A fist connected with my face and down I went.
Somebody shouted, “fight” and suddenly the whole playground surrounded him, standing and gloating at me on the ground at his feet.
I started to get up, but before I could, he kicked me hard, squarely in the stomach. Down I went again, out of breath and crying.
“Teacher coming,” someone said. The crowd vanished like ghosts. Bruised and crying I went off to the nurse’s office.
“There’s a new book on your desk,” Mom said as I came up on our porch after school. “It came in the mail today from your grandad.”
I didn’t see him often. He wasn’t much for letters, but every so often, Grandad sent me a book. It was uncanny the way those books always seemed to be a mirror image of what was going on in my life at the time. On that day, the book, Aviation Stories For Boys, told how Slim Tyler, famous aviator, overcame bullies to become a hero.
50 years later, my grampa is gone, but the library he gave me still remains and I revisit it more often than you might think.