I had a pretty happy elementary school existence.
I liked school, loved sports and had great teachers.
It was all sunshine and – whatever goes after that to mean a good time…roses?
Makes me think of Days of Wine and Roses which was most definitely not happy times…

Anyhow, up until fifth grade it was perfect.
Enter Greta (name changed.)
A tiny, manipulative girl disguised as a tomboy.
We hung out, played slaughterball, 500, did dead man’s drops off the high bars. We were thick as thieves and happily excluded from the activities of the other girls at recess. Then one day she turned on me. The malicious girl came out and suddenly befriended all the girls who played in the sandbox in their tidy little dresses while we got sweaty and winded on the blacktop playing with the boys. I never knew what hit me.

You remember those stupid games where kids would draw a “button”on the outside of their hands and ask you to push it and then they’d flip their hand, open the palm and deliver a “message”..?
Well, all the girls in class did it one day, little did I know that they had a message on either hand. They choreographed a charade, asking every one to push their little “buttons” and then when they’d come around my way I’d press the stupid “button” and

I hate you.
You are gross.
I don’t like you.
You are ugly.

My eyes were burning and I felt like I might lose control and give into the lump in my throat when I raised my eyes and turned to the door and saw Rita leaning against the wall with a smug look on her face. It was my first experience with real cruelty for the sake of cruelty. I have clearly never forgotten it.

I am looking forward to moving ahead and taking my incredible family and raising more girls like myself,but giving them a slightly thicker skin and a clue about how every once in a while, despite the general goodness in people, there are some twisted folk out there.

So Greta, Stacey, Lisa and the rest of your ilk, I got myself one of the best guys on the blacktop and we have ourselves two fun loving, sweethearted little girls. So you can take your buttons and shove’em in the sand.