The bully in my life was my father. Sure, there were kids around my own age who tried to make life hell for others, and me, but I could deal with them. My father was a different challenge. He was much bigger and stronger than I was.
If “dear old dad” had a bad day at work, my younger brother, (five years younger), and I would have to hide, or make ourselves nearly invisible, or find things to do outside, away from the house. We would do that rather than run the risk of somehow causing him to notice either of us. If we did anything to rasp against his “inner rules,” the ones we did not know about, we would be in for it.
He would fly into a rage, whip off his belt, and begin flailing at us. However, it was not with the flat of the belt, but with the edge. He had learned that the edge of the belt inflicted more pain. I suppose he learned that from his own father.
His rages could and did occur at the kitchen table, where the four of us ate our meals. My brother and I routinely suffered beatings for not “cleaning our plate.” If our mother prepared a food that my brother and I did not like, the belt would fly into action. It was not fun getting a flailing with that belt.
Sometimes, there were other instruments of torture. There was an oversized ping-pong paddle, with holes cut into it for better aerodynamics. He liked to use a dried apricot twig, about two feet long. It looked like an officer’s swagger stick, only it had nubs all over it. They hurt like hell. There was a two-foot section of washing machine hot water hose. There was a two-foot flexible rubber hose. However, the most immediate weapon was his belt.
Incidentally, my brother and I made all of those weapons disappear. If he used one of those weapons on us, it would go missing a few days later. That really must have upset him
To this day, I despise cooked zucchini, and, lima beans. About 15 years ago, I finally conditioned myself to eat asparagus, but just lightly blanched tips. My mother fancied herself as a great cook, and maybe she was, but, she cooked the life out of most vegetables. Actually, I enjoy eating quickly blanched, nearly raw asparagus, with ranch dressing.
From about 1952 to about 1960, there were almost daily beatings. Not only were there beatings, there was verbal abuse. Our father was a journey level machinist, so he had some smarts. I do not know if he graduated from high school, and I know he did not attend college. He was a very profane man, who used curse words; I suppose to make himself sound important. Maybe swearing at others made him feel better about himself. He would call us names, swear at us, and let us know that we were stupid or dumb.
My last beating occurred when I was 18, in 1960. I decided that I had enough of his mean treatment. When he was going after my brother for some imagined transgression, I tapped my father on his shoulder. He whirled around and started to come at me with his anger and violence. I held up my hand to imply STOP. I told him as calmly as I could that if he ever beat my brother or me again, that I would kill him. I would wait until he was asleep, and then I would slit his throat with a butcher’s knife from the kitchen.
He looked at me strangely, as if he could barely believe that I would say such a thing. It stopped his rage, and, he never beat either of us again. It was about two weeks later, that he decided to move out of our house. A few months later, our parents got a divorce.
For my brother and me, it was good riddance to a real bully.