Tommy Never Made Me Cry

Carol RoachStarred Page By Carol Roach, 7th Feb 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Personal Experiences

Here is another one of my school days stories from my book, "Picking up the Pieces: A Woman's Journey. This particular story is one of my favorites. Tommy never made be cry!


My elementary school years were not a pleasant experience for me. I grew up with a grandmother who was overprotective and as a result, I never really knew what it was to have friends. I was never allowed out of her sight and I grew up in a world of adults.

My ma

Oh, I loved my ma and she loved me. You all know this from the previous stories I've written. Whatever she did, she always thought it was in my best interest.
My grandmother, or my "Ma" as I called her, never left the house herself, so it just seemed natural to her that I would be the same way. I was her treasure and she never wanted anyone to hurt her baby (me).

Nevertheless, my elementary school years were not remembered fondly. My first day at school was a disaster. Here I was, Ma's big girl, and I had to go and cry. After all the support and coaching that she gave me, I cried!

"You are a big girl now, you are going to make friends, and you're going to love school. You will be so happy at school. You are finally going to be with children of your own age. You won't want to be with an old nanny like me," she said.
I was scared to death but all revved up and ready to go, and yet I cried!

I cried

Being the very sensitive child that I was, I carried that embarrassment with me all through my elementary school years. After all, Renate, the daughter of a friend of the family and my only friend, started school the same day but she didn't cry.

I used to cry quite a bit at school and the other kids just thought I was a sissy. They enjoyed seeing me cry. I was always overweight and if they wanted to make me feel bad and make me cry, all they had to do was to call me fatty and I would start bawling.

I was afraid of Glen

In fact, in first grade there was this boy that I remained terrified of until he left the school three years later. His name was Glen, and one day he cornered me at recess and said,

"Hey fatty, I am going to punch you in the stomach until you're not fat anymore."

He did punch me.

So what did I do? You guessed it. I cried.

I hated to go to recess after that and I would make up stories about why I was not feeling well and why I could not go. Nobody called me Carol with the exception of Renate, and later on, Brenda, who also became my friend. Everyone else just called me fatty.

Gym class

Skipping recess worked up to a point and then the teachers said it was not healthy for me to be cloistered like that and I was forced to go to recess.

One thing I couldn't get out of from the very beginning was gymnastics. I was always slower than everyone else. I couldn't run fast, wasn't good at playing sports, and I just felt as stupid as I must have looked to the other children.

The gymnastics teachers never understood. They just kept yelling at me to run faster, work harder, and practice more. When I told them that when I ran too much it gave me a pain in the side (which was true) they ignored it and said,
"Run anyhow." I was always the last to come in on the girl's team.

Then there was Tommy

There was a boy named Tommy whom I knew from my classes. Since I was shy and uncomfortable talking to boys, I never really spoke to him. Tommy never talked to other people himself. He was very aloof.

Although in my case though I was too shy to talk, to me he seemed like he really didn't want to talk to anybody. He really liked being alone.

Not only did Tommy and I share a discomfort with the other children, we were both fat! Tommy never appeared like he wanted to do anything with anybody, ever. Now that I am older I feel it was because he felt the same way as me. He knew the others did not accept him because of his weight.

In gymnastics, Tommy got yelled at by the teachers more than I did simply because he was a boy. They tried to encourage me, as they were generally nicer to girls, but they were downright cruel to him, threatening to call his parents, suspend him from school, etc.

All the kids would want him on the debating team by the time we were in our last year of elementary school, since Tommy was the best male debater in school. However, they still didn't want this fat boy on their team in gymnastics.

I hated the races

Of all the things we did in gymnastics, I hated races the most. Instead of the teacher picking the teams, he would appoint two team captains and they would pick the kids they wanted. Of course it went without saying that the captains wanted the fastest runners and if a captain made a mistake in his/her choice, he or she was told about it in no uncertain terms by the team.

We all would line up against the wall and the team captain would start. Captain one would take the fastest runner, usually Rocky, because he was taller and bigger than the rest of us and respected by all the kids. Then captain two would pick another fast runner. This would continue until they came down to Tommy and me.

Tommy was considered faster than me, so I was always the last to be picked. When a team got me, you heard very loudly, "Oh no! Not her! We are going to lose for sure."

Tommy never made me cry

One particular day, I guess the hurt was showing on my face and I was trying to be brave and keep the tears back. Tommy looked at me as we both stood there alone; knowing what would happen next and he spoke to me for what I think was the very first time. He said,
"Don't worry about them, I don't care, you shouldn't either."

Tommy was picked for team one and I was picked for team two. The races began. Team one had a lead on us. Then it was down to the wire, Tommy and I were the last up. I could hear my teammates behind me saying,
"Oh no, she is up."

The teacher shouted, "Go!" but Tommy did not move. I didn't start running because I was waiting for him and the teacher yelled,
"Go" yet again. I started running but Tommy wasn't following.
The teacher yelled at Tommy, and Tommy responded,

"I have to tie my shoelace."

The teacher yelled, "Why didn't you do that before!"
I was dumbfounded. I didn't know what to do. I stopped in my tracks and the teacher again yelled out, "Go, go!"

By now I had such a lead that I knew it was inevitable that my team was going to win. Tommy waited for the return lap before he started to run. I finished the race and my team actually cheered for me,

"Come on Carol! You can do it

No one said a word to Tommy when he finally came in. Nobody really knew what to say. All I knew was that I felt so good with my teammates rooting for me.

I don't know if Tommy did that deed for me or for himself. I don't know if he ever really knew what he had done for a little girl with no self-esteem, regardless of his motives at the time.

But one thing is for sure. Tommy never made me cry!

All photos from Wikimedia Commons

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Crying, Gym, School, School Children, School Days, School Life, School Stories, School-Age Children

Meet the author

author avatar Carol Roach
Retired therapist and author of two books, freelance writer, newsletter editor, and blogger. I write, health, mental health, women's issues, animal , celebrity, history, and SEO articles.

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8th Feb 2015 (#)

Incredible article and a tons of awesome your personal book review here. Thank you for sharing this madam.

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