Life Lessons On A Rainy Wednesday Afternoon

Our family was just like everyone else's -- Nettie watched all the grandkids while some of her children worked. So, it was common that in the afternoons, you'd have Pete's sister, Barbara working on homework with her kids, Tara and Michelle in the same room as Marie, Darcie, Peter and Nan -- all doing various levels of academic work, before running out (yes we played outside) to be with our friends. If it rained, we'd stay in and watched "The Munsters" or "Batman," while Peter made the POW ... BAM ... noises during the fight scenes. It was common for Nettie to teach us something, so one day she'd break out her canvas and oil paints, or give us drapes to practice sewing or help build tents in the livingroom so we can experience make-believe camping.

One day, Marie (3rd or 4th grade) came home from school crying because a boy on the school bus -- Andrew his name was -- punched her in the face. She ran into the house, found Peter and told Nettie the whole story how each day Andrew would do a different thing to her -- trip her, push her -- and today, he punched her. As Peter wiped the blood from her nose, Marie sobbed that she didn't want to go back to school anymore.

Nettie decided it was time Marie learned how to fight -- street fight -- because she wasn't going to allow her granddaughter to be a victim to a bully on the school bus. So, Peter starts moving furniture out of the way, and Pete shows Marie how to make a fist and stand with her feet spread apart. Getting into that stance, he positions her body so it mimics his.

Then, Nettie, who is a little over 5 feet, gets into the same position opposite Marie and she says, "Ok, Hit Me."

Marie coyly says, "No Nana, I can't hit you."

Nettie screams at her "HIT ME"  Peter chimes in and says "Do It Marie ... Punch Her In The Stomach"

Marie starts to cry and says "I Can't"  Pete screams "Punch Her Hard"

And with Peter standing behind Marie, cheering her on, at the same time as Nettie screaming like a drill sergeant, "HIT ME MARIE ! " Like instinct, Marie closes her eyes, pulls her fist back and landes a punch right in Nettie's stomach. As Nettie is knocked off her feet you can hear Peter saying, "I think she's got it now Momma ... We don't have to worry about her anymore."

The next day, even though Peter had already moved onto another school, he walked Marie to the bus stop and waited with her till Andrew showed up. Just as they were boarding the bus, Peter called Andrew over and said, "Hey, I have a secret to tell ya. Try to trip Marie today and you'll be saying hello to her fist." He called out to Marie that he'd pick her up at the bus stop in the afternoon. And Andrew never bothered her again after Peter's little talk with him.

It was great having a bad ass uncle & grandmother. Who better to get fighting lessons than our little Nana & our giant uncle.


  1. Precisely for this reason, self-defense, my daughter gets 2 times a week judo training.
    Great story about Nettie, Peter and Marie.

  2. great story and I could not agree more with Peter and Nettie. Every girl should learn to defend herself and stand up against bullies.
    Yes indeed, what amazing influences to have in one's life and what a fantastic family all-around. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Laughing my ass off, so true. OMG my grandmother was something else and well, Peter always had your back.

  4. BAD ASS NETTIE & PETER! Great story! :)

  5. Self-defense is SO important!
    Marie, I cant believe a boy punched you in the face especially in elementary school.. that is horrible. Didnt his Mama teach him not to hit women? My favorite part of this story "Hey, I have a secret to tell ya. Try to trip Marie today and you'll be saying hello to her fist"... Yea you tell him Pete!!!

  6. Dad always told me that if a man (or boy) gave me trouble kick him in the nads and run. However I think any boy in his right mind should be afraid of Pete giving safety "advice".

  7. I love it! Reminds me of how my dad raised us girls. You all have a great family...keep the stories coming!

  8. Hi Darcie--

    Another suggestion for this blog--a silly one, maybe. What kinds of food did Peter enjoy? I'm curious to know how many pierogis he could wolf down in one sitting!! :)

    Thanks again for doing this--it's awesome!
    Much love and appreciation--
    Patty Piorkowski

  9. Deborah Fischer4:42 PM, May 24, 2011

    Such a great story. It sounds like Nettie was an exceptionnal being !

  10. Bravo! Every kid needs to learn self-defense. A few years ago, my son ended up out-of-school suspension because he defended himself against a bully. I was advised to have a talk with him about physical violence. I said "Congratulations...I didn't know you had it in you," and I baked him a cake!

  11. Awesome! Thank you for sharing :)

  12. lol thats a great story! nettie was a tough woman,and now marie knows how to throw down!
    -erik hernandez-

  13. You have the coolest family ever. I understand why Peter never got over Netties death now. Besides being his mum she was an extraordinary person and to not have her in his life anymore must have been devastating. The song he wrote for her is beautiful and the start of it when he sings in his deep voice send shivers all over my body. I wish there was a video of Peter and Nettie yelling at Marie to fight,it would be absolutely hysterical.

  14. Great story ;-) imagening Pete & Nettie yelling at Marie is hilarious! What an exceptional woman Nettie was - guess you all have learned a lot from her & it's easy to understand that Pete loved her so much. Self defense is so important - had a similar experience with a nephew in play school - another boy always bullied him so his uncle told him to hit back :) well he was successful - the boy did not bully him anymore but his Mom had to come in school for a serious conversation :) but better this way than any other!