Charlie Boy the Okie sixth grader.
This was 1956 in the sixth grade. My sixth grade teacher’s name was, and I’m not joking, Miss Longnecker. This is the truth. She was a “plus-size” woman. Fat and sometimes used a cotton braded rope as a belt for her tint size dress. She had long thin spindly teeth and at best tolerated us fidgety kids. I’m almost sure she despised me and a few others in our sixth grade class. How could she not help but revile a skinny Okie boy wearing wire rimmed glasses? The type of glasses only bookkeepers and undertakers wore. Looking back I do recall Miss Longnecker grabbing a kid by the throat that was mouthing off and began to choke him right there in front of about 25 other classroom kids.
This was at Freemont an elementary school near East Los Angeles. In a suburb known for its mixed ethnics. Mexican, Italian, Asian, and we Anglo Okies. None the less getting along with each other for the most part. However there were these two boys. One seemed to be my same age and the other appeared he had repeated sixth grade two or more times already. But unknown to the school officials The bigger and older boy was rumored to have driven himself most days to school and parked down the street from the school. He was about 14 or 15-years old but still under age for a drivers license. Remember this is Los Angeles near its worst. But anyway, both of them seemed to be off on their own reckless thing. One thing was to catch up with me and force me over behind the school incinerator out of sight of the adult playground monitors. Then give me a few punches in the stomach or slap me around. I don’t think they liked my cheesy wire rimmed glasses and my long skinny Okie legs while wearing my high water jeans. I must have looked like the dorky type needing some pummeling on occasion and appeared to be easy to shove around. And they were probably right. So anyway I tried my best to stay away from these marauding low-brow trouble makers. I mentioned this a time or two to Miss Longnecker but she didn’t seem to be too concerned or worried. Well then so much for that.
Then it occurred to me, I had a smaller friend here in school named Douggy who was smallish but wiry and feisty. Probably a inch or two shorter than me. But you know, he had mentioned on several occasions he was taking boxing lessons. I do recall a few weeks previous when he was confronted by some guy thinking Douggy was a bit short and could be easily taken advantage of. But much to that guys surprise Douggy with his fast action dope-slapping hands popped this guy around like a rag doll and sent him running.
In an attempt to solicit help from someone to act as my bodyguard I mentioned to Douggy these two bullies who on many occasions how they punched and slapped me and if he could help me fend them off. So he agreed. The next time the two bullies came towards me I called for Douggy and he came quickly and took both of them on. He approached them so forcefully and fast with hands flashing and slapping the two of them they didn’t know what happened. Then the two retreated in shock and took up residence in the boy’s lavatory. Douggy had done his job and the two never bothered me again. Not sure I had thanked Douggy for his expert help. As for Miss Longnecker, she was later fired and the parents of the boy Miss Longnecker choked filed a child abuse complaint with the school district.
But anyway Douggy wherever you are, God bless.