Those sticks and stones….

Wow….Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop came up with a good one this week in a list of writing prompt ideas….The last time someone called you a name.


I laughed to myself and thought it would be more difficult to write about when someone didn’t call me a name! 

Let me expand on that.

First, a little self name-calling here…I tend to be a bitch.  Fairly well educated, accomplished, decent dresser, great cook but…terribly bitchy.  Hey, I’m the first to acknowledge what I am and I do it well.  I’ve earned this title!

But, harsh words coming from another direction well, that’s something else entirely.  Whether in a moment of heated discussion or any other situation, being the recipient of a nasty name can cut into your soul like a knife.  I’m guessing what hurts the most is your realization that others see you in some type of tarnished light, depending on whatever confrontation is involved.  Then again, there are people who thrive on name-calling in some effort to hold power over another.

What this brings me to are words that have stayed embedded in a corner of my mind since childhood and more than any derisive comment which has been thrown at me over the years.  Growing-up and frequently hearing “you’re just a dumb, stupid kid” from my late father have left their impact.  To this day, if I fudge some task I’m working on or make a big mistake (which happens often), his jabbing words come back like ghosts that haunt me.  Depending on the circumstance,  I’ll mutter to myself how dumb and stupid I’ve been.

Whether ignorance along with some willful bad parenting is the culprit,  calling names, in any form, leaves a lifelong hurt.   We yell at our children or call them names wrapped in negative connotations to try to get them to stop doing things we don’t like.  We make them feel bad about themselves or with whatever situation they are involved in.  And yes, I’m guilty of doing the same to my children during their formative years.  Children learn what they live and there is absolutely no excuse for perpetuating the unacceptable behaviors of one’s past.

So, the last time someone called me a name?   I did.  Just now.  Don’t ask.











Some of the most intense disagreements we find ourselves embroiled in are from being mistaken.  Misguided emotional responses to various situations can perpetuate never-ending bad feelings with others. Especially where family is concerned.

I write a great deal about how life is just too damn short to get caught in such turmoil.  Most of us feel that way, I’m guessing.  People back into their respective corners and dig their heels in to prove a point or respond to some issue that challenges them.   No room is left for forgetting…or forgiving.

These sensitive issues hit home when the holidays come around each year; a time for everyone to share joyful times and laugh at old memories while making new ones.   Sadly, many are only able to recall what once was, before disagreements became the ruling factor in precious relationships.

Again, in too many families, this scenario takes place much too often.  Comments that should never have been made or actions that were inappropriate.  Years pass by and, what was based on some errant point of view, grows into a hardened mass of separation and indifference, all because people were unable to meet in the middle and admit they were…mistaken.



From Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop….Write a blog post inspired by the word: mistaken. 


24 Maple Avenue…..

Built in the 1920’s, it served as an elementary school for parishioners and for those wanting their children in a parochial educational environment. The lunchroom was in the building basement/gymnasium and as children were led down flights of stairs, asbestos-wrapped pipes were visible everywhere.  The halls were dark, almost foreboding, somewhat intimidating for a small child, outfitted in the required uniform of a stiff blue jumper and starchy white blouse; sweaters were allowed during the colder months but had to be blue in color.  Nothing was allowed that deviated from an almost military type of dress code.  Education came with intense regimentation. 



The faculty was comprised of nuns.  Ursuline, in fact.  They were regarded as the upper echelon of nunnery, all focused on teaching children art and music…aside from the endless catechism drills and recitations.  But, no matter what order any of these holy women came from, all were well-schooled in corporal punishment and they could descend upon you, without warning, leaving the sting of a ruler or long black belt strap as their calling card.



Students in attendance were mainly from Irish families. I was not one. Those of us with mixed heritage (Italian, British, German, etc.) were dealt with accordingly by our classmates.   Nuns knew everyone’s family business and made it a point to include personal issues in daily prayers.  I was a major beneficiary of such litanies, both to God and every virtuous person classified as a saint, mainly because my father was not Catholic.  I think that by the time 8th grade came around every possible prayer had been exhausted.  So did the end of my elementary tour-of-duty.




Our school janitor, a dedicated and hard-working man, had a large family with at least six, maybe eight children.  One morning as we trudged into our 4th grade classroom, our teacher informed us that this man had died while sitting in his chair, reading his newspaper.  She told us not to be sad and had us pray that the Angel of Death would come to each of our parents and take them to Heaven in the same way.   Her point was well-taken. The next day, almost 40 parents of the 52 students in our class demanded to see the school principal after dealing with hysterical children and their outbursts the night before.


My elementary school experience took place in very different times. Authority then was never questioned.  Still, as young students, we did learn and there was never a gray area of discussion on anything that took place inside school walls.  Some memories were good but the bad ones still aren’t easily forgotten. 



From Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop….Share a memory about your elementary school.



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