A phone call came at about 11:00 am from the school, asking how I was.
“He’s got a sore throat and mild fever.” My mother informed the school secretary. “Might be in tomorrow, maybe a few days…. you know how it is with these things…”
A rumor had circulated at school that I had been “hit by a truck”. No one was sure how it started, but it was all over the school.
My mother and I were at a loss as to how something like this could have happened. The only logical explanation was that my sister Lorrie – six years my senior – had said something.
The bus dropped her off at the usual time in the afternoon, she came in the door to see my mother and I pretending to look angry, arms crossed, tapping our feet, big, comedic, disapproving frowns on our faces.
“……………….. what-?” She asked. She had no idea what had been going on at my school, as she was going of Hudson High School but using the same bus as me (edited Mar. 2013).
She said that she was talking to her friends on the morning bus ride when one of my cohorts asked her where I was. She turned to the kid who was, like me, six years younger, and brusquely told him “He got hit by a truck.”, her voice, she said, full of the “well, where do you THINK he is?” sarcasm that the occasion called for.
“I mean; ‘D’uh! – where do you think he is?’ sort of thing. y’know.” she said.
“Everyone thinks i am dead or in the hospital!” I told her. We all had a good laugh.
Until the next day, where, on the bus and at school, kids teased and made fun, voicing their vehement disappointment at my ongoing survival and/or lack of serious injury. Kids told me – in no uncertain terms – that they had been thrilled to hear that I had been hurt or possibly killed, and were now none-too-pleased about my presence at school that day.
It is not that often, I suppose, that a child of that age gets to really think about the concepts of being dead, not being in the world anymore, and who would – or would not care about it.
Back then, there was no “psychological counseling” beyond “suck it up!” so this problem went untreated as my school career and the bullying continued.