I remember Number 3 wireless on a day when it was hot and muggy in the middle of summer and the prairie heat had no wind to cool it down.
The boy next door had been lowering my tolerance temperature a little at a time for weeks. He was smart, knew how to say things when there was an audience -- especially damaging things. His remarks were cutting, and hit their mark enough times so the recipient felt a pain that was hard to dismiss. He exercised his mouth to do damage and then ridiculed, making fun and sport of the victim. He enjoyed it way too much.
He was a rather good looking guy and quite sure of himself; in short he was a pain in the butt. His cruelty reached a saturation point with me when he made fun of my big feet. He used an old saying on me: "You're a poet and don't know it but your feet show it; they're Longfellows and smelled like the Dickens."
Everyone laughed and pointed to my feet. I left in anger and went for a long walk. I was gone for about an hour and half. On the way back I had to pass Wayne's apartment. I saw him sitting at the kitchen table and he saw me and began to laugh, pointing a finger at me in a mocking way.
Something snapped and I went right to his front door, opened it and walked into the kitchen and smacked him a good one. Then before he could gain his footing, I grabbed him by the collar and started pulling him outside. He was hollering and his family came running. By then he was outside and we were going at it. He gave as good as he got but the only difference was I had gotten in a surprise sock that left a welt and gave me an edge. There was some more scuffling and his dad grabbed me and him and held us apart. I wasn't saying anything and neither was Wayne. His dad first asked me if I was nuts coming into his house and hitting his son and then dragging him outside.
He wanted to know why and I just said: "Ask him." Wayne didn't say anything but his dad sure did. He told me to go home and he didn't ever want to see me try a stunt like that again.
Then he said to Wayne: "Finally someone had enough of your mouth. I warned you about your
spiteful nature a few months ago when Sheila's parents came over to talk to me. Maybe this will teach you a lesson."
I was limping and my mouth hurt and I had a black eye. I had caught Wayne by surprise but I knew he could best me in a fair fight but this time it wasn't fair.
I sometimes wonder in those early years where that grit came from. I couldn't punch my way out of a paper bag. I was tall and skinny for my age and not a lot of muscle but I think I inherited my Mother's temperament to get hit and get up again. Wayne and I stayed away from each other after that but never outgrew our dislike for each other.