Ya know, I AM old enough to have grown up in segregated schools and I was in the 7th grade at Charles B. Aycock Junior High before I was ever in class with black people. I became really good friends with this one guy named Jerome Abrams but there was this other guy named Ronnie Byrd that always tried to bully and intimidate me. He wasn’t as tall as me but he was a lot rounder, and rolled with a posse. So every day for a while there he’d come up to me and say “Gimmenickel”. “Huh?” I asked at first. “Gimmenickel” I slowed it down in my 6th grade edumakated brain and figgered it out, he was saying “Give me a nickel” “Oh shit, you need a nickel, well…OK” Next day, same thing. “Gimmenickel” This went on for about three or four weeks, and because I was giving him my nickel for milk every day I wasn’t getting any. So I was beginning to get not only calcium and Vitamin D depleted but very pissed off! Finally, I was sitting at the top of the bleachers in the gym one day when he came stomping up to where I was and I knew what was coming. “Gimmenickel, man” Well, I gave it to him, five toes connected to my foot in his chest with a mighty heave-ho. As he tumbled down in slow mo, head cracking off each seat of those wooden steps all the way to the bottom, I imagined every scenario of him and his buddies kicking my ass and breaking my glasses. But it didn’t happen. He walked half way back up the bleachers and just stared at me. I was shaking inside but didn’t let on to him that I was. He finally turned away and never asked me for a nickel again.
Oh! Then there was this other time in 7th grade when we were in Mrs. Roebucks class and someone turned the heat all the way up to 200. Well, she didn’t like that and made us stay after school ‘till almost dark in that hot-ass room until somebody confessed, which nobody ever did. She was kind of a kook. Once, instead of giving Al McGraw (star of the football team) a spanking she told him that he could pick anyone in the room to do it instead of her. So of course you’re gonna pick your best bud from the team, right? So he picks Russell, a BIG ‘ol boy but someone who had the temperament of never being able to hurt a fly. Al bends over among the snickers in front of the class when about that time Russell swings like the bases are loaded, its full count, bottom of the ninth in the seventh game of the World Series in Yankee Stadium. He laid the wood to his ASS! Al’s face turned the color of his hair, beet red. We were all in shock. Russell went old school on his ass and really let his best friend have it. Al started tearing up but tried to stand tall. Then Mrs. Roebuck says “OK Russell, he gets one more” You could feel the air being sucked out of the room by each and every one of us. OMG!
Maybe it’s a good thing we don’t have paddling in classrooms anymore.