Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Nostalgia -- A Repeat

Yes, a repeat. But this is for our daughters.

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.


trash said...

This story still horrifies me. I commend you for your forgiveness but remain with Wee Miss.

*m* said...


Laura said...

...and i'm back to "no babies, ever." seriously, i cannot imagine any child of mine going through that. i want to find this snotheaded kid and smack the stupid out of him - not that it would help, mind, but it would feel good.

Daisy said...

10 years old - and people wonder if my struggles with my current fourth graders are true? I'm worried about three specific kids in my class. Given the chance, they'll do as Scott did.

And my bosses and administrators keep ignoring my concerns.... well, that's why I'm on extended sick leave. Another story.

Anonymous said...

That teacher LEFT THE CLASSROOM UNATTENDED FOR HALF AN HOUR? EVERY DAY? Good grief, where was this, Mississippi? That is unconscionable and probably illegal. Horrible.

Deb said...

My heart goes out to you.

Bullying has been around is just simply not right that one child has that much power over many. The fact that no one other child ever spoke up and told their parents about what happened in the classroom is what bothers me the most.

I am glad you were able to move past this and so glad you found Renee.

Xtreme English said...

it reminds me, somehow, of the recent situation with the Republicans. They lie, they bully, they do their best to make live miserable for other legislators not in their party, but we're not supposed to say a word! we're supposed to be good and keep our mouths shut.

so sorry this happened to you.

Lisa B-K said...

Damn. This was quite the introduction to your (fantastic) blog.

Angie said...

You. Amaze. Me. With who you are, how you think and the flair you have for writing. Thanks for sharing your story and your gift with us.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

This piece of your memoir (I can't begin to call it a story) still stirs me with horrifying anger.