Nick Wilford is hosting the "Overcoming Adversity" bloghop where writers are invited to share stories to help raise funds to send his stepson Andrew to a specialist college. Nick has graciously offered to compile these short stories into an anthology. Thanks to Nick for all of his hard work, and best of luck to Andrew. Be sure to visit the other writers who are joining forces to help Nick's family reach their goals. This is my story.
Tales From The Back Row
Growing up I had my fair share of run-ins with bullies. Recess was always my worst part of the day. When I told the supervisors that older classmates were chasing me, and often tackling me to the ground, they just looked away. Eventually, I took matters into my own hands, and pushed a boy back. He fell on the playground, and had to have stitches. I felt empowered, but not for long.
It didn’t help that I had big buck teeth, and walked like a penguin. My own brother silently terrorized me by giving me the “buck tooth signal” at the dinner table when my parents weren’t looking. Suddenly, I would start crying, and my brother would be innocently eating his vegetables. Occasionally, my dad would just give him a whack although he never caught him in the act.
Years later, I wore braces, and practiced walking with an encyclopedia on my head which alleviated my waddle, but I was still a klutz. Then I joined the school chorus, and finally felt like I belonged.
I continued singing in junior high, and was excited to audition for my first high school play. After I was rejected, I joined the stage crew. There I was reunited with a nasty neighbor. Nothing I did was good enough, and he was hurling insults like a family member. Finally, my brother knocked on his door, and told his father that if he didn’t leave me alone, he would have no choice but to beat up his son. My brother was shorter than him, but more powerfully built. His father nodded in agreement, and they shook on it. This happened at the end of my freshman year when my brother was a senior. From that point on, the boy never bothered me again, and we even became friends.
During my sophomore year, I began taking voice lessons at school, and still had no luck. The following year, my voice teacher suggested that I perform an opera in a state competition. After I won first place, the musical director had a change of heart, and cast me in the chorus of the spring musical. I was finally going to be in my first school play, after three long years of rejection. I didn’t even mind that they stuck me in the back row, because I was tall; though I knew it was because I couldn’t dance.
Sadly, my dad never got to see me onstage. He was hospitalized before my first performance, and passed away about a month later. I’ll always remember the day I came home from school after I made the play. There was a big, shiny silver star on my bedroom door with my name written on it. When I excitedly ran to thank my mom, she was caught unaware. Next, I took a closer look at the star, and saw that the inscription was in my dad’s handwriting.
Sad but beautiful!ReplyDelete
you welcome! And thanks for stopping by my blog.Delete
I'm so sorry your father never saw you! I bet he was your biggest fan though.ReplyDelete
The play was Fiddler on the Roof, and he used to listen to me sing along with the record. Thanks Alex!Delete
Sad, but beautiful! New follower! check out my post: http://morgankatz505.blogspot.com/2013/02/overcoming-adversity-bloghop.htmlReplyDelete
Thanks for following me Morgan, and I appreciate the kind words. I look forward to reading your entry.Delete
That's a great story. Sorry your father never got to see you preform, but I had to laugh at what your brother did. That's pretty gutsy. :)ReplyDelete
He still is "pretty gutsy," and is willing to come to my defense! Thanks Stina!Delete
Bittersweet ending. I don't know why people are so cruel, but I adore the fact that you kept going despite their bullying. Well done. :)ReplyDelete
It eased up quite a bit once we stopped having recess. Things are so much worse today with cyber bullying. Thanks Luanne!Delete
It's a beautiful story. I am sure your dad saw you from another plane of existence and he is still you biggest fan.ReplyDelete
I also believe that he's looking down on me, and is very proud of his grandsons. Thanks Al!Delete
Your dad believed in you. Heartwarming. So many people have had to overcome bullying.ReplyDelete
Sadly, things have only gotten worse for kids today, but I do believe that the teachers are more supportive.Delete
I'm sure he was right in the front row rooting for you even if you couldn't see him.ReplyDelete
My dad was in the hospital then, but it would've been nice if he saw me the following year when I had a large speaking part and didn't have to dance! Thanks Delores!Delete
What a beautiful story, I always wanted to be a singer, but I God had other plans for me. I'm certian your father would have cheered you on! Wonderful post!ReplyDelete
Maybe you could start singing again. It's so easy now when you can download the words and music. Thanks J.A.!Delete
What a wonderfully moving story. I'm sure your dad was looking down at his shining star on stage. Also, kudos to you for beating the bullies and achieving your dream in the end.ReplyDelete
Thank you for taking part!
