Monday, September 19, 2016

4. Slip, Dip or Trip?

Highland Ave. Elementary School

            So here I was in my very first fight in Columbus Ohio the City of my birth, on my very first day of school with Martin Fields. I was going through the motions, but my heart wasn’t in it by a long shot, in fact I was pretty scared to say the least! There was so much noise and yelling and what’s worse everyone seemed to be happy about it and having a good time! All of a sudden life made no sense, and I was lost in it. I was totally at a disadvantage to this sort of behavior, God how I longed for the safety and sanity of Brezolles France! I was scared, but couldn’t show it and I wondered if they could see it?

I did wonder why I was scared after all this kid was smaller than me how bad could it be? The chanting got louder and we bobbed around each other like carnival clowns and all of a sudden BAM! A hit! Dead-Square in the right eye! MY RIGHT EYE! I didn’t cry, I was too embarrassed and ashamed of the fact that I knew I was not going to fight this kid under these insane conditions and as far as I was concerned it was over! I really didn’t want to fight at all! How did I get into this mess? I thought to myself, “I know, it was my parents entire fault”! Why did they bring me to a place like this? They must have known I wouldn’t fit in! How could they not know? I missed Madam and Annie Claude, I missed France.

The red X marks the exact location of the scrimmage. In the midst of my embarrassment and pain Dennis Walker stepped up to help things end out by saying, “Hey man he ain’t trying to fight nobody, he ain’t even from around here”! Eventually we started walking hearing all the slurs and taunts along the way. I was  making the best exit I could under the circumstances. Dennis walked with me all the way to my grandparent’s home where we were staying and there was a trail of little girls following, giggling, and making sport the whole way! I didn’t know it then, but I found out later they only give you that sort of attention when they like you or something! How backwards! I did not equate that with liking at all, I really thought they were just being mean! Well most of them anyway except for one little girl named Gail Weaver. She looked like she could be one of my sisters or cousins. I noticed that she maintained a sort of sadness while the others seemed to be having the time of their little lives at my expense.

84 S. Oakley rear view

The closer we got to my grandparents home the more I started to think about how my mom was going to react. Then I really started worrying about what was going to happen when my father got a load of me and my big black eye! Yeah, I had a bloody nose once from getting punched in Rantoul Illinois and I acted my way around that one, but I had never had a black eye before! And by a little guy at that!

We reached my grandparent’s house and everyone separated silently and let me maintain at least a small degree of dignity! I guess they could have been loud and ribbed me all the way until I got to the door, but they gave me a break of sorts and I was relieved that they did! Now when my mother came to the door and opened it I saw the look on her face change from her average to a look of panic! “Oh my God boy what have you gotten yourself into”? She grabbed me by the shoulder part of my jacket and pulled me into the house to give me the third degree.

In the process of being drilled by my mother on how to be more Christ-like and thereby avoid the pitfalls and vices of society, my Grandmother went about her usual routine of cooking and setting things up for dinner as if nothing were out of the ordinary. My younger brother Timmy however took a totally different approach to the situation and seized the opportunity to rub my nose in the fact he knew I got beat up! He watched as my mother was questioning and preaching with a look on his face that almost screamed, “You got your butt kicked”. Then he let out a loud laugh and sang, “You got your butt kicked, you got your butt kicked”! “What a little prick”, I thought to myself.
“He’s in with them, and he’s supposed to be my little brother”! I reasoned later down the road that maybe that was his way of getting around the embarrassment for me.


Fortunate for me it had all died down by the time my dad got home. I stayed upstairs in my room to avoid him.
I knew then that I was in a world of crap and I reasoned as best I could that I was going to have to live with it and make a comeback somehow! I had big dreams about how I’d be a big deal at my new school and in these United States. But obviously I slipped in my thinking, failed to dip when the punch came, and inevitably tripped over the leg of ego to my own disadvantage at least for the time at hand! Things were about to get really hot and busy on the Hilltop of Columbus, OH and I never thought I’d turn out to do some of the things I did, but I did! Some good, but many not so good.

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