Old School Discipline

We try to get together at least once a year… The old neighborhood gang. These are the friends that i don’t remember meeting because we played together as babies.

Terri hosted a gathering recently, which consisted of us spending a few hours at her kitchen table, drinking Coors Light and bashing the best damn taco dip ever invented. And talking. About everything.

Family – Who’s dead?  How’s Mom?  Dad?  Did the foreclosure happen, or did your brother keep the house?  Cancer?  Damn… He’s young for that.

Life – Between jobs. Teaching middle school is a bitch*.  Kids buying houses.  Rehab (of both kinds).  Hair Salon politics. Husband going back to truck driving after surgery. Living single.

But my favorite category: “The Good Old Days”.

i had a glorious childhood, and the three women sitting around that kitchen table were a huge part of that…

Most disappointing moment: When Sherry informed us that she had, in fact, faked all of those slumber party trances.

daisyfae: NOOOOOO! i’ve been telling those stories for years!  “There was this one girl that we REALLY DID put into a trance! She’d act like a lamp and shit…”

Sherry: Sorry. Faked it. I’m good. Just ask my husband about that…

We talked of school days. Teachers did things in the 60’s and 70’s that would get them jailed today!  An offhand comment then = a fourth degree felony now.

The neighborhood squabbles. We’d pretty much duke it out amongst ourselves – parents were rarely aware of, let alone involved in, dispute resolution. Every summer there was some drama, and one of us would end up being held down and forced to eat a handful of grass. Or two.

daisyfae: Is it just me, or are we coddling the kids today by giving them the “bully” option? We went through all that crap, and i don’t know if any of it damaged me…

Terri: I think it thickened our skin a bit. Taught us how to deal with all the nasty people out there in the real world. We were all afraid of Tammy, though, and learning to leave the really crazy kid alone was probably an important lesson.

They asked about my sister, T. Relayed that she’s doing well – after many bumps and tribulations along the way.

daisyfae: She had a breakdown while working on her PhD. The therapists got ahold of her… rather than stick with the fundamental diagnosis of “bipoalar disorder” given by the docs, they thought there must be more causing her troubles. “She must have been abused!”  They swarmed in on the fact that we got hit with a belt on occasion by the parents.

Jenni: We ALL got hit with belts then!

Sherry: We got the paddle, or whatever my Dad had handy to throw at us.

daisyfae: Yep. It was community standards at the time. That’s what the parents in our world did back then…

Jenni:  Did you hit your kids?

daisyfae:  Yep.  But not as punishment – i’d slap a hand if they were about to stick scissors in the electrical outlet, or pop ’em on the ass if they were about to run in the street.  i figured it made sense to reinforce potentially dangerous activities with a bit of pain…

Sherry:  Me, too…  If anything, I probably should have hit my son more…

Terri:  Do you think it traumatized them?

daisyfae [snorting]:  Oh, hell!  i’ve done far worse to traumatize them!  i suspect, given a choice, that they’d have taken the damn belt…

* My favorite line from my teacher friend, Sherry: “Once school starts, I cannot smile again until January. You can show NO weakness, until the year is well underway.”