These were small incidents compared to what so many others have gone through. Thanks for hosting this wonderful blogfest Nick, and your stepson Andrew is so lucky to have you in his corner!Delete
yes this is a beautiful story and i am sure as well, that your dad was beaming with pride <3ReplyDelete
It was nice that my mom and dad came to hear my solo at the high school competition before the audition for the play. Thanks Lynn!Delete
Such a poignant story. I have a feeling your dad had the best seat in the house on opening night :)ReplyDelete
He got to hear me practice a lot which wasn't always a good thing! Thanks Carol!Delete
Lovely story Julie. Very much in the spirit of the hop, and I'm glad to have met you through it. :-)ReplyDelete
Nice to have met you too E.J.! Thanks for the kind words, and the follow!Delete
Oh, Julie, what a beautiful story. Well-written, too. (So, when are ya gonna be sending me YOUR novel to read???)ReplyDelete
What did you sing at the opera competition? I'm intrigued. Did you continue singing as an adult? (And singing in the shower doesn't count!)
It was a Hebrew song entitled "Ba'ha Menucha." I wish that we had recorded it, as I can't remember all of the words, but I think I found a condensed version of it on the Internet. I sang for a while in college when I wrote skits and songs for my sorority. Recently, I've been practicing cry-singing from Les Miserables in the shower, but I think I'm a better whistler! Thanks Susan!Delete
What a beautiful, from-the-heart story. While it was a rough start at singing at the time, your perseverance no doubt played a large part in your success today and helped shape who you are.ReplyDelete
I've always taught our sons about perseverance, and I'm very proud of the young men they've become. Thanks Mary!Delete
Oh Julie. What a beautiful story. It really resonated with me. My heart just burst with excitement at the end, when you discovered that your Dad's handwriting was on the star...ReplyDelete
Thanks for sharing!
It was a very nice gesture coming from a man who didn't usually make a fuss. Michelle, Thanks for understanding that this wasn't intended to be such a sad story.Delete
Lovely story. And so well written. Thanks for sharing.ReplyDelete
Thanks so much Angelika!Delete
Your father was smiling then and still is!ReplyDelete
My dad always thought the world of you!Delete
I have bully tales, too. I guess the old saw, "The best revenge is living well" is apt here. Because they ended up in jail.ReplyDelete
I wish I thought my father had been proud of me, though.
I think that my dad was happy for me. It made him proud when I was on the honor roll when I was also working a few nights a week. I'm sorry that you didn't have the dad you deserved, but I'm sure that it's made you a better father which is something to be very proud of. Thanks Al!Delete
P.S. I'm also proud of you for not making any wisecracks about my buck teeth!
What a touching story. I had something sort of like this happen to me. Though I wasn't tall enough to be seen in the back row ;)ReplyDelete
Other than a slight breeze, you really didn't miss much back there! Thanks Kelley Lynn!Delete
I can relate to much of your story. So glad you and your brother stopped that bully. They are just insecure cowards who pick on vulnerable people to make themselves feel superior.ReplyDelete
A beautifully written post!
Sorry that you had to deal with bullies too, but the problem has only gotten worse for so many. Yes, my brother didn't like anyone else bothering his little sister. Thanks Arleen!Delete
Sometimes kids, even adults, can be mean. I'm glad that in spite of the challenges you've encountered with thoughtless people, you went on to excel as a vocalist. Your father sounded like someone who supported you. I'm sorry that he had passed on before he could see you perform.ReplyDelete
If only they had auto-tune in those days! Maybe then I would have excelled as a vocalist. I am grateful for the time I had with my dad. Thanks so much Cynthia!Delete
Hi Julie .. life at school can certainly be difficult - but I'm so pleased you overcame to enjoy your singing. So sorry to read about your father - and I note your reply to Cynthia ... a month isn't long and we never realise the goodbye is goodbye do we ..ReplyDelete
Bullying is an unhappy and unfair environment to which many are subjected ... glad you're through and have a wonderful family .. Hilary
So true about goodbyes. I never had the chance, because it happened suddenly after he was out of the hospital. Thanks Hilary!Delete
So sorry that your Dad missed the show. But he would have been proud, no doubt!ReplyDelete
Bullies can cause so much misery, and sadly they don't always go away after high school!
