Archive for the ‘1960’s’ Tag

There’s Bullying And Then There’s Bullying   1 comment

Recent news accounts about the latest poor teenaged bullying victim who saw suicide as the only way out has set me thinking. Is bullying more prevalent today then it was in the 50’s and 60’s when I was learning my way in the world? I doubt it. Bullying has been around forever. Goliath comes to mind.

  • Is it that  the media is more omnipresent today?
  • Does the internet makes it easier for bullies to throw constant barbs at the bullied?
  • Does the idea that the internet may have already spread the viciousness before the victim has even seen it make him or her even more victimized

Yes and yes, and maybe.

What’s different about today’s bullying is the way it’s carried out. But I think that in blaming the internet I’m shooting the messenger. I should be shooting the computer, lap top, iPhone iPad, – all the devices that have made a best buddy out of the almighty screen. So when that best buddy delivers all those barbs and vicious names, who is there to turn to?

When I was young (aagh, did I just write those four words? How many times did I silently gag when either of my parents uttered them) But as I was saying, back in the day bullying was “in your face.” This was because we spent every waking hour out playing. There was nothing worse than going out and finding “No one to play with”. We  were out in the street after school, weekends, summers, and at lunchtime recess – yes we played outside on our lunch hours ( and yes it was a full hour. )

And so when bullies struck they did so out in the open. Bullies need an audience, otherwise why bother. But whereas  today’s victims suffer the verbal slings alone, at home, in front of their screens, the bullied back then, if she was lucky had a friend or a kind-hearted soul who at best would stand up for her, or at least, offer a shoulder to cry on or a listening ear. Not to toot my own horn, but I can recall befriending two different girls on different occasions in third or fourth grade when they were made fun of for whatever reason. Hold on, maybe I touched on it right there. Made Fun Of.

Although it was anything but fun for the bullied, and undoubtedly left scars, the bully almost seemed benign and as if he/she was having fun as compared to today’s spineless bully sitting in the silent safety of  his/her keyboard, typing a relentless destructive onslaught to go out instantly to who knows how many screens

The old fashioned open, in the present bullying may also have brought fellow victims together and forged friendships, in a Revenge of the Nerds, in numbers there is strength, type of pact.

I myself had an early encounter with bullying.  Very early! I was probably about 4 when I’d come upstairs to our apartment crying that “Roni hit me. ” Yes, lower your jaws, at four, I was allowed out by myself – right in front of the building. All the kids were. Back then every city block was its own little small town. Neighbors were coming and  going, and mothers did keep an eye on us from the window.  Roni was my age, and lived in the next building.

After the second or third day of this, my mother had had enough.  And although her method will never appear in the politically correct parenting handbook of modern times, she solved my problem instantly and once and for all.

She didn’t come downstairs and have a  heart-to-heart eye level talk with Roni; nor did she have a talk with Roni’s mother.   She had a talk with me. “If you don’t hit Roni back, the next time you come home crying, I’m going to hit you too.”

And so the next time it happened I hit Roni back, and ya’ know what?  Not only did she never hit me again, we were best buddies from that day on, and all through grade school until high school when her family moved to California

So what am I trying to say? I don’t really know. I’m not making light of the effect of bullying on victims now or then. I just think that when it was delivered out in the light of day,  The victim had to act. Maybe it was to run away. Maybe it was to cry. But it was instant and direct, in a Bart Simpson  type of way. There wasn’t as much time for it to fester.

So make of this rambling post what you will, all I’m saying is social media can be awfully anti-social.

And if you have any thoughts on bullying I’d really like to hear them.

Posted October 21, 2013 by virginiafair in Uncategorized

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Don’t Be Talkin’ Bad ‘Bout My Kool-Aid!   4 comments

I spend quite a bit of time on the internet, compliments of my job. And somewhere in my travels, this image confronted me

sugar kills

Hey, Mother Jones I thought, that’s not the Kool-Aid I knew!

Why is Kool-Aid always the fall guy?  First there was Tom Wolfe’s silly book, The Electric Acid Kool Acid Test.

th_006

OK, I admit it, I read it. And yes, I enjoyed it. But why Kool-Aid? Couldn’t Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters use something else to down their LSD? It could have been the Electric Raspberry Lemonade Acid Trip.

Then there was Jim Jones and the Jonestown tragedy.  I won’t dwell on tragedy but it did leave Kool-Aid with a besmirched name, and it led to people’s saying “Don’t drink the Kool-Aid” when they think someone’s blindly following an idea.  Look, I wish Jim Jones had not  used anything at all to mix his poison, but I’m just saying, if he’d  used milk people would be saying  “Don’t drink the milk”, and I’d be fine with that – I don’t like milk.

Why you might ask am I so sensitive about Kool-Aid. Do you remember my blog entry about how summers on Cape Cod did not officially begin until my brothers and I had bought our flip flops?

Well Kool-Aid kept the summer going.  If not for Kool-Aid, we’d have died of thirst with our flip flops on.  You see, we were not a water-drinking family – unless it had Kool-Aid in it.

And Kool-Aid was mighty cheap back then. 5 cents an envelope, with a bulk discount of 6 for 25 cents. I know because as the oldest child I usurped the responsibility of choosing the flavors. There was raspberry, orange, grape, strawberry, lemon lime, and another raspberry. That was 25 cents worth, and then I’d choose another six, this time replacing the second raspberry with a second strawberry to bring it to50 cents. There was a sixth favor I could have chosen. But it was cherry,

th_048

and I didn’t like cherry. Brother A did, but too bad. He wasn’t the oldest!

The twelve envelopes would just make it until the next week’s trip into Hyannis for grocery shopping. This was  summer time, and that meant my mother had to make a jugful to bring to the beach each day, plus a pitcher for the fridge because brother B was the most generous of the three of us, and he was always bringing his friends in for a glass or two.

Then there were the Kool-Aid pops.

pops

We’d save all our Popsicle sticks for weeks in preparation. After all, they were the most important part of the recipe. My mother would make the Kool-Aid and pour it into an ice cube tray with a stick in each section. Then she’d stick the tray in the freezer for an overnight stay.  The freezers of the early 60’s lacked the oomph of today’s freezers.

Getting the pops out of the tray wasn’t as easy as you younger people might think, or as quiet. Ice cube trays of that era were metal, not plastic – no flexibility.

ice cube trays

You had to bang it on the sink and wiggle the collapsible partitions that separated the ice cubes. Then more banging and rattling, and if you weren’t careful you’d end up with shattered Kool-Aid pops

I took a field trip last Saturday – to the powdered beverage aisle in the supermarket. I wanted to confirm my memories before I set them to paper. Yes, one envelope makes two quarts. And the directions for pops was still on the back, but what surprised me, besides the fairly reasonable cost of 20 cents, was the calorie count – zero. Were they now making diet Kool-Aid?

I thought about it for a couple of seconds and it came back to me – you had to add your own sugar! I should have known that. You see, with time, I graduated from Kool-Aid chooser to Kool-Aid preparer. The bad part was Brother A got my old job so I had to slit open the envelope and dump cherry powder into the pitcher, add eight cups of water, one cup of sugar, stir it up, and we were ready to h t the beach

One cup of sugar spread out over two whole quarts of water? That doesn’t sound so bad to me, Mother Jones, but then you’ve never seen me adding sugar to my coffee, have you?