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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Lessons From the Playground

Back in the early seventies, I was another dumb kid just trying to fit in when I learned a powerful lesson on how to treat people. As a reward for all of our hard work, the school took us on a field trip to one of the best playgrounds in the world–Six Flags.

Being middle schoolers, we radiated cool as we weaved from ride to ride with a large group of boys and girls. All was wonderful until the lead nasty girl huddled us in a group and whispered, "Let's ditch Dan."

Well, okay. Gee, I had no mind of my own, so if she says we're going to do this, I went along with it. At her signal, all of us darted away from poor Dan.

Next, she chose a second victim, and a third. The group continually grew smaller as we ditched one kid after another. Being that this nasty girl was my good friend, it never dawned on me that eventually I would be the one ditched. They ditched me.

Alone and terrified, I shook in the middle of that huge amusement park. Strangers surrounded me as I wandered up and down the paths looking for one, just one familiar face. Why had I gone along with the pack earlier? Why hadn't I had the courage to speak up and say, "Stop! This is wrong" or  "No! I'm not ditching anyone." I'd never even thought about how cruel our stunt was, and if I hadn't gotten ditched myself, maybe I never would have. So I'm glad they left me. And as for my nasty friend... that was the END of that friendship.

Okay, I confess, she is a current Facebook friend; so, do I paste a link to this post in a private message to her? After that day, she didn't seem to understand why I didn't want to be her friend anymore. Would she understand as an adult? Has she ever thought of Six Flags since or is my horrible memory a faded smudge on her bridge. I have found the ability to forgive her, but I will NEVER forget. It was too painful.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is this what inspired that scene in the book you were writing five or six years ago?
By the way, this is Alice, one of your students. Hopefully you haven't forgotten about me yet.

Anonymous said...

*former student

Rhonda@Laugh Quotes said...

Oh, the lessons we learn in middle school. That sounds like a tough one. I would post it out on Facebook, see if she recognizes herself. I am safe, as I didn't meet you for another five years after that.

Joyce Lansky said...

I could never forget you, Alice! Yes. It sure is. You have a wonderful memory.

Binky said...

Hard to say. Was this what she was always like, or was it some sort of phase? We all do pretty stupid things.

Jenn said...

A good lesson in Karma--what goes around eventually comes around!! Great post--and yes I would put it out on Facebook and see if she picks up the link and reads it. Would she recognize herself?? Would be interesting to find out!!

Cheers, Jenn

Claudia Moser said...

Nice one!

silverthoughts2 said...

I don't think I'd paste it on Facebook for all to see. Instead, I'd probably send her a private message, either with this copy and pasted or a more personal message. Copy and paste seems too confrontational, especially as an adult, chances are she has had a chance to see the error of her childhood ways and is probably already embarrassed by the incident.

Shauni said...

This was a wonderful post.. I remember occasionally being a mean girl.. not thinking it would just happen. Fortunately I had a group of wonderful friends that kept me balanced.. of course I am happy to say I kept them balanced as well. Sometimes we do things because it seems funny not with the intention of being mean..

Of course this post also reminded me of when I got lost at Disneyland.. alone and separated from my family at the age of five! and I will admit that it has had life long ramifications. One good one and a couple of not so good ones..

Thanks for the wonderful post
Shauni

ShauniSpeaks and JugglingTeens

Kathy said...

That was so mean!! It amazes me how this person could not have a clue why you no longer wanted to be friends. Geez, what is wrong with people? I am outraged on your behalf. Great post, traumatic memory. I got to go to this theme park when I was a teenager with my folks and I loved it!

Kathy
http://gigglingtruckerswife.blogspot.com/

November Rain - k~ said...

It has been said that the lessons we remember most easily, and for the longest time, are those that hurt the most.

danneromero said...

i apologized, as an adult, for something i did to a friend as a teen....

she was a kid, tell her... and hopefully you can just laugh about the immaturity of it all....

Jo said...

I was a teenager a very long time ago and to be honest, I am sure I owe a lot of people an apology for something that I do not remember. It's my opinion, based on my life, that the one who caused the pain or the upset or whatever is likely not to even remember the incident until reminded. The one who suffered it, however, remembers forever.
In a big way, she did do you a favor. You will never intentionally hurt anyone by excluding them in your life because you know that pain. She probably hasn't learned that basic lesson yet. Mean girls do grow up, but some of them just become mean women. Some just morph into good people. Who knows in her case, which happened? I say PM her the link with a note of thanks. ♥

Mojo Writin said...

Must admit, I'd be tempted to name and shame, but then foot in mouth disease is one of my less pleasant traits :D If nothing else you learned a lesson and it made you a better person...not that I am encouraging any stray teens reading this to participate in any such shenanigans! *grin*

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