Little Bullied Billie

Little Bullied Billie

by Denise McClure

Her name is Wilhelmina but she prefers to be called “Billie.” Her first memory was when she was only two years old; Daddy’s hand came down on her – hard! She doesn’t remember what she did but assumes it was the reason he abandoned her and Momma. Billie also believes that she was a difficult child because Momma was often angry, there was a lot of yelling . . .

In kindergarten Billie easily lost her temper. Why wouldn’t the other kids do things her way? She once broke a little boy’s nose when ‘he was looking at her’!

Billie soon learned that the other kids had traditions. She wanted a birthday party too, and Momma said yes. The entire class was invited! She pretended not to care when nobody came. “It’s just as well,” she told herself. Momma was drunk and would have embarrassed her . . . again!

Momma never went to the parent/teacher meetings. In the back row up on stage at the concerts, she scanned the audience in anticipation for Momma’s face, but never found it. It was the same with sports: any achievement went unnoticed . . . and unappreciated.

Billie had come to despise school, she felt as stupid as the others said she was. And when she wasn’t suspended she often skipped school. Being big for her age helped her blend in with the older kids. Smoking became a habit when she was eleven. But she never got into the booze, afraid of becoming like her mom.

In class most of Billie’s time was spent doodling or sketching — the only thing that brought any peace. But in grade nine there was a teacher who was different from the others. Instead of crumpling it up and throwing it away, he recognised her talent. It was even put on display in the art room! He and his wife owned a small gallery and allowed Billie to work there part time . . . on the condition that she finished school. How could they fully realise how much, as mentors, they changed Billie’s world?

Billie is graduating this year and even has been granted a scholarship for an art school! Momma is so proud of her and she’s proud of Momma, now that she has been sober for 128 days . . . and counting! And Billie quit smoking; it was a pact they made. They have been attending AA meetings together, and find it reassuring that there are others who face similar difficulties. And if others can overcome, then by golly, so can Billie and Momma! And they are . . . one day at a time.

Things are better now. Billie’s mom even went back to school! They look after each other, and they both have goals and things to look forward to.

Yes, life is so much better now!

* * * * *

This is a fictitious story of an imaginary character, but for too many people it is too close to reality. It is easy to tell ourselves, “Oh, he’s a bully – stay away from him!” But how often do we consider why and how this person has become a bully? What is it that caused so much anger? And is he or she condemned to always be this way? Sometimes all it takes is one caring person to make a world of difference!

I will end with the following summation:

Little Billie had been bullied since she was only two
Daddy lost his job again, and lost his temper too

Little Billie’s not so little: her days are spent at school
But now Billie’s become the bully: beware her fisted rule

But Billie’s friendless and the endless scolding back at home
Leaves her empty; once again she finds herself alone

There was one teacher who could reach her when nobody could
When the others turned away, he found something good

He was gentle, kind but firm; and saw that she could draw
When Billie’s work was on display, others stood in awe

Billie found something inside equal to the smartest
And bigger Billie’s not a bully, ‘cause now she is an artist

Denise McClure lives in Grand Falls, New Brunswick. Send comments on this story to

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