| By Anne Gappmayer, Jennifer’s mother |
A few years after WWII, I was in sixth grade when I met Spud. He was the new kid at our school. Spud was big and husky and quickly became known as a bully. He was constantly beating up other boys, pulling girls’ hair, taking things away from kids, and generally making a nuisance of himself.
One warm spring day I was walking on the playground with a friend when Spud ran past and pulled my hair. Something seemed to go off inside me. Instantly, angry, I took off chasing Spud, thinking, “I’m gonna get him no matter what!” It took me a few minutes but I was actually able to catch him. Finding myself sitting on top of him in the middle of our playground, I pounded him good. After I told him to “leave me alone or else,” he grinned sheepishly and mumbled a weak agreement letting me know he knew I meant what I said. Someone yelled, “Anne, look!” Imagine my surprise when turning to look, I saw five of the six teachers standing in the first grade window watching.
As we entered the school at the end of recess, one of the teachers put her arm around me and congratulated me on my victory. “We didn’t think anyone could beat Spud! We’ll call on you next time Spud causes problems!” Embarrassed but proud, I walked on into my room. I received many curious looks throughout the week but slowly the novelty of my adventure wore off. From then on, Spud left me alone. No longer was I one of his victims. We even spoke on a friendly basis in later school years.