Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Clubber

    Clubber was in one of my grade eight classes in the early 60's. Clubber was a little different than most thirteen year olds.

    Clubber was a loner and very quiet. There were some good reasons Clubber was a loner. Clubber was a quiet kid but that doesn't mean that he was nice. The other kids were somewhat afraid of Clubber as he could look after himself physically. Clubber didn't hesitate to use force to get what he wanted from other kids. Kids didn't report much of this behavior as they were always afraid of how Clubber would retaliate. If you did pal around with Clubber you were probably going to get into trouble and kids did not want to find themselves in trouble.

    Clubber learned the pleasures of tobacco early in life. Clubber had to have his regular supply of tobacco. He got his tobacco in several ways. Thirteen year olds could buy tobacco in the early sixties but they didn't have enough spending money for a full supply. So shoplifting helped in the supply of tobacco. Of course, he was caught quite regularly. Clubber may have been smart but at being a crook he was pretty dumb. Clubber also picked up other things from stores. As a result everybody in town watched Clubber. His third supply of tobacco came from other kids. Kids would give him a cigarette as he would probably take all their cigarettes if they resisted. 

     Clubber entered a few places he wasn't supposed to enter. Pool rooms were closed on Sundays in the sixties. One Sunday the owner of the pool room checked his facility and there was Clubber playing pool all by himself. The back door was not very secure so he just walked in. He had probably been doing the same thing for quite a while.

    Teachers tried to watch Clubber very carefully but it was difficult. Clubber was not a behavior problem in class.  He was sneaky but also an opportunist. It was interesting to watch him as he was always looking two steps ahead. He saw things nobody else saw.

    Clubber's parents were at their wits end with him as they didn't know how to handle the situation and at that time there was no support for them.

    You could see where Clubber was headed. He had no concerns about getting things he wanted by using illegal means.

   Five or six years later I read a news item in the paper that Clubber had been sentenced for armed robbery.

   It was rather sad to see a person so young get into behavior patterns which were not only destructive for him but others.
     
    I will certainly remember Clubber for a long time.

36 comments:

  1. Very sad. I think most of us have experienced a Clubber in our youth.

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    1. You're right. They are in the population unfortunately.

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  2. It is sad to see someone take the wrong path. Sometimes they can change after discipline from jail and other times they can get worse. I hope that he had a happy ending as he got older.

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    1. I hope that his life turned around. He's one of the few crooks i taught in my 37 years.

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  3. Sad, too bad he didn't have a good mentor..or good parents:(

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    1. I knew his parents and there was no obvious problem there.

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  4. It's sad when kids take that route. Not usually a good ending in store for them.

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    1. You're right. If you get on the wrong tack it's difficult to turn things around.

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  5. Kind of reminds me of one of my early fourth graders, Ricky Catlett. He was trouble everywhere if you tried to make him do anything he didn't want to do. I finally gave up on him and we made a deal - I wouldn't bother him if he didn't bother the rest of us. He didn't do any work, and failed almost everything, but the rest of the class was able to function.

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    1. You too eh? I made some of those deals too. You had to play your cards carefully or you could get in some problems later.

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  6. When having school you don't always know the background of your fellow students, they can be very different from your own. Sad this boy probably had no safe and loving home.

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    1. His home was safe but I don't think they had too much time for him.

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  7. That's really sad. A very troubled kid. There were a lot of 'Clubbers' in my high school.

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    1. He was so quiet you didn't know what was going on.

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  8. Yes, I agree with Stephen - I also experienced a "Clubber" in my school and he would take our lunch and always took our cookies.....and NO, I did not tell. I was afraid of him.

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    1. These guys are still around today. We still haven't got it right when it comes to bullies.

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  9. Hi Red, I had a couple of students like Clubber in my classes. My classes were high school level and it seemed like the parents of the Clubber types had pretty much given up on those kids by the time they got to high school. In my opinion, when we try to evaluate how kids turn out in life, parenting is more important than schooling. John

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    1. Those are strong words coming from and old teacher but I have to agree with you. Teachers aren't half a smart as they think they are.

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    2. Red, you are so right. I often wondered ... Teachers, of all people, should begin to realize how much they DON'T know. Sadly, many never do and think they know it all.

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    3. I have to say as an 'old teacher' I myself never claimed to know it all and still don't but just because a parent gave up didn't mean I had to. I have to think in some instances I made a difference however big or small.

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  10. It makes me wonder how much of it was inherent and how much could have been changed with counseling. It sure makes me sad, though, that some people seemed destined for a life of crime from such a young age. :-(

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    1. You've got it right. There are a lot of variables.

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  11. sad he never learned to make good decisions

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    1. He seemed programmed for only bad stuff.

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    1. In those days there wasn't a lot of support.

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  13. I was hoping this story would have a better ending. Kids are not naturally bad, something went wrong in his life somewhere early.

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    1. There are many variables in each life.

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  14. I think we've all known someone like that at some point.

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    1. Unfortunately , you are so right.

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  15. I had a student like this. He was a gang member. A miserable thing. Taller than I am, he was a big, bully. As I recall he was from a good home, but liked to play the big bad white dude. I loathed him! He stole kids dance money one day. I would have called in the cops..

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    1. This guy was not confrontational to adults but I'd have hated to be a kid.

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  16. Sad of course. I believe that kids at young age behaving inappropriately should be helped. It is very difficult to say though, I am not a parent and I do not know how it is to raise problematic kids.

    I had a classmate in high school. He was fine, quite small, not the best student but also not the one whom you'll find from the guidance office often. We were not friends but we hanged out with the same group few times. But once I was having jail apostolate, I found him there. He was convicted with murder but he said he was just protecting his family when the assaulter came by. It is simply sad, really sad. I couldn't have helped him in any way. In our apostolate, we were only providing counseling.

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  17. I was hoping there would be happier ending. I had a student like that who had be held back in then put in my room. I felt terrible for him. Our custodian (who lived in the same neighborhood) once referred to him as a "toe tag" kid. I didn't know what he meant. He had to explain that he would have a short life. Last I heard, he'd ended up in jail too. Sigh...

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  18. So sad, but I guess you might have been able to see that coming. It does make me wonder what exactly was going on at home...

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  19. So sad indeed. My best friends son. He was a nice guy.
    At least everyone thought. Then three years ago. My own son phones me. Mom did you read the newspaper or watch T.V. the other night. I said no. Aundrea has been shot. Apparently gang related. For him. He is dead. So I feel like you. Wasted. He was only 47. So I guess he was not the kid we all thought.

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