When I was growing up, I like many kids growing up the late 70’s and 80’s, I was bullied at one point or another. I grew up in a rural town on the outskirts of El Paso Texas, it was somewhat isolated and our school district was small but that didn’t mean there weren’t bullies, either home grown or from another town. When I was growing up my parents had friends that ran in the same social circles, especially since my dad played baseball on countless weekend teams. So on a number of occasions our weekends were spent with families from other teams watching our dads play baseball and then drink afterwards, while the mom’s would pack lunches or take enough supplies for everyone to gather together after the game and have one giant cookout.
But more than a few of my parents friends weren’t the nicest people, and even their kids showed signs of growing up in the same behavior, I mean come on apple, tree what can I say right? One of these baseball couples that were not only friends of my parents they were “compades” which meant they were with them when my parents got married, like the best man and maid of honor. This family lived two and half miles from where we did, in the town next to ours called Clint. It was literally down the road from our house, a straight line into a completely different town, economically, socially and in attitude as well. Clint was a farm town, with rich white farm owners, which in turn meant they had a socioeconomic say in how their town grew, what boundaries they set and how their kids acted. So, everyone that went to school in that school district believed that anyone from my hometown or the town nine miles away (Fabens) were beneath them.
I’m not exaggerating when I say this, there was an attitude of social disparity that came with living within the boundaries of our own communities, all perpetuated by economic backgrounds and financial status. Spending many summers with this particular family I became, not so much friends with the girls of this couple but acquaintances trying to knockout hours of boredom while our dads played baseball and our mothers gossiped under the shades of the baseball park. We played, talked about school, friends and even a couple of time spent the night with each other. But as we grew older there was a divide, our attitudes changed towards each other and neither of us would be caught dead hanging out with one another.
It didn’t help that my mom’s friend Bertha would criticize me in front of my mom and say things like “So are you going to get those teeth of hers fixed? Because she’ll never find a husband looking like that” and of course I couldn’t say anything because I’d get slapped or told to shut the fuck up. Meanwhile Hortense had cute freckles, hazel eyes, blonde hair and she looked like goddamned Shirley Temple! I was dark haired, very light skinned and my eyes were plain old brown. My disdain for my mother’s friend grew as I got older. When I got pregnant she came to my baby shower and I overheard her telling my mom “Oh well at least you’ll have tons of grand-kids and not worry about her needing to find a job because she’ll be at home or working part time as a lunch lady.” I was furious and I walked up to my mom after this bitch had walked away and asked her why she hadn’t defended me?
All my mother did was say “Why? She’s right, what are you going to do with your life now that you’re pregnant? You won’t graduate high school, you won’t do anything” I could feel hatred for my mother beginning to roll and boil in the pit of my stomach. I think that’s the day I emotionally cut my mom off, I just hadn’t learned to deal with her narcissism until recently. Anyway back to my story of karma, as teenagers, getting older the animosity seemed to grow and get more odious as time went by. My parents would often go and visit their friends in Clint and would ask if I’d like to go along to go to see (I’m going to call her Hortense, because I know she’d hate that name). I would say no because I no longer wanted to hang out with Hortense and I’d stay behind. Hortense was my age, but she acted like she was older, and told me so on numerous occasions. A power play of course to intimidate me, but it was only an attempt I knew how old she was. Each of our towns would hold a Fiesta or carnival for our church’s patron saint every summer, Clint’s would be in August and San Eli’s would be in September. It almost always rained during their carnival which to me was our patron saint pissing karma on their so called parade. And like normal teenagers we’d attend each of the carnivals/fiestas to scope out each other as rivals and to meet new people, you know see if the grass was really greener. Well not for them as we were mudcats and they were……well pretentious assholes.
My friends and I would often be confronted by the “rich” girl gangs and on occasion we’d end up in a fights. One of the times it rained so hard that I came home covered head to toe in mud, and my mom asked me what happened and I told her. She was actually shocked that I’d told her the truth, I mean why would I lie? After a hot shower and some food our phone rang and low and behold it was my mom’s friend from Clint. She bitched and complained that my friends and I had “jumped” her sweet innocent little Hortense and she was consoling her because apparently she came home with a black eye and bloody nose. In my defense it was an all-out brawl, there were about eight of us and nine of them, and we all began to swing at the same time. In the rain and mud I had no clue who I was hitting or who was hitting me, all I knew was if I was going to go down, I was going to go down swinging. But before it all began Hortense and I had a few choice words for each other, all because of her stupid big mouth little sister, who I’ll call Helga, because the bitch was ugly as fuck and she looked like a Helga.
