My Love/Hate Relationship With The Month of May

(Writer's note: This is a serious piece. I hope that I will not make a mistake and write even the slightest glimpse of comedy. This is dedicated to the "few" friends I was blessed with from my school years of 1962 until they mercifully-ended in May, 1972. Kenneth)

During this year, I was suffering in the fifth grade
During this year, I was suffering in the fifth grade | Source

My headline is true

Each year since my graduation from Hamilton (Alabama) High School, 1972, when the month of May rolls around, I get a sudden wave of hatred mixed with joy that surfaces near the middle of the month. I wish that I said I do not know why, but that would be a lie. I do know why.

From my very first day of school, first grade, my school days were, pardon my french, pure Hades. Now with fire and brimstone and demons poking my butt with hot pitchforks, but worse.I, along with my friends at the now-forgotten New Home Community School were not accepted at all by the students, teachers, and parents of the city school kids. I used to pretend that these days and depressing days would pass, but you can only fool yourself for so long. And when the cold, hard truth hits you face-to-face, it's tough and you look for a relief, an escape, maybe like me, with a lot of tears shed in secret.

I found no use in telling my parents, for they simply did not try that much to see my side of the problem. I was given the rehearsed lecture "you are as good as they are," (yeah, dad). I bet you never had your teachers make fun of you and laugh at your mistakes and slow learning, did you? It hurts. Deeply and lasts a lifetime. The scars are still on my heart.

Oh, how I wish it were this good for my friends and I

The late Richard "Dickie" Harris, who graduated a few years ahead of me
The late Richard "Dickie" Harris, who graduated a few years ahead of me | Source

My hands are now trembling

As I vomit the vile (from my keyboard) of those awful school days of my tormented youth and I should apologize to HubPages' editors, and my wonderful followers, but not this time. I have spent the greater part of my life saying, "I am so sorry," not just for my human errors, sins, but when "I" was not at blame for the infraction. Simply because I was never one, not even in school days, to engage in violence, loud, vulgar name-calling serving no purpose at all.

I still hold dear the "first" real friends who God gave me at New Home School in the fall of 1961. The "Russell's," "Dwight's," "Jerry and Jimmy's," who without any admission, became true friends I cherished long after those winsome, carefree days of New Home were over. Most of my first real friends are still around, not that I need proof, but these guys and girls are products of a merciful God.

Sue Jackson, Hamilton, Alabama  High School  1963 to 1967
Sue Jackson, Hamilton, Alabama High School 1963 to 1967 | Source
Our high school alumni association always sells shirts with our football mascot name on the front
Our high school alumni association always sells shirts with our football mascot name on the front | Source
Sugarbend  Elementary  School  Donna Nixon
Sugarbend Elementary School Donna Nixon | Source

I am (for your sake) heavily-editing

This sorrowful tale of truth as I go along. Not that I care for you knowing the "real" meaness I endured from being thrown into the city school system in 1961 and did not see New Home again until 1963, but even then, it was just for that one fall. Then I was sent back to Hamilton Grammar School, Hamilton, Alabama, to endure the low lifes and cold-hearted students of my second grade year.

Oh yes, that "you are as good as anyone," would pop-up in my mind ever so often and for a few minutes, I would feel a short-lived peace even while I and those like me, poor but didn't know it, were ridiculed simply for, I guess, being in the city teacher's way. That was the size of the problem. My rural friends and I were only accepted by one teacher: The now-late Lena Ray Dozier who taught sixth-grade. I think that she had a compassionate heart toward my friends and I wearing our patched jeans and torn shirts, but hey, we rural kids did not know what the term, "poverty" meant.

Although some of my friends' parents both worked and some, just their dad's worked so the mom could stay at home to tend to the kids not by force, but their choice. I can truthfully say that even us rural people did have a leg up on "Women's Equality," even when I was a kid.

These models were NOT from my high school

1974 bell bottoms for high school and college girl students
1974 bell bottoms for high school and college girl students | Source
This is me with my eldest granddaughter, Alexis Cameron Nash, in 2008
This is me with my eldest granddaughter, Alexis Cameron Nash, in 2008 | Source

From 1967 through 1972

It was pretty much more of the same for my friends and I of rural backgrounds. We were never included in any class project--making floats, after-school activities and such. Those sweet treats only went to the city children who did not spare any of our feelings as they walked around with a smile that made the most vile animal manure smell like American Beauty roses. I lie to you not.

