In our family, arguments and fighting amongst us siblings was an everyday occurrence. There were four of us,our two older brothers, then me and finally, mylittle sister. My mom tried hard to keep us in line while my father was at work, but she was simply not tough enough. The one thing that she did instill in us was that we should look out for one another, and for the most part, we did. We could mistreat each other for any reason, but if someone from the neighborhood said or did anything to offend any one of us, they would get payback.
On this particular day, I had heard again my little sister Tina, complaining about mistreatment at the hands of a boy named Omar who lived down the block. Now Omar was small for 8 years old, and he was mean, saying mean things even to me as I rode my bike past his house, and I was 11 years old. His father was a jokey, I believe, and Omar had inherited his small stature. I tolerated him as much as was possible, until this day.
It was a cool spring Saturday, and my little sister, who was 6years old, decided to walk her baby-doll down the block in her little carriage. Now, if you knew my sister when she was six, you’d know that she was the prettiest little girl in the neighborhood. She had long auburn wavy hair and a beautiful smile that showed off the tiniest pure white teeth. Although I loved her, I found she made my life somewhat complicated since we were 5 years apart and often I was the one who had to watch her. Let’s say that some of the meanness I received at the hands of my brothers, I in turn, passed on to her. But on this day I remember being infuriated that some little twerp would make her cry for no good reason.
So, off Tina went to walk her baby-doll, and a few minutes later she returned home sobbing, holding her doll that was now drenched and dripping with muddy water. Omar had stopped my sister on the sidewalk, taken her baby-doll out of the carriage and thrown it into a nearby mud puddle, blanket and all. What could be sadder than that, a pretty little girl crying because her baby-doll was victimized by a nasty boy?
Upset, my mother did her best to console my sister, but I took it in and was angry, really, really angry. The blanket and contents of the carriage had been hand made by our grandmother, all white and lacy and there was no way that I was going to let this go. This kid had to know that my sister, had someone watching out for her and he would never again cause her or our mother any grief, that was my department.
Within minutes I was on the phone with my best friend Janice who lived around the block. She came over and I poured out my rage to her as we began to scheme ways to make Omar leave my sister alone. The more we spoke about what happened the angrier we got and finally we came up with a plan. Janice was my ally and she and I would take care of this nuisance, Omar. So, off we went, up the block, Janice, Tina and me. When we approached Omar’s house, we picked up my sister, I held her hands, and Janice her feet and we swung her gently back and forth over a patch of grass. She laughed and laughed as Omar looked on with an astonished smile on his face. We had given Tina rides like this before and intended to convince Omar that we were having a ball and that he could trust us as we coaxed him to take a turn. Finally, after giving her several swing rides, Omar relented; he couldn’t resist and wanted to squeal with glee just as Tina had. So, we obliged him. I held his wrists; and Janice held his ankles as we gave him a few good swings till he was laughing. Then, with a twinkle of mischief in our eyes, we walked him directly over to the same muddy puddle where he had tossed Tina’s baby-doll, and Ker plunked him down into it. The boy cried and cried more embarrassed than hurt. I felt badly, and was one hundred percent sure that we had done the wrong thing, but on the other hand my guilt was pacified as I gazed upon the smiling face of my sister.