Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Day 22

Today was a news-filled day. Sad news from Ottawa with the tragic murder of a young soldier. Sad news here with the discovery of dead babies in a storage locker. Less important in light of those events, but happier: a civic election resulting in a new mayor. Brian Bowman is a former chair of the board of The Chamber and he's a great guy that's liked by everyone (well, maybe not by Judy, his main competitor). Call me naive but I have high hopes for Winnipeg in the years ahead.

On a totally different note, I've been reading the book Blubber to Neve. I read it when I was young and thought it would be a good one to read together. But I'm pretty sure it traumatized her. It's about a girl who is bullied, but it's written decades ago when bullying was rarely acknowledged or addressed by teachers and parents. Sometimes I roll my eyes at the things people call bullying these days but if it prevents kids from being treated like the girl in this book, I'm okay with a bit of hyper-sensitivity. The kids in this book were nasty and did such mean things to their victim, like forcibly shoving a chocolate-covered ant (or so they told her) down her throat and pulling down her skirt in front of boys. Neve was horrified by this behaviour and had no idea kids did that. Equally alarming to Neve was the prescence of a few mild swear words. They don't write books like they used to. Where is Judy Blume these days anyway?

But we still liked the book. There were good lessons to be learned. Neve will either always stick up for bullied kids or she'll have gotten some great ideas and will become an excellent bully.


Anonymous said...

Tell Neve, I got 'pants-ed' every day in Grade 7 standing at my locker and most of those days that was followed by being dragged into the boys washroom (because my locker was right out side the boys washroom)...which was 'horrifying' for me because I knew there were urinals and I did not want to see boys naked...EVER! I got caught in the boys bathroom the first time it happened because I was screaming for help with my eyes covered. The grade 8 teacher gave me heck for being in there until she realized I had been forcibly dragged there and that I just refused to uncover my eyes to get out. I'm sure the teachers all had a good laugh over that one in the staff room. After that, I would cover my eyes and feel my way out the door. By the end, I could navigate the bathroom blindfolded perfectly. I also got locked in my locker once. A different teacher found me hammering from the inside and I had to yell my locker combo out to him to get me out. Which, of course, means my locker got broken into repeatedly during that year and I'd have all sorts of funny things in there to find at the end of the day. What's funny about this, is the pranksters who did all this to me were a bunch of popular (and cute!) grade nine boys, so I kind of swooned under their attention (after the initial 'horror' of it wore off). To this day if anyone gets any where near my pant legs with their hands, I have lightning reflexes to jump to a straddle position to prevent getting 'pants-ed'.

In grade 7 I also got punched in the stomach every day by a girl in my grade because I refused to swear. I felt it my duty as a martyr. But, I got abs of steal out of it.

Grade 7 was a crazy year. I also had a French teacher who was completely inappropriate to female students. He would make lewd gestures at girls when teaching possessive pronouns "these are her feminine things". He would sit on your desk and wiggle his bum into your space. I stood up to him and told him to get his butt off my desk. He proceed to push his butt right on to my book where I was doing work so I pushed my chair back and I told him if he didn't get off my book I would shove my pen "where the sun don't shine". He told me he'd autograph my tongue for me with his pen, so I stood up and stuck my tongue out at him and he started to chase me around the room with a pen (his name was Hilary Chase). I ran from the room, through another classroom, down the hall and into the girls bathroom screaming "Don't come in here! If you do you're a fag, HILARY!" The next year our school had a new French teacher. Mr.Chase, however, ended up teaching French at one of the high schools...stupid. He didn't last long there either though.

This is growing up in Portage. What's great is that I'm totally laughing at all of these stories...they're quite funny in my mind. I had balls back then.

On second thought, don't tell Neve this. :P


Anonymous said...

I should further comment on bullying. Bullying is awful. It has taken on a whole other dimension with cyber bullying. The problem is there will always be bullies. We still have them in our work places. People are people, good and bad. To try to eliminate bullying is never going to happen. Learning how to stand up to a bully is what is important.

I stood up to my French teacher because my older brother had stood up to him as well. I had a positive role model in my brother. I stood up the punching girl and took my knocks from her because I knew she had a rough life and she needed someone to feel her I did. She's a pretty awesome person right now in her adult life (not because of me per se). But I didn't rat her out. I told her she could hurt me, but I would not change who I was because of it. She stopped punching me sometime in the spring (winter was much easier on me with winter coats/mitts for padding). :P We became friends in a weird sort of way. She stuck up for me when the IP (Indian Posse...a gang in Portage) started to bug me. No more bullying to Sheri-Lee after grade 7, ever.

I still don't take bullying from people, kids and adults a like. And I step in when others are being bullied. I'm pretty good at doing it with tack and grace and care and firmness. It's a great life skill to have.

p.s. I love you guys.

Anonymous said...

p.p.s. I got 97% in grade 7 French.

Anonymous said...

Only Judy Blume had her finger on the pulse...are you going to read Are you There God, It's me Margaret" to her next? Best halloween costume that what it was called?
-Cousin Carolyn

L said...

That's hilarious that you remember flenser, Carolyn! Jill should totally have won the most original costume prize. Siobhan saw the book at my house last week and said, "Is this the one with Tracy Wu in it?" (it is). It's obviously a memorable book. We have Are You There God and would love to read it to Neve but she's not interested in reading about "menstruation." I thought that book was so risqué when I was young.

And Sheri-Lee ... wow, I think you've got a best-selling memoir on your hands! Probably resulting in the arrest of Mr. Chase! I'm totally going to try to "pants" you the next time I see you.

Anonymous said...

Blubber was one of my favourite Judy Blumes. I think I might need to read it again. I also loved Starring Sally J Freedman as Herself. I might have to read that one again, too. I would love to be able to write books like Judy Blume. Anyone read Wifey? I read it when I was 11. So not a book meant for an 11 year old. Don't read it to Neve. Ever. Let her read that one on her own. After she is 11.

And Sheri-Lee, yowza!!! Those are some great stories!! But I love that you laugh about all of it. Goes to show kids aren't as fragile as we make them out to be. I think that may be part of the problem actually - kids not KNOWING how strong and resilient they really are.

xo Sio