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)
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
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.
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
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.
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!
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
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.
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.
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."