15 May, 2011


My mother always made sure we had the best of everything so that no one would look down on us because our father was in prison.  She grew up in an impoverished household, and she said she didn't want us to experience the same humiliation she did at the hands of other children.

All of our clothes were from Saks, and every year Amie and I had new real fur coats to wear to school.  We looked beautiful, but we just wanted to be normal.  Finally, after months of begging, my mother let us wear jeans to school like our friends did. 

As much as my mother tried, she couldn't protect us from everyone.  Our backyard neighbors had a son, Scotty, who was relentless about teasing us.  It seemed like every time I went in the back yard, he had something cruel to say, but I never said anything back to him.  One day I couldn't take it anymore.  Amie and I were in the backyard and Scotty yelled over the fence separating our yards,  "Your father's in prison!" 

My retort was absolutely classic:  "Yeah, well YOUR father had a vasectomy!"  I had no idea what that meant, but it was the first thing that popped into my little head to defend myself and my daddy.  My mother and grandmother laughed hysterically when I ran into the house and told them what happened.  Sure, my response to Scotty was nonsensical, but he didn't say another word to me for years after that.

Scotty's silence was broken many years later in the parking lot of the mall.  He asked as I walked by him,  "Is your dad still counting his stolen money?"

My retort was a little wittier than the last time we interacted.  I looked him straight in the eye and said,  "He sure is, and today he counted more money than your worthless father will see in his entire life!"

That was, officially, the last time Scotty ever harassed me.

The situation with Scotty was the only time I recall that my feelings were  hurt by a child's remarks about my father.  All of the other children knew our family's situation, but none of them seemed to care.  I was a popular young child at school and my father was never mentioned by my friends.

The adults, however, were quite a different story.  My second grade homeroom teacher had plenty to say about my father.  One day she was standing about five feet from me, and I heard her her say to the music teacher,  "That girl with the long hair is Amil Dinsio's daughter.  When I looked at my class list for this year and saw that I had the bank burglar's daughter, I nearly died!"  She had to realize I could hear her.

I swear, I could feel a dagger go through my heart as the hot tears welled up in my eyes.

That was the day I discovered that those who should know better are often the cruelest of all.


  1. That is (especially from the teacher) UNFORGIVABLE! It infuriates me - being a ex teacher I know what cruel remarks can do to a child! Good on you for coming out tops! x

  2. I'm horrified that children feel the need to make nasty comments about any child's parents. But that an adult would be so thoughtless and cruel just boggles my mind. Whether anyone can hear you or not, words like these should never have been said in the first place. Integrity is doing the right thing even when nobody is looking or listening. That teacher was sorely lacking in integrity.

  3. Kids are horrible to each other, plain and simple, but there's no excuse for anyone, especially a teacher to be so insensitive.

    Thanks for the banner props! You rock :)

  4. Kids can be mean. Teenagers can be downright nasty. But the realization that adults, who should know better, can be so malicious and cruel is one of the biggest disappointments to me.

  5. "My retort was a little wittier than the last time we interacted. I looked him straight in the eye and said, "He sure is, and today he counted more money than your worthless father will see in his entire life!"

    I actually am quite fond of your father, but your style of writing has a bit too much arrogance. Keep in mind that the money stolen was not all insured and people suffered because of this. So, yes, you sure told that boy...however, you failed to do so with any an actual wit. Sorry. Enjoyed some of this, though, as your father was fascinating and brilliant.