I was a kid who loved baseball and was quiet in class and a good student when I was not in trouble. I was in third grade just home from being in Foster Care and very much deep into my head. I had stopped talking ever since coming home and my mother would cry " what did they do to you please tell me" , I just had no words. She took me to a doctor who told her I had been traumatized and would eventually come out of it, she had to give me time. So my Grand Mary, a wild Irish woman who was my actually my Great Great Grandmum came over to take me to live with her as my mother was just to over whelmed with the other five children to help me. I had always been close to Grand Mary and most in my family were terrified of her. I was not as she made me laugh and her husband Uncle Bill an English man who adored her, he still drove as if he lived in England. I would sit in the back seat not belted in rolling around as Uncle Bill tried to avoid all the oncoming cars yelling at them " bloody idiots get on the right side of the road" and Grand Mary telling him to be safe. I would laugh all the way to our destination he was a funny guy and they made a great team. I was always at their place any way as Grand Mary would take me for long weekends teaching me to sing and dance, mostly we would just laugh. Then I went into Foster Care suddenly and I did not see her for the longest time, and when I returned I would not talk. Grand Mary did not pressure me and I attended my school life started to have a routine. I would not let anyone touch me or give me a hug, I did not act out I just sort of moved away from them. I guess I felt I was done trusting anyone . She bought me new shoes I refused to wear them and wore my worn out red keds, that seemed right as I did not feel "new" or that I wanted attention new shoes bring. I was not unhappy .
School for me meant I could play baseball with the boys and looked forward to recess and I was a good student . The kids made fun of me because we were very poor and my mom was divorced but mostly because I did not talk . My teacher who should have been neutral did not attempt to level any fair playing field for me, as she let me get bullied every day and joined in to laugh at me. I knew I was not liked nor would I ever be and I sat in the back of the class feeling I guess isolated in a room full of people. My desk was constantly violated and destroyed and my homework ruined, which led the teacher to accuse me of not bothering to complete it. I never defended myself ever I knew I was out numbered as I had yet to start fighting back that would come later. I can still remember that big hurt that sat inside my chest at all I had been given in life and I accepted it all. Each night I would have dinner and a hot bath, then sit on the sofa with a big story book that GrandMary would read to me. My hair had been cut boy short in Foster Care and my Grand Mary cried when she first saw me, " Bonnie girl what did those devils do to you" , she would try to hug me but I always pulled back. It would take time to heal but each day I felt better and would bring the story book and climb on the couch to read about an adventure. She never asked me again what had happened in Foster Care and I never told my family as I did not want to hurt them.
The weekend of the official third grade field trip was coming up and it was planned to go to a camp to play hockey and learn about nature. I did not want to go as a weekend getting bullied was not my idea of fun but I never spoke up I just went .
We left on Friday after school and Grand Mary had seen me off trying to hug me and telling me to enjoy myself and Uncle Bill quiet by her side as I think he thought she spoke enough for both of them patted the top of my head. I had an small bad and my Mr. Teddy a stuff bear my father had given me when I was a tiny baby. I got on the school bus to name calling and laughter at my expense. I was quiet and looked out the bus window for the long drive to the camp I was not happy nor excited to go.
Our cabins were simple and clean and I unpacked my clothing neatly and put Mr Teddy on my pillow, his fur almost gone due to the baths I would give him and he wore a red and white dress. I remember thinking he was real just silent like me .
We were lined up to go play hockey in the gym a few buildings down , I did love hockey and was a good player but I tried not to get too much attention as it brought on name calling and pushes . We played a game of championships with the teams trying to out play each other to be the final winner. It was a good game but some of the girls starting pushing me around and one tripped me over as the whistle blew. Our teacher who was the ref came running over asking what had happened they all pointed at me on the ground saying " she is fighting again" , I said not a word. The teacher sneered at me , " you again I should have known as your just no good at anything , why don't you go back to the cabin and wait for us . We don't want you here anyways . Get up and get out", the rest of the players laughed. I got up and walked to the cabin feeling very alone and afraid. I entered the cabin and sat on my bed, looking down at my boots all dirty from the trail. I started to cry at the feeling of just never ever fitting in or at least being tolerated, I hugged Mr. Teddy and thought , " one day this will just be a memory", I looked around the cabin at everyone's bed all clean and their suit cases still unpacked. I thought they will never ever like me ever and they make me feel so bad, I need to make them feel bad too. And I do not know how I thought of it but I went to the door of the cabin and got a bucket that was left there and went to fill it with mud. I brought it in the cabin and opened my teacher's suitcase first and dumped the mud inside it and forced it closed. I then proceeded to do the same to all the other suitcases and then sat down to wait for their return.
They came in shortly after my task of styling their suitcase contents was completed. It did not take long for my deed to get discovered with screams and cry's of disgust, " who put mud in my suitcase ! OMG its every where !!!!" I heard my teacher's voice mixed in with the other's as I just sat on the bed waiting for my punishment, she came forward with her finger in my face, " you did this !! WHY?". I looked up at her and felt so confused like why would she not know why I had done it? How many times did I need her protection as my teacher not because she liked me but because it was the right thing and fair thing to do? How can a kid feel safe when the very people who are suppose to keep them safe joins in on the abuse? I dropped my head and just listened to the insults and crying , ironic as I thought, " you had your fun at making me feel bad now its my turn to fill your suitcases full of the dirt you are" , I knew I was in big trouble. The teacher was beyond furious and called my Grand Mary to come and get me stating , " she has acted out in a horrid manner and she must be picked up NOW" . I felt bad cause I knew that meant Uncle Bill would have to drive . I waited in the office with my duffle bag and the teacher by a small desk as Grand Mary entered, " there's my Bonnie girl, what happened my darling?" Of course my teacher filled her in and Grand Mary said " what did those devils do to my Bonnielynn that she would do such a thing?" . I looked up at her standing there with her hands on her hips, defending me in spite of being told of my actions. The teacher paused as if she had been slapped and the look of guilt on her face was all my Grand Mary needed to see, she said loudly ," I know you devils been teasing the girl and giving her a bad way. NO she never complained once but it is not hard to see a child who is suffering. Don't you say a bad word against my daughter, COME ON BONNIE GIRL we are out of here". The teacher's face was pale and she started to say something but we were already out the door. I climbed in the back seat as Uncle Bill's wild ride home began in silence, after a while Grand Mary turned around in her seat, " Bonnie girl , I always knew they were hard on you and for what ever reason you felt you needed to put mud in their suitcases? I support you " and then she turned back around. We never discussed it again and when I returned to school on Monday the class was awkward and quiet, my teacher sort of looked at me differently as if her abuse of me was ok when she thought no one knew, but now? Her treatment of me never really improved but she no longer joined to when I was teased and I was not teased that much from then on, as I had shown I would fight back. School had gotten no better but it was no worse either , I could accept that too.
I do not speak anymore to my used to be best friend as well that's a story for another day, let's just say I put a lot of mud in his suitcase too.