The Franklin Files

Members Login
    Remember Me  

Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 318


     Right at the beginning of the fifth grade I had another heat stroke incident. I remember it was middle September; the hottest month for Southern California. School had just let back in session. In fact, I think it was actually the first day of school.

     The classroom was air-conditioned, and we were let out to play for recess. It was not the lunch break, it was the first recess, which, oh, it's hard to remember but I don't think lasted more than twenty minutes.

     And after the recess bell rang to come back to class, as soon as my body crossed the threshold into the classroom and the cooler air-conditioned air of the classroom touched my body; I went out like a light. I never even remembered losing consciousness and never felt myself hit the floor.

     This time however, unlike the time before as I was coming out of the bathroom at my house when I had been unconscious for I would say about twenty to twenty five minutes, this time I regained consciousness quickly; only a few seconds after landing on the floor.

     It was kind of chaotic when it happened. All of us kids were coming back into the classroom after recess in a very unorderly fashion, and I think the teacher just thought that I had fallen.

     I'm sure, that's probably what it looked like, that probably I had just fallen down, and then she saw me kind of lay there for a few seconds and then get back up.

     I think the teacher asked me if I was OK, like, did I hurt myself falling down, and I said that I was fine.

     What I didn't understand and I what I didn't tell her is that I didn't fall down, I actually lost consciousness; that's why I fell down.

     The other thing that happened in that first week or two of school that I remember is that I had began complaining of really bad headaches.

     Now, this was not like me. It wasn't like me at all. Passing out from a little heat, and getting migraine type headaches, was not like me at all.

     On more than one occasion the headaches got so bad, that I was sent to the school nurse, who gave me some aspirin, which was of no help what-so-ever.

     Eventually, after this happened a number of times, the nurse informed my parents and the nurse asked for permission from my parents to give me a battery of tests to determine if perhaps I was having trouble seeing.

     She explained that blurry vision, when attempting to read in class can often lead to painful, debilitating headaches, and the nurse, after talking with me, thought that the headaches might be being caused by vision problems.

     I remember being given a regiment of different eye tests. I had been called out of class and was surprised that I was in the nurse's office for probably, if I remember right, over an hour and a half.

     After all that, my vision was determined to be perfectly normal. As a matter of fact, it was determined that I had better than 20/20 vision, which isn't surprising since my eyes were so young. I remember them saying that I had 20 vision in one eye and 25 vision in the other, which was good; it meant that in that one eye I could make out details that normal people could only see at twenty feet and I could make them out at twenty five feet.

     I bring this up because I think it corroborates the idea that I might have been withdrawing from some kind of drug, that I had no idea I had been taking.

     As I said earlier, I wasn't on any kind of medication of any kind, and the headaches, the heat-strokes, the sensitivity to light, and my amnesic events completely stopped happening within about a week or two after school started.

     And as I said earlier, because I have a good memory (usually) I remember a lot of detail about my time with Scott from the beginning of the school year, until we parted as friends, about four months later in contrast to the amnesic, blurry, fuzzy, hazy recollections of things during the two months prior.

     Let me tell you what I remember.

.  .   .


       After the beginning of school, Scott and I pretty much didn't see each other except for at lunch and after school. The reason being, that although Scott was in the same grade level I was in; the fifth grade, there was more than one fifth grade class, and Scott was not assigned the same fifth grade teacher that I had been.

     We would meet with one another at lunch and share our lunch time together, but we didn't share recess together and the reason for that is because I had decided to volunteer that time to aid the special education kids.

     I'm not exactly sure why I did that. We called them "retarded" at the time, and I know that is no longer the politically correct term to use, but I felt compassion for them.

     The special education classroom was very near my fifth grade class, and in the first week of school when I would go out for recess I would see these kids coming in from recess, and my heart went out to them.

     There were a variety of different kids, some of them were obviously DOWNE'S SYNDROME, some of them had brain damage. I didn't know all of their personal stories, but I was sure of one thing; the conditions they suffered weren't their fault.

     Some of these kids were perfectly normal little kids, until they went into the hospital for some routine surgery like getting their tonsils removed, and came out with brain damage due to some complication of general anesthesia. Some may have endured some kind of terrible head trauma from a car accident of bicycle accident and ended up with brain damage.

     And some were just born that way, but I knew something as well, just because they were "challenged" didn't mean they couldn't perceive, and didn't mean that they didn't have emotions. they were human beings, and they weren't particularly treated that way by the other kids.

     And although I wasn't retarded, I certainly knew what it was like to be picked on and called names and even beaten up because I didn't "fit in". As a matter of fact I got beaten up in the fourth grade more times than I could remember, and this was simply because I dressed out of sorts, something that was completely out of my control and I have the broken nose to prove it. I knew how mean kids could be, often times carrying prejudices they learned from their parent's, that I thought were sickening. I can remember being called "whitie" a lot of times before I would be pounced on and "slave-trader" because I was white and the kid beating me up happened to be Negro.
     And so I decided to volunteer my time to assist the teacher during the morning and afternoon recesses. Nobody put me up to this, nobody suggested I do it, and as a matter of fact, I got a lot of flack for it, even from my fifth grade teacher who would make snide remarks about how she didn't understand why I wanted to help the "retardos" as she put it.