From the important feeling jocks to the geek's who never took sides, we rural children had to fight for what few things we did get to have and right now, I cannot think of one solitary thing. The city school children were always on the powerful school committees, took the offices of "Most Popular," and such with ease. Some even had the gall to act sincere to ask for our votes. I still remember the overwhelming pleasure of just staring at them not returning one word.

Hamilton, Alabama  Elementary School  1977 to 1978
Hamilton, Alabama Elementary School 1977 to 1978 | Source
Suznne Enlow, Gravel Springs  Junior High School  Hamilton, Alabama  1972 to 1976
Suznne Enlow, Gravel Springs Junior High School Hamilton, Alabama 1972 to 1976 | Source
Cheryl (Posey) Guyton, a member of "my" class of 1972, Hamilton, Al., High School
Cheryl (Posey) Guyton, a member of "my" class of 1972, Hamilton, Al., High School | Source

My friends and I were counting the days

Which were long, let me tell you. When you are treated as an out and out leper by junior and senior high teachers and their "pets," Hades (at that time), seemed a great place to go. But we rural kids had grew up under the "Hell fire and brimstone" summer revival preaching of that time and even as willful sinners, we knew there was a Hell as well as a Heaven, but this knowledge, to be honest, did not help us with the daily torment we received from our so-called classmates. Yeah. Classmates. Low-lifes and jerks are more truthful terms.

As my friends and I survived, thank you, God, for your help by the way, until May of 1972, the day of our graduation was drawing nigh. We took great pleasure in getting to practice for some gawky event that had been a part of Hamilton High School for eons: Class Night. What a waste of time and sweat.

We, the Class of 1972, or they, the Class of 1972, enjoyed the same group songs, music, poems, and speeches given by their own kind and leaving us ruralites to choke on the scent of their toilet aroma while they walked by telling what college they were being accepted to and not bothering to ask us rural students one single thing. Talk about not giving a, well, hoot. For lack of a better word.

Oh, at the times I sang this song to myself after I graduated high school. Long live, Alice Cooper!

Elaine Cook, Class of 1967, Hamilton, Ala., High School
Elaine Cook, Class of 1967, Hamilton, Ala., High School | Source
Last day of school  1984 Hamilton, Al., High School
Last day of school 1984 Hamilton, Al., High School | Source

After we graduated

I continued to work at a country store, "Collins' Corner Grocery," near my home until I secured a "real" job and I thought that after I received my Vocational Diploma, I would be feeling great. Not. No, sir. I felt quickly, say in about two weeks time, the pressure of real life and how I was to really work at something to make my way in the world.

My parents could not afford for me to attend college, so that was that. We did not have such a thing as Pell Grants and such in 1972. So I was given a job by my dear friend, James Childers' dad who was a foreman at this mobile home plant and when I went to work, I thought that every aspect of my dark memories of school, grammar, junior and senior high would vanish.

What an idiot I was.

This photo was not taken at "my" high school

Vintage retro  girls fashions
Vintage retro girls fashions | Source
Female students from the 1960's and 1970's-- these girls were not from my high school
Female students from the 1960's and 1970's-- these girls were not from my high school | Source

Life was cruel

As I only worked a year and a half for the mobile home plant and along with another employee, Jimmy Jackson, a cabinet setter, were fired at the same time for getting behind on "the line," as mobile home plant designers called it. Fact is, neither Jimmy or I could afford to keep up with the other people doing the same job we were because we were doing enough work for two employees, but you guessed it. Not getting the pay for it.

Patricia Farr, Hamilton High Alumni yearbook
Patricia Farr, Hamilton High Alumni yearbook | Source

Long story short

I ended up at the Journal Record in Sept. 1975, 10:15 a.m., on (a) Monday morning where I met the publisher, Roger Quinn, who hired me to sell display ad space to Hamilton merchants. It was great at first, but monotonous as the months rolled by due to the fact that the merchants were cheap and most wanted something for nothing.

I left the Journal Record in Aug. 1984 to work for a competing newspaper in Hamilton: The Hamilton Progress, where I did basically the same tasks day after day. Still, nothing to be honored with at any of my class reunions. So I did not attend but one reunion which was in 2003 and yes, you guessed it. The same old horse manure smell of the arrogant cliques who grouped together--the jocks, brains, and other important people. We rural classmates, all four of us, just looked at each other and my dear friend, Rex McCarley, said it best, "some things never change."