Helga and I had seen each other during the carnival and she came up to me and my friends and said “Hi Huntress, my sister thinks you’re an ugly bitch and your parents are stupid poor.” No shit that’s what that fat, ugly waste of space said, my friend Toni (Antonietta) got up close to her and said “Oh really where’s your sister now? And why doesn’t she come and tell her to her face?” Helga by this point was shitting bricks, Toni was not someone to mess with, and the rest of my friends joined in the taunting making this little bitch cry. Now for the record, my parents weren’t poor, we as a family were well off, more so than many of the rich bitch kids in Clint. Both my parents worked and they only had two kids, so they could afford to buy us pretty much what we wanted or needed. The only difference was I was from the wrong side of the tracks, metaphorically speaking, because I lived in San Eli instead of Clint. So I told Helga that I never had to wear hand my downs like she did, I didn’t have to play with used toys like she did, nor did I have to worry about money because my mom worked unlike her mother. I may have mentioned that her mom was a lazy bitch and that’s why they were poorer than we were. I also threw in there that we had two cars and we didn’t have to flip a coin to see which parent was going to use it.
That was enough to make Helga cry, and before me and my friends knew it, her uglier sister and her gang of rich bitch friends came looking for me and mine and all hell ensued. Knee deep in mud and swinging like inmates in a prison riot. As I dried my hair with a bath towel my mom yelled at me to come to the kitchen and then she handed me the phone, without saying a word she just handed me the phone, like I was supposed to know what or who I was talking to. All I heard on the other end of the line was Hortense’s mother going off on me, and I was caught off guard. I looked at my mom in complete disbelief, why didn’t she defend me?
Why did she let this idiot woman yell at me when I wasn’t the one that started all of this? Why was she just standing there listening in on the other phone, when all I could do was stay quiet? I was engulfed in anger both at my stupid mother for not defending me and at that idiot Hortense for lying about what happened. If it had been me, I would have told my mom “Yeah I got my ass kicked because of my big mouth” like when I did one day after school when I fought Carmen Almanzar, we called her Grape Ape because she was huge, albino looking and mean as hell. Anyway I took responsibility for that day, but I suppose I knew that Hortense wouldn’t because she was a spineless chicken shit. I hung up the phone mid-scolding and Hortense’s mother yelled at my mom as to why I had hung up. My mom yelled at me to pick up the phone and I kept walking into my room.
It wasn’t enough to be bullied at school, and by girls in another town, as well as their idiot parents. I also had to go through that shit with my own mother, she was always comparing me to her friend’s daughters, how beautiful they were, how smart they were, how devoted they were to their mothers. How so-and-so’s daughter got into college, how so-and-so’s daughter didn’t get pregnant at sixteen and so on. That day was burned into my mind, and I suppose my soul because of my mother and her actions. But somehow karma came when I least expected it to, fast forward twenty some odd years to present day. I had taken my mother to one of her doctor’s appointments and who do we run into? My mother’s friend from Clint and her ugly and now fat as hell daughter Hortense.
I had to drop my mom off at the door to the doctor’s office so I could go find a parking space, I had left work half day so I was still dressed in my two piece Ralph Lauren business suit, high heels and pearls (yes I know I sound pretentious but there is a point to this, and yes this is how I dress for work every day).
As I made my way into the waiting room, my mom yells out “Mija, I’m right here! Look who’s here, Bertha and Hortense” Hortense looked at me up and down like I was a life-size T-bone steak, which by the looks of it, she could eat in one bite. Her mother looked at me the same way, but I…..I was thinking of that day back in 1984 when this stupid bitch and her mother caused all kinds of hell for me. Bertha stuck her hand out to shake mine as she asked “Oh how are you?” I looked at my mom, beaming with pride and it nauseated me. Now, now my mother was proud of me, in spite of the fact that I got pregnant at sixteen, I shamed her forever (her words not mine). Now she proudly laid claim to me, as her daughter because now, I was successful, now I had my bachelors and master’s degrees, now I was financially independent and now I was the daughter she wanted back when I was only thirteen or fourteen years old.
