Frances and the Bully

Frances watched as Roberta ambled her way across the playground, quite apparently enjoying the fear that came across the other children’s faces as her shadow crossed their path. Stopping every now and then to stomp on a sand castle, Roberta finally reached her target: Catherine, Frances’ younger sister.
Frances’ hands clenched into tight fists by her sides as she watched Roberta snatch Catherine’s doll from her hands and throw it on the ground. For weeks now, Roberta had been casually tormenting Catherine this way, and Frances had had enough. She marched across the playground, the bow on top of her head bobbing with every step. One way or another, she was going to put a stop to this.

Roberta didn’t know what had hit her. One moment she was standing and the next she was flat on her back, staring up at the blue sky. A moment later the air whooshed out of her lungs as a weight settled on her chest, and Frances’ angry face loomed over her.

Taking fistfulls of Roberta’s curly hair, Frances said, “You leave my sister alone!”, punctuating each word by banging Roberta’s head against the hard ground.

With that, Frances pushed herself to her feet and straightened her pinafore, glaring once more at Roberta before whirling around and stalking away to go comfort Catherine.

Roberta slowly sat up and rubbed her aching head. She never bothered Catherine again.


This little anecdote is based on a true story about my grandmother. As the story goes, a girl at school had been picking on my Great Aunt Catherine, and my grandmother (Frances) had had enough. So, she did exactly what my story describes, and the girl never did bother Catherine again. My grandmother is now almost 98 and is every bit as spunky as she was on that playground in the early 1900’s!


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