Soapbox: Lemme git da yo-yo – Recalling a fifth grade encounter with a bully

The following is an excerpt from Charles, Is Your Head on Your Shoulders?, a book by lifelong Stuyvesant Town resident Charles O’Connor on his experiences getting bullied as a kid, and how he hopes to help others avoid the same treatment. Names have been changed.

In the spring of fifth grade, 1971, Andrew and I were playing over at the school playground one Sunday afternoon. A boy, Eduardo, and his pal, Punky, stole my wristwatch. It was a Christmas present from my parents. They never let on, but they must have been terribly disappointed in me. I tried for several days to alert the principal to what had happened.  When I finally reached him, he said,

“Well, uh, now you come to me…”

This attitude indicated that there was very little, probably nothing, that he could do, or wanted to do, about the robbery. I was quite disappointed in that man.

A few weeks later, I was walking home with a friend, Ronny Williams, and I was swinging a yo-yo. Strangely, I could recall a warning from my mother:

“If you bring that yo-yo to school, I fear you will come home without it.”

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