs. Gross was kind, pleasant, and had a slight build. Mrs. Gross although she kept a calm in the air, it was not from brutality. It truly must have been through passion. Love perhaps. In second grade there are many lessons to learn. Like when to defend yourself and do it without getting into trouble. With a dress on of course. That is, if you were a girl. Also ‘cause your Mom told you so and the school expected proper attire. Which back in the 1960’s girls wore dresses and skirts most days the week then once a week a nice pair of slacks to school. It was the way back then.
One day, I just know Mrs. Gross saw me mounted on top of Nicky, beating him up of course. Oh, he deserved it. Oh, Nicky. The most teased kid in our class. One day he tried to turn the tables on me. He started making fun of me in the schoolyard before the school bell rang. Kids who had never teased me were being mean to me. I stood there with my red, blue, green, yellow, and white plaid, Scottish type dress on. With of course the proper white little girl’s collar embracing my neck, Piggy tails and all. I asked, “Who told that lie?!” I was fuming. There would be a comeuppance to the liar.
The kids laughing, poking fun pointed to Nicky. I was astonished, thinking, ‘…it couldn’t be. I never picked on him. I knew not to pick on anybody. I was the good-girl with saddle shoes on. And besides, didn’t he know I played football with the older boys on the weekends?’ I thought silently. I looked over at him in disbelief. He had placed in the air, a rumor that he and I had kissed. Me being the ultimate tomboy would have none of that. The mocking of me continued. Nicky then confessed. Nicky now with a blank look on his face began to almost smirk to a giggle. Then his expression changed. I guess it must’ve been my ‘fit of rage’ eyes looking at him. My husband of nearly thirty-six years says I do have that gift. Which this forced Nicky to start backing up.
To this day, I have no clue how a thirty pound, six year old girl could have done the perfect takedown into a mount with a bigger boy. Yet somehow, I accomplished it. It must have been sheer rage. Next thing I knew, pretty dress, saddle shoes, bobby socks, piggy tails and all, I was mounted on top of Nicky throwing…well not exactly leather. But you know…
Soon the first school bell rang. I got up and ran inside so I wouldn’t be late. Mrs. Gross saw me take my seat. She said nothing. I sat with my hands folded on my desk as was required. I waited for the second bell, then her class instructions and the Pledge of Allegiance. Nothing was said. There were no funny looks. Nicky’s face was a bit red. But he looked like that quite often, it appeared as a look of apathy and or one of exacerbation. Nicky got straight A’s all the time. The smartest kid in the class. Yet Nicky would cry if he’d gotten an A minus. I can’t image the terror or perhaps the fear of God I implanted in his mind that day. However, he never did that again to my knowledge.---Jody-Lynn Reicher