Bullyland, Part I

As a pious Catholic boy, I had never received lessons on how to deal with bullies.

IN WHICH I  deal with one type of bully.

Ex-marine sergeant and Troop 16 scoutmaster George Murray strutted four patrols away from the one I was in, Patrol 7. Its leader, tall, lanky, wiry Paul “Gussie” Gusterton, was frantically trying to button the collar of his uniform. If he failed at that, he wouldn’t be able to attach his neckerchief properly. It would look . . . sloppy. And there would be consequences . . . .

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“. . . the Twist, the Stomp, the Mash Potato too . . .”

Chris Montez1 had it right. “Any old dance that you wanna do.” When I was 13 at Holton-Richmond Junior High2, attending class in wooden desks with dried-up ink wells, I used to go to the school dances that happened third Friday each month. They were called “mixers,” because that’s what the girls and boys were supposed to do. Mix with adults gaping on. Of course not many of us did. The concept of a sock hop, with minimal supervision and an outta sight disk jockey, was yet to be in Danvers, Massachusetts.

Teen Dancer (photographer unknown)

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