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My Hero


Here for the Journey
When I was a child we didn’t have a lot of money to spare, although my father worked long and antisocial hours. Bank holidays came and went and I played in the garden or, if I was very lucky and Dad was home, went to the local swimming baths. There was no changing room at the local baths and the cubicles were along the two lengths of the pool, separated from the general public by thick waterproof curtains.

I loved going to the baths with Dad. Although I could not swim, Dad would help me paddle around and then with his amazing sense of fun would dive down and grab my ankle, causing me to scream and giggle. I longed for the time when we had swimming lessons at school and I would be able to swim like Dad and maybe even go with a towel rolled up under my arm with my friends to the baths.

Imagine my joy one Monday when it was announced that my class was to start swimming lessons that Wednesday morning. I couldn’t wait to bring the letter back, signed by Mum with the money for the coach in the envelope. I remembered the news item about someone who swam the channel and the smiling swimmer emerging triumphant at the other side. That would be me one day! The reality was a little different.

Wednesday arrived and an excited class boarded the coach and made the journey to the local baths. It was on the coach it started.
“Hey Gemma,” shouted one boy, “Don’t jump in or there’ll be a tidal wave”. When everyone had stopped laughing another boy jumped on the bandwagon and reasoned, “Nah, don’t worry Bobby when Gemma jumps in, the water jumps out”. Everyone was laughing uncontrollably and I began to wish I didn’t have to go to the pool at all.

Then, from the back of the bus, one solitary voice piped up, “No, you’ve got it all wrong. If we were all shipwrecked Gemma would float to the desert island AND she would be to one to survive, ‘cos she’s got enough to keep her going. Aint that right Gem?” How I loved that boy. For a few minutes he had silenced the bullies. Then the first boy piped up,

“Yea and when she’d eaten all the coconuts, she’d start on US!”

© July 2008
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Here for the Journey
Laugh with me abz cos it was a long time ago and the telling of it helps to get it into perspective and I realise that it is THEIR poblem not mine. I'm still here and feeling strong. We mustn't forget though that this is still happening for some kids and there are adults that should be doing something about it. x


Gold Member
totally!! i was bullied constantly through school, and college, although by then it was only because they wanted to break me and they never did. they even chased me when i first came back from uni until they realised i was with a rather large group of rather large guys and they ran away again, ha. i just didn't care by that point, and it just showed how sad they were that they were STILL hanging around at the bus station and STILL desperate to have a go at me!! the mind boggles!!

abz xx


Here for the Journey
Don't cry Jax. My gran (gosh there's a whole other bunch of stories) used to say, "Well Girl, what don't kill us makes us stronger" and she had a hard life - and hey, we're all still here and celebrating our successes each week. I just wonder when I look back, where were the adults who should have stopped the bullying? The school environment in those days made it SO easy for the bullies and "the voice from the back" often offered his misguided words of wisdom to try to make things ok for me. It shouldn't have been his job. I guess what I'm really saying is if there are any teachers out there in cyberspace reading this PLEASE don't leave it to the kids to sort out. Nip the bully culture in the bud and don't let them get their fun from those who are a little different for some reason or other. Can't work out how to paste the link but google 'don't laugh at me mark wills lyrics' and see what you think of the song. That's the one that always makes me cry.


Bouncing back
this story is actually really sad. it evokes so many sad memories for me... as i'm sure it does for most people.
your narrative is brilliant though Gem!



Here for the Journey
Thank you. On the bright side, I have used my experiences positively. That's not to say that I never get a kick in the gut when a kid plays back a scene I recognise from my own childhood or youth. It's just that owning and recognising the feelings is the best way to deal with them and lay them to rest. x
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Bouncing back
I think thats an amazing attitude to have!



Spam Hunter
S: 17st12lb C: 12st4lb G: 10st10lb BMI: 27.3 Loss: 5st8lb(31.2%)
I always loved swimming but I wouldn't have gone if there were bullies from school there. We didn't do swimming in senior school

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