Lots Of Questions Asked

I grow older and I like being around those that I click with almost instantly. It’s like we become cool and can talk and be friends, no questions asked.

This definitely wasn’t the case in elementary/middle school.

4th-6th grade were some lean years. It was the years where my intelligence was more mainstream, I was around the haves and have nots, got bullied the most, and got into a lot of fights.

I remember coming home from school plenty of days with my eyes filled with tears due to being bullied and made fun of. It seemed many found me a huge joke. It was either my hair, voice, light skin, weight, or knockoff clothes. I was always a target.

I eventually started fighting in school, getting detention. I was softer then but I was still hot tempered. I hated being messed with then and now! Needless to say, the anti-bullying laws came about 30 years too late.

My mom stayed up at the school in the principal, teacher’s and sometimes even student’s face. Yes I said students! The principal would tell her “Miss Lanier, you can’t talk to the students like that.” Mom “Well wait until Field Day or the school field trip! I’m tired of them messing with my son, he just wants to learn!”.

Pretty much every student from that time until graduation remembers my mom as the one that stayed up at the school or football practice protecting one of her kids. And to this day, some are still scared of her.

I got called some gruesome names also “nigger, half breed, half breed nigger, fat ass, retarded, nerd”. I was shoved, pushed, had stuff thrown at me, and I got beaten up and scratched. You win some you lose some. My generation didn’t need weapons nor did we try to kill ourselves due to bullies.

This all made social interaction more of a challenge for me. I still had a couple of friends, but I seemed to be the outcast among white kids who didn’t consider me white, black kids who didn’t consider me black, and smart kids who didn’t think I belonged either.

Some teachers understood, some didn’t. However, I knew I was going to have to handle bullies and mean kids in a different way if I was ever to survive high school and have more people like me.



Elementary My Dear Drew

Elementary school years (1st-3rd) were when I developed my intellect more, and other peers and teachers took note. I even had the opportunity to skip a grade, but neither myself nor my mom were in favor of it. This spawned more resentment and jealously from the other kids, black, white, rich, poor and in between.

You see, I didn’t have a lot of money, a father, wasn’t in Cub Scouts or sports. I stuttered, was extremely shy and was simply awkward. I had a couple of friends, but wasn’t popular by any means. I wish I could say it got better but those days and years were far ahead.

Those years were also tough as I lost my grandpa Frosty when I was in second grade. My mom suffered a nervous breakdown which she didn’t fully recover from for a couple of years. In her mental state, I wasn’t even allowed to have playdates or go to anyone’s house. My confidence was shattered and I didn’t know what was going on.

It seemed outside of a few people, the only friends I had were my animals, my books and my toys. 

1988, I changed schools again to begin fourth grade. I faced greater challenges.


My Journey Towards Making Friends

This is a multi-part series that deals with the ups and downs of my social life throughout my life.

Many do not realize the struggles I had coming up. I wasn’t always the socialite I currently am. I was actually very shy and awkward for years.

My first foray into mass social interaction came as a kindergarten student at Blacksburg Elementary #1 in 1983. During this time, there weren’t many (if any) biracial children. Add to the fact that I was already different and introverted and you see I had an uphill battle socially.

I had no problem learning the material as I watched Sesame Street for years and could read since age four. I was actually ahead of many of my peers that had been “groomed” since infants to be academic prodigies. But again, I didn’t have many friends. The only friends I made that year were Bill (guy to the right of me with the adult belt buckle). He is still my oldest and best friend. The other was Shaylan (tallest in the class and one of the tallest adult men I knew.) Neither one of them saw race then or now. They saw someone that they had common interests with. We played together in class and recess, and even talked during nap time. That would earn me a paddling on my hand in front of the entire class.

I really didn’t get bullied much then (that came later on in school.). However, I had plenty of barriers, and more to overcome. Thankfully, I had at least two friends in my corner.

Stay tuned next week as I transition to elementary school and begin to experience just how mean children can be.