Article Comment 

Betty Stone: It all depends on the point of view

 

Betty Stone

 

Tom Hardy is a friend who is a good raconteur and who has a long history in Columbus. Recently he shared the following story with me. I could not improve on it, so I''ll let him tell it himself: 

 

"Recently I was driving down Seventh Street South and saw an old water oak tree, between the street and the sidewalk, which brought to mind an incident that has remained in my memory for nearly 80 years. 

 

"At the time of the incident I was about 10 years old and in the fifth grade at Demonstration School. I was walking back from school to my grandmother''s house on Third Street South, when I passed that old tree. Right at its base two boys, just about my age and size, were pummeling a boy of about their same size, which struck me as unfair. I must have been reading some kind of romance about knights rescuing someone in need of help, because I caught one of the boys by the back of his shirt and tried to pull him off the victim, saying, ''Now this will be a lot fairer with two of us.'' 

 

"Well, both of the boys promptly released the victim and turned on me, while the victim, instead of joining me, hastily decamped, leaving me alone with my fate! One of the assailants caught my hair and pulled my head down so far that I couldn''t see either of them, and both of them began pummeling me. As I couldn''t see them, I just flailed away at them above my head, hoping I could land a blow now and then.  

 

"After what seemed to me an interminable time, I heard someone say, ''Now, boys, cut that out, or I''ll call the police!'' and I was suddenly freed. I looked up, and a middle-aged lady was standing there, shaking her finger at us. I was never in my life so glad to see a stranger as I was to see her. My two assailants promptly left, as I shortly did, too, because I wasn''t sure just how the blame might be distributed. Suddenly the kind lady was left all alone, probably wondering how we had all managed to vanish so quickly. 

 

"Well, I didn''t know who the two boys were, and I didn''t want to know -- I just didn''t want to meet them again. So for the rest of the school year, which, thankfully, was fairly close to ending, I walked a long way around my old route, both coming and going to school, and I never did see them again. 

 

"My mother had died the previous year, and I had been sent to live with my grandmother, which was why I was going to Demonstration School that year. Before school opened the next fall, I was back in school in the country, at Prairie Consolidated School, so I did not have to look out for the boys anymore. 

 

"However, at least 50 years later, I passed Friday''s Meat Market out in East Columbus, which I had never remembered seeing before, and went in to buy something. One of the Friday brothers -- I think it was Grady Friday, though it may have been his brother Marion -- introduced himself to me, and asked me if I remembered the time I jumped on him and his brother, down near the old Barrow School? Well, by this time I knew the names of the Friday brothers, but I don''t think I had ever met them. I certainly had never associated them with that long-ago day when I had inadvisably interfered with their plans. I had never forgotten the incident itself, though I wouldn''t have put it quite that way. I didn''t think of it as my ''jumping on them.'' In my mind it was quite the other way around, for I had only intended to stop the action, not to get in a fight. 

 

"However, after he had described the incident, I owned up to having been the participant that he was thinking of; and, to my great surprise, he said they were real glad to have that lady stop the proceedings, because I was giving them a hard time, and that they had avoided the area until they heard I had moved back to the country. They had evidently found out who I was, though I had never found out who they were! 

 

"It just goes to show that all depends on the point of view from which events are seen." 

 

Betty Boyls Stone is a freelance writer, who grew up in Columbus. 

 

 

 

 

Betty Boyls Stone is a freelance writer, who grew up in Columbus.

 

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Reader Comments

Article Comment JIM GERHART commented at 4/4/2009 6:45:00 PM:

HI, WHAT YEAR WERE YOU AT PRAIRIE SCHOOL?

 

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