Bobby's Blog, Page 2

Mom and Dad don’t know how I get picked on at school. I’m too ashamed to tell them or my friends around the neighborhood. I can’t understand why the kids at school pick on me so much and around here everyone likes me. I just pray that I’m in the room with all my friends this year. In fourth and fifth, I was the only kid from my neighborhood not to be. I don’t know why I have such bad luck. I hope they don’t put me back in with the same kids as the last two years. I thought about asking mom to ask Mother Alice Michael to put me in with my friends, but then I would have to tell her why. I just can’t.

We played tackle down the rec today. Our side won! I’ll miss summer and stickball, but I like football too, and I’m pretty good at catching the ball. It’s a lot bigger than a pimple ball! And I like the way the air feels in the fall when it starts to get cooler.

Mom gave me a new Hardy Boys as a going back to school present. I can’t wait to start it! I finished all the ones John had. He’s too big for them now.

At least we only have a half day tomorrow.

[Editor's note:  The "rec" is short for recreation center and was where Bobby and his friends played tackle [football] on the grass in autumns through most of their childhoods. They had no equipment, including helmets. It seems miraculous in retrospect that no serious injuries ever occurred, though a lot of cuts and bruises were inevitable, of course.

A pimple ball was a white, rubber ball with several protrusions on it that helped balance it in flight; hence the name. The ball was a staple of city boyhood then. It was used in stickball (and variations of it) as well as a host of innovative games that city kids dreamed up to be played within the limited space available in their mostly rowhouse neighborhoods.

As noted within "Pride's Prison," John is Bobby's older brother, then age 14 and starting high school.]

—September 6, 1966, Tuesday:  School started today. I’m back in the room with all the kids who picked on me last year. All my friends are in the same room together like last year. Why do I have such bad luck? Sometimes I think the school does it on purpose! My homeroom and English teacher is Sister Mary Peter. I don’t know her. I think she’s new at St. Matt’s. She said she is from Delaware and worked in an orphanage there for a long time. She looks old and seems grouchy and she talks funny. The kids didn’t do anything to me yet, but I’m scared. I think this is going to be another bad year for me.

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