     I instantly hated my fifth grade teacher when she made that remark. And I know that these days, a teacher could be fired on the spot for making such a comment; even a teacher with tenure.

     The teacher that assisted these special education children was a very loving caring teacher, and she could hardly believe that one of the "normal" kids would volunteer their personal recess time to work with these children, for no other reason than, he simply cared.

     And, I enjoyed working with these children. I was patient with them, and I learned something from that that I still have to this very day; two things actually.

     One thing that I learned is that these mentally disabled children, were actually some of the most caring, fair, compassionate and loving little people you would ever in your life have the chance to meet and I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent working with them.

     The other thing I learned is that doing something being motivated by compassion, even if it may require patients and may be difficult, is one of the most internally rewarding things a person can ever do.

     I learned that compassion, is the deepest of human emotions and when one is compassionate towards others, not just in thought but in deed, the rewards are immense. And I'm not talking about material rewards. I mean, something happens inside of you, that makes you feel good as a person; better than morphine or any drug could ever make you feel, and I got much of the self-esteem back that I had lost, due to a problematic relationship I had at home with my mother.

     As a matter of fact, I liked doing this kind of thing. A couple years later when I was twelve, I kind of unofficially volunteered time at an "old folks home" that was at the end of my paper route.

     I guess most kids would have been disgusted by all these old people, many of them very old and disabled, in walkers and wheelchairs and stuff, but it surprised me, but apparently I brought them so much joy, just spending time there with them; a young kid, talking with them and listening to all their "war" stories and their views on life, etc... Many of them felt just abandoned, often times going months without any visits from family who seemed to just leave them there to die.

     What I realized is that most of these people were right around the corner from death, and they knew it. Their lives were basically over and I learned so much from them, in addition to just feeling like a good person for doing this.

     I can still remember after all these years, this one elderly man who was about ninety years old I guess, told me something I will never forget and something that I think about often still.

     This man told me had a good life. That he had made a lot of money, he was successful, and well educated, and did I want to know a secret.

     I said, "Sure,"

     He leaned in and whispered in my ear, "None of that matters," he said.

     I looked at him in shock.

     He nodded his head and said, "Not a **** of that matters," he told me frankly. "Don't you make the same mistake I did. Be kind to people, just like you're doing, show compassion, because in the end, when you face death, that's the only thing that matters, and I'm ashamed to say, that although I loved my wife and I loved my children, I didn't really give much of a crap about anyone else, and I know I'm going to have to answer for that. Never forget these words my son, you just keep doing what you're doing, and you'll be blessed."

     OK, well, I digressed a bit, let me move on.

     So, that is why Scott and I didn't play together at morning and afternoon recess, because I was helping the special education children, and I also mention this for another reason. I absolutely hated my fifth grade teacher for her nasty comments, about me helping "the retardos" and this would lead soon to me acting very much out of character one day regarding my fifth grade teacher.

     But, like I said, Scott and I would have lunch together, and I remember it well.

     I remember one time we were having lunch together in the lunch area of the school, and some kids were playing with a ball; you know the kind -- these big red inflated balls that they used to have in school.

     Two kids were throwing this ball back and forth to each other which really they shouldn't have been doing. Playing wasn't allowed in the lunch area. The lunch area was outside, but still, the rules were no playing in that area. If you were done eating your lunch you could go play ball in the playground where they had staff called "safeties" that monitored and supervised the children playing.

     So, these kids were playing with the ball and one kid threw the ball to the other kid and it flew right over his head, he was completely unable to catch it, and the ball ended up hitting the fire alarm; one of these "break glass" in case of emergency, fire alarms.

     Well of course, the fire alarm went off across the whole school, and so freaked out the kid, and he thought he'd be in so much trouble that he ended up peeing his pants right there in front of everybody.

     Man, that has got to be the most humiliating thing that I could even think could happen to a kid during school is to pee their pants right in front of everybody, and most of the kids were laughing, but I wasn't. I felt bad for the kid. He probably wouldn't be able to live this down for the rest of the entire school year.

     I remember, Scott and I met up with each other after school that day, and I remember me bringing up the pants peeing incident to Scott, and Scott calling the kid a moron. I told Scott, the kid was legitimately afraid, I mean he tripped the entire school fire alarm; for all we know, his dad might beat the hell out of him.

     Parent's were allowed to do that back then. Spank you and paddle you and stuff. I remember, even the teachers were allowed to paddle us in class just three short years ago until they passed a law against it.

     Scott took me to his house, and I remember he let me butter some bread and fry it. I thought that was pretty cool.

     Scott also showed me how to make his favorite sandwich; he'd slice up a hard boiled egg, add salt, and then put it in between two slices of bread. That was Scott's favorite sandwich. And I had to admit; it wasn't bad.

