Letters to the Editor
High school not a good memory for grad
I absolutely hated high school. I spent four years in a typical football jock ran school, where I was made to feel like the most uncoordinated and un-cool kid on campus. I was, on a daily basis, made to feel like an outcast. As such, life was a “day by day living hell” experience and I felt completely alone, as though banished to live a dark and miserable existence. Sometime I just wonder how I ever survived. It wasn’t easy!
Although I was bullied relentlessly by the jocks and the popular kids, what hurt(s) the most was the way the other kids just looked the other way and allowed my treatment to continue! All that good old Southern Christian upbringing sure didn’t have much effect on my classmates….their silent complicity made and makes them just as guilty as the bullies!
Later, I was to find out that I wasn’t the only one treated this way. As a matter of fact, there were several of my classmates who got the same treatment. We all suffered in silence and today retain the mental scars of that horrible experience.
Of course once high school finished, and I escaped the narrow confines of my small town, my life actually began. Since graduating, I’ve come across a couple of my former tormentors. Most simply look at me with that same look of disdain, that dismissing sneer that I recognize so well. Some have tried to strike up a conversation, to perhaps smooth things over. One or two have tried to apologize. However some wounds never really heal and I still feel a dull pain in my stomach when I think back to those days.
And what astounds me the most is the way my old classmates get together every five years for that good old American tradition called the “class reunion.” They slap each other on the back and look back through rose colored glasses and talk about how wonderful the good old days were! They do so knowing full well the pain and suffering they caused people like me and others. If they ever wonder why so few people show up for these farcical reunions, it is a sure bet they all close their minds to the truth of their collective guilt.
Although it took me many years to get over that awful experience, today I have a great life. I have finally come to a place where I can forgive those who caused me (and many others) so much pain and suffering. But I think, perhaps, that those of us who were put through this are owned one heck of a big apology!
Timothy Smith LPN, BA, MPA, PhD
Morgan County High School Class of 1977
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