My sister sometimes managed to get me in trouble at the theater. She was almost 3 years younger, and would always tell any bully, that you better leave me alone, or I will tell my big sister. The big sister, being me. One time, in particular, she was sitting down front in the theater, and a big tall girl was kicking the back of her seat. She was getting really angry and told her to stop, repeatedly, but she would not. In her frustration she said, "I am going to tell my big sister on you." The big chick said, "Tell her to meet me outside, and I will kick her ass." My sister just smiled because she knew that I was as tough as nails, having been beaten on a regular basis, and suffering beatings at the hands of my brothers too.
My sister came and told me about it and I walked outside without fear. When I saw the girl across the street, she had 6 of her cohorts with her, all of them ready to hurt me. I said, “you need all these behind you to kick my ass?"
I really had no fear at all, and she saw it. I said, “which one of you wants to get your ass kicked first?" And then I saw her look over my shoulder at something. I stepped back, and turned to look myself fearing a trick, but then just turned back and smiled.
Coming across the street was "Crazy Betty". She was a friend of mine, if you could call her that. She was older, street wise, mad at the world, and because I was kind to her, she had my back that night. She had a beer bottle in her hand, although she was only about 17. She proceeded to break it in half on the sidewalk, and then came across the street to where I was. I just stepped back, because I knew she would have no compunction in taking a life. The lead big girl saw her walk across the street, and I could almost smell her fear. Betty had quite a reputation and no one wanted to tangle with her, not even 6 girls on a Saturday night. The big girl turned around to tell her friends to back her up, and in that moment realized that she was standing there alone. I had a "shit eating “grin on my face, and Betty and I smiled at one another, as she asked me. “Got some trouble here, Glorann?" I told the girl that she and I would have a go at it, and I asked Betty to step aside, which she did. By this time the big girl had lost all her penchant for fighting, and she turned and ran. You might think that was cowardice, but it was actually a smart move. Betty may have killed her, if she had laid a hand on me.
Life is funny, in that you don't always know that how you treat someone will come back to roost. That night, the way I treated Betty came home to roost. She threw down her bottle, and walked away into the night, a sad alone creature, until the next time she was needed to defend someone’s honor. I saw her years later during one of my visits home, and she was still on the streets, never having known anything but hard times, and it sure showed on her face.
Growing up on Saturday night at a movie theater is a unique experience. We were given a dollar and that was a fortune for that day and time. It cost 25 cents to get into the movies and candy, popcorn and soda were a nickel. We could eat all night for that price. I actually would pay for someone else to get in, if they did not have the money and my sister and I would eat less that night. That is how Crazy Betty and I knew each other. I had done that for her and bought her a candy bar one night. She took kindnesses very serious, as her life was filled with hardship. Mine was too, but I had my sister, and we were kind and supportive of each other most of the time.