     We did this a lot. I'd go over to Scott's house after school, and we'd make ourselves something to eat.

     I thought it was cool that Scott was trusted to make whatever he wanted in the kitchen. At my own house, I would never have been allowed to fry bread like Scott let me do after school.

     I remember on this one particular afternoon, Scott led me inside his dad's room.

     His dad's room was really cool. His dad had a water bed. Scott said I could lay down on the water bed. I thought that was the coolest thing. I had never lain on a water bed before. It kind of swished around a bit when you first got on it. I tried to imagine sleeping on it.

     I remember the bed had this pretty elaborate headboard, and in the middle of the headboard was a rheostat of some kind that Scott told me adjusted the temperature of the water or something like that.

     I lay there on the bed for several minutes just for the novelty of it, and while I had my eyes closed, Scott had gone over to his dad's desk which was in the far right corner of the room, and had made a telephone call.

     Next thing I heard was Scott saying obscenities into the phone.

     I got off the bed and came over to the desk. Scott winked at me.

     What he was doing was he had the phone book open on the desk in front of him and was randomly calling numbers out of the phone book, and when a woman would answer the phone, he started talking dirty to them, using extreme obscenity and making very intentional sexual verbiage, telling them that he wanted to f them and could he lick their p----y and stuff like that.

     Scott tried to get me to do it too but I refused. I was shocked at his use of language and at the things he said; he made reference to very specific and graphic sex acts that astonished me that he even knew about.

     After awhile, Scott did something rather stupid. he dialed O for the Operator. Back in those days we had rotary dial phones, and I could clearly tell that he dialed "0".

     And, much to my shock and chagrin, Scott started talking dirty to the operator, which wasn't a good idea. He directly sexually solicited her, and then when he hung up the phone, and a few moments later picked the receiver up to make another phone call, was shocked to discover that the operator was still on the phone.

     I thought it was kind of funny actually. This was one dirty deed I absolutely had no involvement in.

     Scott hung up the phone and picked up the receiver about five or six times and every time, there was the operator still on the line.

     Much to my shock, Scott handed the receiver to me.

     "Hello,' I said.

     "Hi, I can keep this line open as long as I want, until your father gets home if you'd like," the operator said.

     I told Scott what the operator said.

     "Do you want me to do that?" she asked.

     Scott shook his head.

     "No, mam," I said.

     "Then I want that boy to apologize that just said all those dirty things to me," she said.

      I told Scott, and Scott whispered, "Just make her go away, say whatever you have to,"

     I whispered back, "She wants an apology from you," she said.

     Scott reluctantly took the receiver back and with a very different tone in his voice apologized to the operator for talking dirty to her, and then promised the operator that he would not make any more calls like that.

     Scott handed the phone back to me, and I don't why, but I was feeling guilty when I hadn't even done anything wrong.

     The operator said to me, "I'm going to be listening in on all calls on this line for the next hour and if I hear any more obscene calls, I will report this to the police."

     "Don't worry," I said, "We won't be making any more obscene phone calls,"

     "You'd better not, " she said. "Hey, you sound really young, how old are you?" she asked me.

     "Ten," I said.

     "And your friend," she asked.

     "He's ten too," I said.

     "Ten years old, where in the world did you pick up that kind of talk from?"

     "I don't know," I said.

     "Never mind," the operator lady said.

     And I hung up the phone.

     A couple minutes later, Scott nervously picked up the receiver and put his ear to it, and hearing dial-tone, was much relieved.

     "Whew," he said, "that was a close one."

     "How did you learn all those things you were just talking about?" I asked him.

     "Never mind," Scott said.

     "Why did you do such a stupid thing Scott, **** man?"

     He shook his head, "Thanks for getting rid of her," he said.


     "Why?" Scott asked "because my dad would beat the crap out of me."

     This wasn't the first time Scott had said his dad had beaten him or that his dad would beat him and every time he said it he had real fear in his eyes, nor would this be the last time he would say it. As a matter of fact, he told my own dad such a horrendous story of a beating Scott took once that my dad never again ever hit me or my little brother ever again with a spanking or with a paddle or in any other way. Something I'll never forget.

     As soon as Scott mentioned his dad, fear tingled all the way down my spine and I don't know why. Suddenly I didn't want to be in his dad's room. Suddenly I didn't want to be in this house. Suddenly, I was filled with fear and had to get out of this house.

     "I got to go," I said.

     "Well, see you tomorrow?"

     "Yea sure,"

     "Before school?"

     "Yea sure, " I said, and couldn't get out of his dad's room fast enough. What was I thinking? I can't be in his dad's room. I can't even be in this house. Why was I so scared? I didn't know.

     I had no idea, but felt the fear subside when I got out of the house and headed for home.



-- Edited by The Phantom on Sunday 7th of March 2010 02:36:30 PM


"Sometimes when you open your mind to the impossible,
  you discover the truth." Walter from Fringe.

Page 1 of 1  sorted by
Quick Reply

Please log in to post quick replies.

Create your own FREE Forum
Report Abuse
Powered by ActiveBoard