Regret

It’s been over thirty-five years and still the memory rattles inside my mind’s closet, until I’m forced to take it out and look at it once more.

It’s ugly.

She was in my fifth grade class.  I always thought of her as poor but in truth, her family was probably no worse off financially than mine.

girls bathroomI don’t remember where she sat in my class.   But she must have sat close enough to me that I became aware of her tears, even though she never made a sound.  I don’t remember how we ended up in the girls’ bathroom – me, her, and another girl.  I do remember her crying.  She stepped into a stall and motioned us closer.   She turned around, raised her shirt and lowered her pants and underwear.  The image of her injured body seared into my mind.  I can still see the myriad of black, blue, and sickly green bruises that covered her back, buttocks and thighs. Even now, thirty-five years later, I cringe.  The damage inflicted by a belt buckle was like nothing I had ever seen.  I don’t know how she walked much less sat in a hard, wooden desk.

She was scared and hurt and she swore us to secrecy.  I was ten years old, naïve and afraid for my friend.  I didn’t know what to do so I did what a ten-year old kid does.  I promised to keep that secret. And I did.

For thirty-five years, that promise has haunted me.  It’s taken years to forgive the little girl that I once was – the little girl who didn’t realize that speaking up might have gotten her friend into a safer environment.  After all, child abuse was one of those things we didn’t talk about.

Looking back, I can’t help but ask?  How did my teacher, the custodian, the lunch ladies – miss her tears? Did they just not want to see?  Because I was there – and it was hard to miss.

 

Was Burgermeister Meisterburger Misjudged?

santa and reindeer
openclipart by: nicubunu

It’s that time of year again when children of all ages get to watch those Christmas classics – Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer and Santa Claus is Coming to Town.  These stories are as much of a part of my childhood Christmas memories as tinsel on the tree and oranges in my stocking.

As my children grew up, I’ll admit to being somewhat disappointed that they didn’t find these classics as entertaining as I once had.  I assumed that when a kid has countless cartoon options, the oldies just aren’t all that appealing. But maybe, that wasn’t the real reason…

My children never liked The Little Drummer Boy.  Why?  Because they thought the drummer boy was a whiny jerk and the only character they liked was the lamb who got run over by the chariot.  This made me take another look at those classics.

Oh my…

Frosty the Snowman:

Poor Frosty. Not only does he have to deal with the very real possibility of melting, he must contend with the nasty magician who made several attempts to obtain the magic hat knowing what the end results would be. At the end of the story, we find out that the magician is on Santa’s naughty list.  Naughty Hell!  He’s a freakin’ murderous thief.

And then there’s Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer:

When we meet Santa, we’re in for a surprise.  Jolly Old Saint Nick?  Not hardly – more like, Grumpy Old Codger.  The elves don’t sing good enough and he has an issue with Rudolph’s nose.  And an issue it is – because Santa is a judgemental jerk.  Poor Ruddy can’t make the team because of his shining sniffer.  In fact, the only reason Santa comes around and tries to make nice is because he needs Ruddy.  Apparently even Santa needs to see while he’s flying his sleigh.  If it hadn’t been for poor visibility, Ruddy would have been sitting at a bar with the other unemployed reindeer while Santa was flying around the world with his perfect posse.  Would anyone really have blamed Rudolph if he told Santa to stick that offer up his butt?

How about – Santa Claus is Coming to Town:

Not to defend Burgermeiester MeisterBurger, but Santa (Kris Kringle) was at the very least a trespasser – at worst, a burglar.  While he didn’t take anything, he was guilty of breaking and entering people’s homes. Maybe Burgermeiester calling Santa public enemy number one wasn’t an overreaction.  In my neck of the woods, we shoot people who break into our homes.  Fact: We’ve got a guy (Santa) who sneaks into homes and leaves toys for children.  Creepy.  And then we have the music – from the lyrics by Jules Bass: If you sit on my lap today, a kiss a toy is the price you’ll pay.  Oh my gosh! If I heard someone say this to a kid, I’d hit them on the head with my purse as I called 9-1-1.

So there you have it, a fresh look at those Christmas Classics.  Now grab your cookies and hot chocolate, sit back and enjoy the show!