Barbara’s mother was right when she said, “You’ve got to bully a bully!” Barbara learned this fact of life while she was still at home living with her parents. Her younger brother, Tommy, had a problem with a boy in the neighborhood. John, Tommy’s older brother, was willing to help, but Barbara’s mother knew that Tommy’s problem was solved by getting a much, larger boy involved. A family friend had an older son that was perfect for the job. As such, no more bully problems for Tommy.
In my family, my older brother, Marvin, dealt with any and all bully problems his siblings may have. All I had to do when being bullied was to give my brother’s name. That worked for as long as Marvin was going to school. But, when he graduated from high school and joined the Air Force, our protection from being bullied no longer existed. It was like dealing with a pack of wolves for my brother, Keith, me, and my younger brother, Warren. None of us were good at confrontations. Except, there was one time when I beat up three kids at the same time to protect Warren, it was like some maternal instinct kicked in and I had this exuberant power.
Perhaps, the reason Marvin was able to fight had to do with our dad. After all, Dad had been a graduate from Camp X. Mother would always tell us that Dad could take three men down at once. She described him as being a real man’s man. Marvin, being the oldest, had been taught a few, fighting moves before PTSD took over Dad’s life. Dad was trapped in the relentless nightmare of fighting overseas. There was one time when Dad stated he had done some bad things, things he regretted.
So, when it came to dealing with bullies on my own, I used wit rather than fist. I learned to talk the bully out of harming me. There were times when divine intervention protected me from being assaulted. For example, one time when I was walking home from high school, I had an strong urge to take a different path. It was like someone walking beside me nudging me to go this way and not that way. The route I took was several streets over. As I crossed a road that would intercept the route I normally took, I glanced down it and saw a gang of girls waiting for me. I gave a sign of relief. Well, from that moment on, or so I had thought, I’d take the scenic route to and from school.
About a week later, Becky asked if I’d like to walk home with her in the afternoons. Now, the biggest bully in my neighborhood was Becky. Becky wasn’t part of that girl gang. She hung out with the boys. In fact, Becky acted more like a boy than a girl. She lived several houses down from me. Why she wanted to help me, I had no idea at that time? But, I do now!