Stolen Horses and Baby Rattlers – The Anatomy of a Bully – Part 4

This is all leading up to the summation of Old Jules’ Unified Bullying Theory. 

Hopefully this will be my last buildup segment before trying to summarize something I’d call a theory about bullying, supported by the interactions of animals here and childhood memories that included plenty on the subject.

My childhood friend, Keith, was reflecting on how he remembered the two of us as kids recently when we met in Fredericksburg.  Fiddle-Footed Naggings and Songs of the Highway.  This pretty well dated Keith’s first clear recollections of me to the sophomore year of high-school, though we’d actually been in classes together since the 4th grade.  He remembered the two of us as being a couple of nerds, getting pushed around a lot. 


What I’m riding there just about says anything needs saying.  That kid I was at that stage of my life was no bully in the making.

The picture with my two sisters might be about the time I was getting chased home by Floren and his brothers.  At that point there was nobody I was likely to bully.  Anyone can see the kid needs chasing home and a few beatings on the way can’t do anything but help. 

But by the time this picture was taken I was hanging out at the school cafe with the Lindsey kids, smoking, and everyone knowing who was tougher than whom else.  In those days any kid who could ride bareback was probably in danger of doing some bullying, too.  I’m guessing all those kids from Lindsey Grade School could ride bareback.  

I was bareback because the horse was stolen, though the person taking the picture almost certainly didn’t know it.

I was keeping three hogs for an FFA project in one of the buildings in the background, though the place was otherwise abandoned.  I kept the horse there a couple of weeks before things got too hot, then took it out to the dirt road between this place and the neighborhood I was living in and slapped it on the rump to run it off.  But the owner and authorities had already decided it hadn’t just strayed.   A while later that picture glued me to the missing horse.

Sometimes I still wonder how the family adults could have been so damned stupid in those days.  Where the hell did they THINK I got that horse?  On the other hand, a copy of the picture became a small piece of a lot more damning evidence of how I’d been spending my adolescent years.  By the time I was caught it filled up a corner of the Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office. 

Somewhere between this picture and the one above it things went south.  Coincidentally, I was attending Central Grade School when the picture was taken, where I considered everyone rich kids, which they weren’t.  But two years in a row I had teachers famous for their bullying. 

One, the fifth grade teacher, gave me a spanking in front of the class at least once every day that year.  Me, and any other kids who admitted when they were asked the first day of classes whether their parents would give them a whipping at home if they were told they got one in school.   I didn’t realize until a couple of decades later it was a ruse to find out which kids wouldn’t tell their parents what was happening.

I used  to want to go back to the graveyard in that town and spit and puke on his grave until a lot later in life than you might guess.

That’s me on the right at the pinnacle of my hellion/bullying times.  Even that snake and the baby rattlers we found got me into a peck of trouble.  Within a couple of months of the time this picture was taken I was being held in the Roosevelt County Jail for a couple of weeks waiting for them to decide whether I needed to get the rest of my education at the State Boys Reformatory at Springer, New Mexico.

They decided to keep me around on juvenile probation instead.   That ended the bullying completely.  If I’d looked sideways at anyone, or let myself get provoked into a fight I’d have been in Springer in a heartbeat.  It was open season on me for anyone who felt the urge to kick someone around, and there was no shortage of those who did. 

Here’s a year later while I was working with Kurtiss and some other youngsters for Skeeter Jenkens.    A Sobering View of Y2K

That fall would be the school year Keith almost certainly remembers.  Just another nerd.  A peaceful, inconspicuous nerd doing his best to stay out of reform school.  Midway through the Junior year it was clear I had to get out of that town, and I did.  Nobody at all was sorry to see me gone.

The next bullying post is going to pull all this together with the animal bullying into Old Jules Unified Bullying Theory.

Old Jules



15 responses to “Stolen Horses and Baby Rattlers – The Anatomy of a Bully – Part 4

  1. I am enjoying the chronicles ; anatomy of a bully
    each person is a book and a lot of times we never get to hear their stories, this is a ‘jewel’/ gem of a tale (~_~) or should I have spelt it ‘Jules’….?

  2. Jules, this was an entertaining read, but I doubt it’s a fond remembrance. I suppose most everybody goes through some bullying at some point of their lives, but some go through way more than others. Some are able to get past it, other don’t.

    We’ve never met, so I’m not going to presume to know what kind of impact, say, getting thrashed by a mephistophelian teacher on a daily basis had on you. From personal experience, I can say it probably wasn’t positive. I had the pleasure of spending two years at a Catholic school where corporal punishment was handed out with a regularity that would have made Torquemada rubs his hands together with glee.

    But, in an effort to make the best of a bad situation, I’ve since pondered whether my early experiences have helped make me a better person in terms of how I related to those who are weaker. From the lack of compassion I received, I understand better how crucial compassion is to a person’s well-being.

    Your writing tells me you learned a thing or two about the human condition, as well.

    • Morning Cotton Boll Conspiracy. I agree with your next-to-last paragraph particularly. I’m grateful for my childhood and everything about it, though it took a lot of years before I came to that. When I exited that town I was a rage-filled, cold-blooded, dangerous human being. Without a lot of luck my life would have gone an entirely different direction and I fully appreciate that the luck wasn’t my doing.

      But I like to think I eventually became something a lot nearer to what a human being ought to be as a result of it all. And I’ve a strong suspicion without every element of my past I’d have been something entirely different. Thanks for the visits, the observations, and the kind words you posted on your blog. Gracias, Jules

  3. Jules, it’s not egotism when you give the best you know. Precious few of us know ourselves in the first place, so when someone who does have a measure of self understanding tells their story, it’s just like a cool drink of sweet well water on a West Texas summer day. Some people in this world are worth getting to know.

  4. So after probation was over, what kept you from going back to bullying?

    • It’s a worthy question, El Guapo, and the answer’s not entirely simple. First off, I left and spent the next school semester in Dallas, a new kid where the pecking order was well established before I got there. Secondly, I wasn’t all that tough and I had it demostrated by people who were tough enough times to make a believer of me. When I left Dallas I worked the wheat harvest to South Dakota, and the youngsters up there weren’t impressed by me, either. Then, next school year, I was in Borger, Texas, an oil town where kids were REALLY tough and I was a piker. I got into a lot of fights in Borger and don’t recall winning one, and the damage to my body was a lot worse than it had ever been from fighting before. After Borger it was the Army, and the non-coms took care of the bullying for the most part. Thanks for the visit. Jules

  5. Pictures and stories great OJ…had no sense of egoism spilling out…just good pure content.

  6. Great story, great pictures i just got done putting my own travellog together although i had a lot bulling i had a differant veiw it’s interesting – like a diamond we are made up of many facets which reflect many colars, The hardest bulliying, i may have done to my self

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