Nathaniel Garland

Nathaniel Garland


When my brother broke his leg, the kids would pick on me because my hair, when it grows, is very soft and curly.  And it gets into big curls, and they talked down.  “Hey, yo, Curly.  Hey, he’s a sissy,” so we tried out.  And so when my brother broke his leg, I was there by myself, and so nobody was there to defend me or take up for me.  So I had to fight for myself.  So one day, I came home with some new little light jeans that you wore back in those days, and I had mud on them.  My mother said, “You fight your brother around here.  You come home looking like that again and the other kid is not looking as bad, I’m going to tan your hide, mister.”  That’s all I needed: a license.  So when I went back to school, I became a terror.

Phyllis Leffler:  You became a...?

Nathaniel Garland:  A terror.  If you --

Phyllis Leffler:  A terror.

Nathaniel Garland:  -- struck me or cornered me -- that’s where that came from -- I would fight you.  I didn’t care if you were bigger, older, didn’t matter.  And that’s where I learned about rocks and pieces of coal and stick, if necessary.  Whatever it took to make sure you understood that bothering me was not good.