How right you were, Rex. How right you were.

Yours truly in 2008
Yours truly in 2008 | Source

Summary

So this hub should explain my "love/hate" relationship with the middle of May. I love the fact that God did let me live to get to know Him a lot better although He never has erased any of the dark memories of those pain-filled school days.

And I hate the middle of May because I am instantly thinking of the other kids of rural families who have to hold down jobs to keep a roof over their heads. I have heard from my grand kids that there are still cliques around in their school classes, but they are doing something I never did: Stand for themselves.

To the rural parents whose kids will start school this fall, 2016, August to be exact in my part of the United States, let me say this with all true sincerity . . .

"You and your kids are AS GOOD. No, a lot BETTER than the jerks and low lifes who make up the stupid cliques that your children will be exposed to."

More by this Author


Comments 10 comments

sallybea profile image

sallybea 7 months ago from Norfolk

How very sad. It is amazing how one can be scarred by one's school experience and usually the difference is made by just a handful of special teachers who have learned a little compassion along the way. It is a shame there are not more like them.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 7 months ago from Queensland Australia

Thank you for sharing this, Kenneth. You are right that this kind of treatment scars you for life. It was a sad read, but I commend you for ublishing it. May is actually a good month for me in most respects except financially, as my wife and I and two of our sones have birthdays between the 6th and 13th of May. This year is not so good because we have had some bad news about another family member, but that is another story. Take care.


JRScarbrough profile image

JRScarbrough 7 months ago from United States

I was also a "rural kid". I know all too well the type of treatment you had hurled at you. It makes an already heavy existence even heavier. I can't imagine ever even wanting to attend a reunion. Those school days leave a lot to be desired.


Samantha Sinclair profile image

Samantha Sinclair 7 months ago from North Carolina

It's too bad you had to go to a "city" school. We moved to a rural school almost two years ago, and it is so much better than our old school in suburbia. The kids are so much nicer, there really are no cliques, and everyone is like family. My kids are so much happier, and the teachers even seem happier.


Suhail and my dog profile image

Suhail and my dog 6 months ago from Mississauga, ON

Your awesome hub sent me down the Memory Lane, Ken. I remembered some great teachers that I had, some mediocre ones, and some bad ones. I remember each one of them very well. However, I wish I were as courageous as you are. I have buried the bad experiences deep in my heart and I never share those with anyone.

Recollecting and publishing a story around bad experiences takes lot of courage and I admire you for that.

Regards,


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 6 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

sallybea,

You are so right. To my memory, not one of my "teachers," a term that I use loosely for "these' sell-out's, learned any compassion.

All of the teachers feared for their jobs due to like I said, I think, the city kids' dad's were a huge part of the School Board as well as the business sector of our town--power and influence defined.

What they wanted, they got.

But someday, when all stand before The Living God at His White Throne of Judgment, things will all come to light and not denied.

Thank you for your sweet comment.

Write me anytime.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 6 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Jodah,

Thank you for stopping by and leaving such a nice comment. Wish your sons a "Happy Birthday," from yours truly. Thanks.

Sorry for the sadness of this piece, but I had to tell the truth.

May is now sad for me as well for the 28th is my late daughter's birthday and I am afraid I will not be able to deal with it this year.

Pray for me.

Write me anytime.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 6 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

JRScarbrough,

Ahhh, another "rural" student. Then you "can" relate to the warfare we ruralites faced each day in this P.O. W. camp. No. P.O.W. camps were more peaceful and you did get some form of peace. I hate to use such an analogy, but truth is truth.

Write me anytime and have a safe day.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 6 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hi, Samantha Sinclair,

Good for you moving to a rural area and the school and how the kids are equal and act right toward everyone.

Some have said that you can find "this" cliqueonology in most small towns, and while that may be true, "my" city school system teachers and spoiled brat students were cold, heartless and did not know the meaning of the word "respect."

Hey, Samantha. If you are not following me, I Cordially Invite you to be a follower today.

Write me anytime.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 6 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hi, Suhail and My Dog,

Thanks a million for your nice comments and thoughts.

It is I who admires you for being able to never dredge-up those painful memories you have hidden in your heart. That, my friend, takes courage.

I find that sharing with people who have walked where I have walked is good therapy.

You write me anytime and have a peaceful day.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working