On Facebook today, I'm finally starting to get more friends as word is spreading among our classmates about our mini-reunion. I heard from the "fat" girl today. I hate to keep calling her that. Her name is Dixie Dowdy, a name cruelly given her by her parents that she seemed destined to live up to. I had to coax her into friending us, which you'll understand after I tell her sad story, only pieces of which I know. I'm hoping to eventually learn the rest. All she would say so far is that she never married, and had 2 children when she was well into her 40's.
Dixie was called the fat girl because the rest of us were so scraggly. By today's standards, she probably wouldn't be thought of as much different from most teenagers I see, with their muffin-tops fully displayed. But I later came to suspect that Dixie had a bona fide reason to be miserable. Her older brother, Dudley, was my brother's age, 6 yrs. older. They were in High School Band, and my mother always volunteered to be a chaperone on their band trips, partly to keep an eye on my brother, but mostly so she (and I) got to go on an occasional vacation, my father being the type who didn't like to get too far from home. He'd say, "I saw Italy and France in the War. I've seen enough." Nevermind that we didn't accompany him on those jolly trips.
Anyway, once when I was about 7, still small, I was sitting on Dudley's lap on the band bus. He slid his hand down my pants and began to explore. I must have wiggled and squirmed, then got off his lap to return to my mother. I never told her. What is it about these Incidents that makes us afraid to tell? If we all screamed and acted as horrified as we feel, people like Dudley wouldn't be able to get away with so much. I'm almost certain if he tried that with me, I bet he did with his sister,too. Poor Dixie, and on top of that, we tormented her at school every day. I really want to apologize. I'm going to try to get some conversations going with Dixie. I hope she responds.
To add to the horror of this story, Dudley is now the preacher of the largest Baptist church in town. And he's on Facebook.
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