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Jack R Roberts

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Member Since: Before 2003

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White Socks
By Jack R Roberts
Tuesday, December 03, 2002



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My memory sometimes takes me back to the summer of 1967. Summer vacation in my opinion was the greatest time of the year, with the exception of Christmas of course. But the joy of summer seemed to fade away as the new school year drew near. I learned very early that going to school was not going to be my calling in life. I didn’t like going to school, and I can remember my mother just being thankful that I at least passed to go on to the next grade. I am proud to say that I never let her down in that regard.

Even though I hated school, the start of the new school year was an exciting time for me, as Mom would always take us shopping for new school clothes. In 1967 I was going into the eighth grade and I can vividly remember my new wardrobe. My Mom bought me three button up shirts, two pairs of black pants, white tee shirts, a package of new under ware, a package of white socks, and a pair of black leather tie up shoes. We also went and bought my new school supplies, which was always a good time. I remember a brand new three ring binder, Paper for it, dividers with the different colored plastic tabs to separate the different classes, and of course pencils and pens. I couldn’t wait to get home to try on my new clothes.

I got home and headed straight to the bedroom, tore the packaging off of my new clothes and started evolving into an eighth grader. Once I had changed I went to the mirror to admire my new duds. I had chosen a light blue shirt to go with my black pants, and those new black shoes did shine. But to me, the best part was the shimmering white socks. They shined like diamonds between the black pants and shoes. I was at the height of all my glory.

School started that next week and I took my time getting dressed so that everything looked just right. I went to the kitchen, had a bowl of cereal, and then Mom drove us on to school. Mom dropped me off and I started towards the door. Eighth grade seemed to be the time for me that I became conscience of how I looked. Not so much that I looked nice but rather that I looked like the other kids looked. I guess you could say I wanted to fit in. And now I looked like all the “cool” kids did last year. The stage was set, I was at the door and ready to make my entrance.

I entered the school and started down the hall just as proud as a peacock. Then the other kids saw me and indeed I was the center of attention, but it wasn’t as I thought it would be. My prideful attitude was shattered when the first words I heard was “ Look at those goofy looking white socks! “. I was devastated. “ Hey White Sox” one kid yelled, and from another one, “ Look at the Farmer! “, and every word loud enough to be heard over the roar of laughter. With my face red as a beet, I hung my head low as I walked through the crowd of boys and girls that was my peers.

As I passed through the crowd I noticed that every boy there was wearing black socks. It seemed that something had happened during the course of the summer, and the white socks that were so “cool” last year, were now only good for making you someone to laugh at and make fun of. I made it through the rest of the day with nothing but my feelings hurt, and though the comments didn’t stop, I did survive until the next payday when mom could buy me some black sox.

I like to tell my kids this story, and they, as most people are when they read it, are saddened by the torment that their Dad went through over nothing more than the color of his socks. But the reason I tell it is not to seek pity, but rather to show how foolish and cruel people can be. You see, there is more to this story. For there was a girl in my class that was made fun of more than can be imagined. She was very unattractive, very poor, and without going into details had a very hard home life. She would walk down the hall and kids would walk way around her to avoid her, while at the same time making comment. Although I’m ashamed that I probably talked and joked about her among friends, I don’t recall ever making fun of her that she knew it, and I am thankful for that. Her school life was a miserable one and she later just quit school all together.

I am haunted to this day of this girl’s story, and by the way that she was treated in school. How sad it must have been for her back then. And it shames me that even though I knew what it was like to be made fun of, that I may have had a part in it. If I could turn back the hands of time and change but one thing in those days, it would not be to wear black sox instead of white on that first day of school, but rather in some way, to be a friend to this girl. What I want my kids to always remember when they read this story, is not how their dad was made fun of back then. What I want them to remember is the fact that not everyone in this world is fortunate enough to be able to solve their problems as simply as changing the color of their socks.


Jack Roberts – July - 2002


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Reviewed by Sandra Corona 2/24/2003
Jack,
Good story and a point well taken. People often say 'children are cruel' but 'children do as they are taught'. Thank you for teaching us the 'right' way to 'teach' our children. I, too, hope the little girl turned out okay. I did :)!
Love,
Sandy
Reviewed by Janet Terry 1/4/2003
Hi Jack,

Just like many others I can relate to this story. School can be cruel and so bad that some of us just want to block it out for ever. You are a smart man. You learn from your experiences.
Reviewed by Kate Clifford 12/9/2002
I hope the people that need to read this and to learn from it drop by your port. This write if we are lucky might help another unwanted soul to have perhaps at least one happy day. You are a generous soul that has learnt a lot through your experiences and your children and others will benifit from this. Great write.
Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 12/4/2002
jack, i was teased unmercifully, too. i was teased because i was "slow" and i was smaller than a lot of the kids; i was also teased because of my last name (which i hate to this very day). i'll never forget the pain i endured. but jesus will help me; i am grateful for that, and he CAN erase the memories if i let him do so! thanks for sharing this heartbreaking write! love, your friend, karen lynn. (((HUGS))) :(



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