BLACK EYED BULLY (a true story by Vee Bdosa)
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Let me tell you about Jelly. He wasn't really a friend of mine, or any of the kids we knew, and he had Downs, and was overweight and shook like jelly when he laughed. We all liked to see him laugh, but, there was always an amount of teasing then.
The year is 1956, the place is in front of the Covey, a teeny bopper, rock n roll, pin-ball hot dog eatery just across Main Street from the Scott High School in Kansas. This is where the school bus stopped to gather and herd us into the bus and take us all home to our farms outside of town.
It was not unusual for a scuffle to break out between 2 or more of the boys, and occasionally, a real bloody nose fight would break the monotony. I was never involved in any of the fights or scuffles, being all of 98 pounds and I was so skinny that if I turned away from you, you would not even see me. But I lived with it and I ignored all of the jokes and being called "Skinny" and other things.
I never thought of it as being bullied, but I must not have accepted it as the norm, either, because it bothered me when the "bullies," we all knew who they were, poked fun of other kids, especially Jelly.
Buddy was Prince of the Bullies, and he pushed his weight around all of the time. Black, slick hair, always combing it, always with one of the "chicks" hanging on his arm, the Fonz before there was a Fonz, only in much more of a disgusting character. At least once a week Buddy would have a several mute fight with his arch-rival, name of Freddy, a red headed, freckle faced rich farmer kid who never learned that Buddy was going to bloody his nose or give him a black eye if he didn't shut up.
But there was no real bullying between them, they just loved to fight each other, and Freddy always claimed that some day he was going to kick Buddy's ass good. But it never turned out that way.
One afternoon, Jelly got mixed up in the early scuffeling some way, and it annoyed Buddy to the point that he started calling Jelly the normal teen age names, and shoving him on the chest. Jelly asked him to stop, but it only annoyed Buddy more, and the real bully started coming out. Most of the kids were laughing, and pointing their fingers at Jelly, who was near tears at this point.
I never had a lick of sense in high school, and at that very moment, it never even occurred to me that Buddy was nearly twice my weight, was always ready for a fight, and never lost one of them as far as anyone knew. But enough was enough in my mind, and I got very tired of seeing this bully neighbor of mine pick on Jelly. I stepped in between them, and looking Buddy in the eye, told him to stop the bullying.
Buddy was speechless for a couple of seconds, eyeballing me up and down, not really sizing me up, but amazed that this 98 pound weakling even dare to challenge his domain, his kingdom. He pushed me to the side, saying "Go way Skinny Ronnie before I pound you in the sidewal,."
But we had both crossed the line, he with his bullying of Jelly, and me with my letting what is wrong and what is right take control of all of my reflexes. I stepped between them again and shouted "Leave Jelly alone! Stop bullying him!"
All of the kids grew silent and were shaking their heads in dis-belief. They knew I was going to be pulverized,
Buddy again sized me up, then threw a punch that if it had connected with my head, would have put me down and out. But I was a fast kid, and ducked, and that threw Buddy a little off balance in surprise. Just enough time to allow me to zero in on Buddy's left eye, where I delivered a blow with 98 pounds of misery and bone that knocked Buddy off of his feet and to the sidewalk, where he stayed, shaking his head in shock and dis-belief.
There were sighs of amazement from all of the kids, some of them even laughing, but Buddy would not get up. He just sat there on the sidewalk shaking his head and moaning a little. Finally, he said, "Okay, Ronnie, I really didn't mean to hurt Jelly's feelings, you know me better than that."
He sat there until the bus came, and two nights later, at the Saturday night Square Dance we all went to, Buddy had a shiner that he would never forget. He and Freddy still had their fights about once a week, Freddy never did beat Buddy like he wanted to do, but nobody bullied Jelly again at the bus stop. That was the only fight I ever got in during my whole life.
Jelly always waved at me whenever he saw me anywhere, with a big smile on his face. I always felt good, then, then, and this is a 100% true story.
Fort Knox, KY