My situation could have been so much worse, but I didn't realize it at the time. Thanks. Trisha!Delete
What a story. I am glad you were finally appreciated for your talent. Many times jealousy is behind the bullying. I would amaze you how THIS is one of the biggest reasons for it. I know in my many experiences of cruel people, jealousy was the cause of their issue.
What a lovely, sweet gesture by you father. That memory will always be alive and bring great joy to you every time you see a star....
There are so many deep rooted causes for bullying, and jealousy could certainly be one of them. In my case I was an easy target as a child, and the boy who harassed me for a short time in high school knew how to play on those insecurities because we grew up together. Thanks for the very kind words Michael!Delete
I read your story, and thought how touching it was that your father left his accolades for you. That is love.ReplyDelete
It was a very loving gesture from my dad at a time when people didn't often come out and say, "I love you,". Thanks Lee!Delete
Strange how bullies stay in your minds, even after years, but it sure is wonderful when things turn out okay in the end. :)ReplyDelete
I wish that my short term memory was as vivid. Thanks David!Delete
Oh my gosh, this is such a touching story, Julie. Reading about your dad's message brought tears to my eyes. I'm sorry your father never got to see you on the stage.ReplyDelete
It's two days away from Polar Night! There's no time for crying! Thanks Julie!Delete
Beautiful and touching story! Thank you. Choir class was a place of safety for me in school too. I think there is something so powerful about making music that it can make the rest of the world melt away. I'm sorry your father never got to see you on stage.ReplyDelete
This reminds of when my mom and dad were at one of our choir recitals. Afterward, my dad kept singing, "Bring In The Fern," when the name of the song was, "Be Not Afraid." I wish we sang better music like they do on Glee! I'd love to hear your choir stories! Thanks Tyrean!Delete
Aww, you made me cry. You're obviously very talented at evoking emotion. Great story.ReplyDelete
Thank you so much Mary! It was a very tough time, but we were fortunate that our mom got us through it.Delete
Oh my gosh! This has me completely emotional! I love this story. LOVE IT! And I hope that many, many people will read it, especially young ones who have to deal with bullying. I hope they know they can beat it! Be better than it!ReplyDelete
LOVE that your brother did that for you with the neighbor boy and especially love the sweet sentiment of your dad.
Amazing story. :)
I'll always be grateful that my brother stuck up for me. We really did become friends afterward, and his family even drove me to our college interviews. I hope that this does somehow help young people, and I really appreciate the wonderful opportunity that Nick has given me. Everyone who is contributing to his book is providing a story of value. I can't begin to thank you for your thoughtful encouragement Leigh! You've really made my day!Delete
you cant make that stuff up. unbelievable. tear dimmed eyes! so touching!ReplyDelete
Thanks so much Tara!Delete
That was a powerful story. So sad your father never got to see you onstage, though.ReplyDelete
We still have lots of happy memories. Thanks Golden Eagle!Delete
I hope you still have that star. I think I read this a bit different than most of your readers, as I knew you back then and am trying to figure out who was the bully.ReplyDelete
Rhonda - I don't remember most of the names in the recess group. It was more hurtful that the supervisors ignored my pleas for help. As for the one encounter in high school, we quickly made up and became friends thanks to my brother's helpful intervention.Delete
Hi Julie, I just found your blog via Elise Fallson's "She Said What?" blog hop.ReplyDelete
I wish I had seen this the day of -this- hop, as it's a great, great, story. I really liked how you never gave up.
Inspiring stuff and great blog :)
Mark, I appreciate your kind words, and thanks for following me. I look forward to getting to know you!Delete
Of course I cried at the end. My remarkable friend, so proud of you!
Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)ReplyDelete
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