Eight years old and killed a boy?-1953 (8-9)

Attracted and disgusted


I heard some “bad” boys reciting a rhyme on the school ground. I so wanted to listen to it, but felt guilty about that and thought the boys were wicked for speaking it out so boldly. I think this is the poem (thank you, Google):

I gave her inches one. She said, "Can you make me come?"

I gave her inches two, she said, "John, you sure can screw."

I gave her inches three. She said, "John, I have to pee."

I gave her inches four. She said, "Now it's getting sore."

I gave her inches five. She said, "That damned thing's alive."

I gave her inches six. She said, "Give it six more licks."

I gave her inches seven. She said, "Feels like I'm in heaven."

I gave her inches eight.  She said, "John, I just can't wait."

I gave her inches nine.  She said, "Do it from behind."

I gave her inches ten.  She said, "Let's start once again."

I was also both drawn and repulsed when boys would pose the riddle, “What is the definition of a kiss? Answer: an upper persuasion for a lower invasion.”

My mother thought genes trumped home environment

In the argument between the importance of environment versus genes, my mother, even though she provided the best child-rearing environment possible for us kids, always came down on the side of genes. I heard her say many times, “You’ve got great genes.” Later, when I learned about my father’s bipolar condition, which she already knew about, I wondered whether she was lying either to herself or to us when she said that.

Killing a boy?


It was morning recess. I loved the rough-and-tumble game of “King of the Mountain.” A three-foot-high hill of dirt on the school ground provided the perfect prop for us kids. Everyone scrambled and pushed and screamed to get to the top of the hill and stay there. I was in the fray and loved it. Suddenly, the other kids were silent. I looked around and everyone was looking at a classmate lying motionless on the ground. We thought he was dead. I heard questions, “Who did it? Who pushed him?” Quickly a consensus arose among the kids. “Dwight did it.” Although they may have said, "Stinkler did it," as I was called by some of the other kids, with Stinkler rhyming with my family name Minkler. 

Did I push him? I didn’t know. But being blamed for it felt just the same as doing it. I thought to myself, “I’m only eight years old and I’ve already killed someone. My life is over.” I cried for the rest of the day. During the afternoon recess, I stayed in the classroom with my teacher, sobbing uncontrollably.

Up until this happened, I was pugnacious, often getting into scrapes and I was always “right.” When I was six, I attended another kid’s big birthday party. Before the party was over, I had given three separate boys a bloody nose. 

A life-changing promise to myself

On that day, when I thought I’d killed that boy, I made a life-changing decision: unless a family member’s life or my life was threatened, I would never fight again. I kept that rule absolutely except for a brief scruff I got into in the Marine Corps Reserves when I was twenty-two. A bunkmate had refused to return $20 I had lent to him. When his punch cracked the top of one of my front teeth, I quickly stopped fighting and thought to myself, "Fighting over $20. This is stupid." By the way, $20 then is about $170 today.

A few days later I found out that the boy was not dead; he had just been knocked out.

Is there really hell?