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.