This is a transcription of a letter I mailed this week to my old elementary school pal Sharlene who was bigger and tougher than I was back in the early 80s.

Dear  Shar,

I’m sure you will have heard by now all about that poor teenager, Amanda Todd, who was bullied into finally taking her own life. I’ve had a hard time thinking about much else since stories about bullying and how society can prevent it or deal with it are now in the newspaper, on the radio and online – pretty much everywhere you turn.

This has brought vivid memories back for me of our Grade 7 year at Gordon Park. Do you remember being the only thing that stood between me and the wrath of H– and L–? My memories of those days ALWAYS include you because without you I would have been a quivering mass of child alone on the school ground or running home for dear life. It’s clear to me that not every bullied child has a Sharlene. Lots of children have no escape and no one to turn to. It’s difficult being an adult and facing bullies head on. Innocent adolescents whose only crime is perhaps shyness or academics or an interest in Sunday school don’t stand a chance without the support of people like you.

So, thank you, for being my childhood protector, for being in my corner and allowing me to cower behind you when I wasn’t strong enough to handle the abuse on my own.