When I was a little girl, my family moved from the big city of Chicago to the tiny town of Glenrock, Wyoming. My Daddy was a truck driver and he previously traveled through Wyoming before setting his sights on it. He wanted to raise his two lovely daughters outside of the hustle and bustle of the big city. Our house was on South Monkey Road in Rolling Hills, a rural community outside of Glenrock. My dad began working at Glenrock Coal Mine. He bought us a Shetland pony that we named Cinnamon Brown Sugar Little Bits. My older sister, Liane, was afraid of the horse so he loved me the most. Every morning we hiked down our long driveway, waving goodbye frantically to my mom, where we waited for the school bus to pick us up and take us down the hill to school.
One time Liane became ill with the chicken pox. She had to stay home for a few days and I had to ride the school bus without my sister’s protection. I was absolutely petrified. I always sat in the back of the bus. I was tiny and blonde wearing a flattering purple sweater vest with matching corduroy pants and pigtails. An older mean girl — we will call her “Jen” — took the opportunity to harass and bully me, and I was too scared to react.
Since my sister was absent, the bus driver forgot about me and forgot to drop me off at my stop, so I wound up riding along while he dropped off the other kids first. Jen was the last one to drop off. She laughed at me, pulled my hair, poked me and grabbed my stuff. She was a total brat!
Conveniently the bus driver didn’t witness Jen’s behavior and did nothing to stop her. I went home that night and cried to my family. My parents were not happy and instructed me to inform the bus driver immediately if Jen bothered me again. The second day Liane was sick, the bus driver again forgot to drop me off and again Jen came to the back of the bus to harass me. I told her to leave me alone. This time the bus driver witnessed the bullying, but he didn’t do anything. That night, I cried again, harder.
My dad was enraged that the bus driver was missing my stop and sitting idle when Jen approached me on the bus. He comforted me and listened while I described what a horrible, wretched girl Jen was. He advised me to fill up my I Love Lucy! lunch box up with rocks on the playground before getting on the bus after school. A Lunchbox full of granite might make Jen think twice about messing with me! My mom spoke of calling the school. Liane assured me she’d be back on the bus soon to protect me.
So, I gathered my gumption, braced myself for the wrath of Jen, and stashed my chocolate snack pack in my backpack so my lunch box would be ready to fill. That afternoon I sat in my usual seat at the back of the bus. The bus driver “forgot” to drop me at my stop, so I rode along on the bus looking out into the pastures, patiently awaiting for Jen to saunter to the back of the bus. I saw her stand up and head my way, so I too, stood up on legs made of Jello. Jen reached out for me and pushed me down. I fell backward onto my butt with a hard thud. She laughed. I jumped up, grabbed my lunchbox and swung it as hard as my tiny frame would allow and smacked Jen square in her face.
Triumph at last! Jen looked at me, tears filling her eyes as she held her freshly pink face flabbergasted. Instantly I knew I was in trouble. The bus driver hollered at us to sit down. We did so glaring at each other, my eyes now filling up with tears as well. The bus driver informed us to go home and tell our parents because he would be making a report. I had no idea what my folks were going to say, but I didn’t even care. It’s all kind of a blur after that. I believe my parents were called into the principal’s office. Jen and I had to apologize to each other and shake on it. My sister made a fuss calling me a tough girl. I think my mom was a little upset with my Dad for his advice, but I couldn’t help but feel proud for sticking up for myself. Jen has been nothing but sweet to me ever since. Oh, and I did get the chicken pox ten days later.