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A Shout From The Attic: Mousey

...I never saw him but that my heart went out to him in gentle sympathy for the load he would have to bear through his life... Ronnie Bray recalls a boy called Mousey.

There are not many of my schoolmates that I remember, especially if they were not in my class. Those in other classes were in separate worlds and hardly ever, it seemed, did their world meet my world. Yet, one boy stands out. His name I cannot recall though I am sure I knew it once, but I remember his face. He was a year or two younger then me, and he had a long nose. It was not long in that it stuck out from his face, but long from top to bottom, and he was called Mousey on that account.

He was small for his age, quiet, and passive, as children tend to be when they know their place in life is not on top of the heap, or among those of repute, or among the favoured ones. I never saw him but that my heart went out to him in gentle sympathy for the load he would have to bear through his life. I spoke my softest to him, using words of acceptance that I dredged up from the store of things I wished others would say to me.

He had a sister who also took care of him, and, in what seemed to have been the juvenile culture of my young days, few actually shot their worst barbs at him, but he was condemned by the thoughtlessness of children who mean no harm to be always Mousey.

I do hope that life has been kind to him, that he found his niche and has been happy with someone to love and someone to love him enough so that he has forgotten when he was Mousey, and that his children have been dealt with better than he was. It takes so little to remind children that they are different, and the way a child looks is usually grasped by other children in a culture where difference is seen as cause for poking fun, however innocently, at the unconventional one.

Perhaps it is only the Mouseys among us who will teach their children not to inflict on others what they suffered themselves. If that is so, many more children will have to carry the heavy burden of low self-esteem throughout their lives, only relinquishing its weight and its despair when they descend into the grave. It does not have to be so. But, who among us will change it?


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