My mother turned to Bertha and told her I worked at a prominent university, that I had gotten my bachelor’s and master’s in spite of being divorced (this sounded like an insult to me) and that I was house hunting and planned to go on an Alaskan cruise and take her with me (complete and total lie, I’d never go on a cruise with my narcissistic mother). Hortense on the other hand looked like she was uncomfortable, and she looked like she weighed about 250 lbs. and I had just lost 32 pounds, was working out and looked absolutely great compared to Hortense. Again I have nothing against the fluffy people in this world, but this bitch was one of many of my mother’s friend’s daughters I was constantly compared to. And most of them didn’t like me because of where I grew up, so I thought, fuck it! By this time Bertha had gotten tired of holding her hand out so I could shake it, which of course I didn’t.
In any case the awkward moment kept going on for what seemed like hours. Bertha finally said to my mom, in Spanish “Well what? Your daughter isn’t going to say hi?” I looked at both these pathetic women and said to my mom “Mom, let’s sit over here closer to the window, there’s too much riff-raff over on this side of the waiting room.” I took my mom’s hand and began to lead her to the other side of the waiting room. As my mom got up, she looked stunned and I whispered to her “Just do what I say and shut up.” I had to talk to her like that because she’s the kind of person that would make a scene.
As my mom walked away Bertha said “How rude, you haven’t changed a bit” and I looked back at her and said “Oh yes I have bitch, because now I can tell you AND your fat ass daughter to go to hell and mean it. I don’t need my mothers permission to do so either, or be afraid of what she say’s or thinks, so both of you can fuck off!” they looked shocked and never saw that coming. I said what I said because I knew her daughter turned out to disappoint in bigger ways than I ever could have. My mother had no expectations of me after I got pregnant, her mother gloated that Hortense would go to college, become a lawyer, walk on the moon, marry John Cusack, blah, blah, blah. Instead what happened was, she married a mudcat, a guy from MY hometown, something Hortense’s mother never wanted, she always warned her to stick to boys in her side of the tracks. Also Hortense never went to college, she never accomplished any of the things her mother told my mother she would do.
She had three kids with this guy, then he cheated on her, they divorced and she’s a cafeteria lunch lady in the elementary school IN MY HOMETOWN!! Maybe what I did was childish and maybe I could have gone about handling that situation better. But I did what I did and I don’t regret it one fucking bit. I had done way more than all of them ever thought I would, including my mom. I knew that all my accomplishments since my divorce were mine and mine alone. Even my mother can’t take credit, and believe me she’s tried and I’ve quickly put that shit to rest, but on that day it was all me. As my mother slowly walked to the chairs I had pointed out in the waiting room, I looked back and Hortense and her mother were whispering to each other and that’s when I flipped those two bitches from the so-called “right side of the tracks” off in the classiest way possible, and I did it with the biggest smile on my face.
After we left, my mother asked me why I was so rude to her friend, I reminded her that Bertha wasn’t really her friend, which she would constantly put her down not to mention that that bitch would bully me and my mom wouldn’t set her straight. I told her that I would overhear their conversations sometimes as a kid, she didn’t say anything. I also reminded her about what both of them did to me that day after the mud fight, which of course my mom said to me “Ay that was so long ago you can’t possibly still hold a grudge for that.” I responded with “Oh hell yes I can, and today I did what I wanted to do back then. Because you didn’t do it, you just let her talk down to me when I was a kid” she sat in silence as I drove her home and believe me it’s hard for my mother to stay silent.
So, if I have to surmise karma did me a favor that day or should I say over the last twenty-five years or so because this woman and her seemingly over hyped, over weight daughter ended up right where they least expected, tied to someone from the wrong side of the tracks and emotionally pistol whipped by the sharp, fork-tongued daughter of a friend they had low or no expectations from. And for those who are wondering, yes it felt fucking great. Yes, I could have just been the perfect daughter my mother always wanted but as the singer Pink once said “I got a brand new attitude, and gonna wear it tonight, I wanna get in trouble I wanna start a fight!”
This is the Huntress915 until next time.