Thursday, March 12, 2009

Nostalgia

When the Matron was but a Wee Miss, she once endured an entire year of classroom combat. This was flat-out war. In fifth grade.

The classroom was controlled by a boy named Scott. The Matron remembers his last name but will not post it in case he's busy googling himself (if he's not currently serving time for rape or murder).

Scott had a small gaggle of henchmen who did his every evil deed. And there were many. Hench men and deed.

Wee Miss was new to this school. Her family was in upheaval, having literally heaved from one city to another, officially sans father. Her mother was a new college student, juggling full-time parenting with full-time studies. So the mama was busy.

Wee Miss felt more or less on her own once that bus opened its doors and she walked out onto the playground. Where she was promptly knocked down and beaten. Kicked, pinched, slugged. On a daily basis.

But at least she had a chance on the playground! She could run! And run she did, hiding in corners, under slides, and behind teachers when available. The most dangerous place in the war was the actual classroom.

Everyday at 10 am her teacher took a half hour coffee break (those were the days!). Everyday at 10 am Wee Miss hated this teacher, very much. The instant she was out of the room, Scott leapt to his leaden hoof and took charge. Mostly that meant decided whether to torture Wee Miss or his other favorite victim, Renee.

Everyday, the fearful, guilt-ridden, terrified Wee Miss prayed it would be Renee and hated herself for doing so. But Scott executed a sort of balance to his torture, an even distribution sort of guy.

Routinely, the hench men would hold down Wee Miss's hands and feet so that Scott could explore her body --- all of its parts-- in front of the entire classroom. With commentary. When he wasn't busy with Wee Miss, he worked on Renee. If he caught Wee Miss alone in the large dark coat room? He got to throw her down on the ground for better inspection and grope, especially if his helpers were nearby.

When Wee Miss, she of brave spirit and spunk, had her first such encounter with Scott, she screamed and threatened full exposure.

Scott pulled out a small switch blade. "You see this knife? If you tell anyone, I'm going to kill your baby brother. He's in kindegarten. Room four, Mrs. Duncan."

Wee Miss kept her mouth shut. She was terrified of Scott! Certain -- 100% 10 year old certainty -- that Scott would kill her brother or sister, or even herself. The thing that astounds the grown-up Matron is the degree of control Scott exerted on the entire classroom.

The sexual terrorism (LOVE that term and thanks Carol Sheffield) continued the ENTIRE academic year without relent. Not a day went by when some new horror wasn't tossed out to play. Not one child said a word. Not one child reported that the girls in room 212 were being undressed, felt-up, and beaten.

The Matron's hands shake, typing, thirty years later.

Wee Miss was at that school for just two years and in Scott's classroom the first. When she entered junior high, she was placed in a section for low-performing, academically-challenged students. You see, she barely passed fifth and sixth grade. She spent two years trying to live under the radar.

Within a month and several cities separating her and Scott, Wee Miss was switched to the acdemic fast track. She eventually stopped sitting up at nights, waiting for someone to kill or grope her.

About two years ago, the Matron googled Renee. And found her! They had dinner and, war refugees, shared their stories and the centrality that Scott had played in their lives. Renee recounted in horror how she had run into him on a city street as an adult and nearly fell over with fear. Rumor was he'd done some time in jail for rape.

Renee and the Matron are now friends on facebook and sisters who survived and thrived, despite this. Indeed, the Matron finds her very fine feminist roots in this experience.

The Matron has forgiven that sad, mean, dangerous little boy. Wee Miss never will.

20 comments:

Kelly said...

Speechless.

Will keep Violet at home. Forever.

She She said...

Wee Miss, I hate him for you. And I wonder what horrors he might have had to endure at home. Can I hate him and feel sorry for him at the same time?

It's hard to be a girl. Still.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

That is the most horrid thing I've ever read about. My heart aches for you both. He deserves every vile and evil punishment times ten.
I wonder too where any of the good kids were--why did NO one speak up, ever?

another good thing said...

Holy crap. If I had been your mom I would have bought you your very own switch blade. Pink.

um. my daughter is in fifth grade. and I have manhandled little 5th grade asswipes at the bus stop who TRIED to beat her up.

You are good to forgive.

The Finely Tuned Woman said...

I am beyond being able to comment. I am stumbling over my own thoughts. I feel such outrage and sadness for that little girl. Where was the damn teacher? Oh, never mind. I'm too mad to say anything sensible.

Great big hugs,
Irene

Lynda said...

What an awful experience and how terrifying it can still be as an adult.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I'm glad you're a survivor. Things could have turned out so differently.

'Megan' said...

I am amazed that this could happen and no one said anything.

Minnesota Matron said...

Yes -- Scott must have been deeply wounded himself. How else could he be such a predator at 11?

smalltownmom said...

Horrible!

I hope he got caught and is in jail somewhere.

MJ said...

What astonishes me is that he managed to control an entire classroom. Why didn't some of the kids group together and at least tattle to the teacher? I know why: he was controlling little bully. Still, I am astonished.

My second amazement is that you thrived and managed to rebound academically. Thank goodness for that; so many would be so wounded that they would never have recovered...

kmkat said...

How horrible for you. How wonderful that you and Renae both survived and thrived.

I discovered my #1 son was bullying, in a much less violent or intrusive or nasty way, a little girl in his E1 classroom (Montessori school, grade 1-3 in same classroom). This struck such a chord with me, having been bullied a bit as a child, too, that I lectured him severely and forced him to apologize to her. It still makes me furious to think about it. I talked to the little girl's mother about it, and the mother was very casual and offhand, saying, "Oh, kids do stuff like that, it's no big deal." But to me it was a big deal, and I made sure my boy never did such a thing again. (How can I know? I can't, but I am pretty sure; he has gone on to mentor younger children, tutor kids in an inner city school in NYC, be a volunteer teacher in rural Mexico, and is now in med school to become a poor people's doctor.)

Once again, I am so glad you survived and thrived.

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

When my father beat my brother or went into his room at night, I was relieved and hated myself for it.

I am finding that as we share with each other, and send these stories out into the 'sphere, our experiences become our gifts.

thefirecat said...

I am glad The Matron has forgiven him, and that is what we are called to do as sentient biengs.

But the Wee Miss? Never has to, and never should. Her rage is what got her through.

I weep for you, for Renee, and for Scott. I hope Scott can forgive himself....obviously, if he'd been in jail for rape, he hadn't yet.

No wonder you became a teacher.

Jocelyn said...

You make me feel sick for you and yet gloriously proud of you (in the most non-condescending way) simultaneously.

As the mother of a daughter who, just tonight, was pinned to the floor at a neighbor's house and forced by the pinner to punch herself until her mouth bled, let me just say I'm rather primed to Go Mother on the Scotts of the world.

Daisy said...

A dear friend and co-worker just went through this with her son. She lost sleep last night after discovering what was wrong, left work today after the liaison officer found out the extent of the abuse. My heart aches for the young you.

Michele Renee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michele Renee said...

I know how it is to have experiences in which adults cannot take care of us and protect us. It makes us Steel Magnolias.

SUEB0B said...

That really, really stinks. Argh. So mad that no one did anything.

~annie said...

Oh my God... I am, by turns, feeling sick at reading this and relieved to know you survived and thrived.