fisticuffs: to fight with the fists.
First Known Use: 1605 ~ This correct definition is from Merriam Webster and can be found HERE
Once when I was seven we lived in an unincorporated little suburb of Southern California. Somewhere in the middle between Pomona, Montclair and Chino if I recall correctly. The little two bedroom house on Kadota Street was surrounded by cows and cattle fence. Smaller even than our current Farmlet, it was our family’s little bit of heaven on one-quarter acre.
I had a few friends, but being a bit of a Tomboy back then I really rather favored the freindship of a little blond-headed boy named Johnny. We use to walk the pastures, build forts, climb trees, and play in the hayloft. We loved to spin tales and then act them out.
Because of our boyish friendship it came as quite a shock, when one day in the hayloft Johnny tried to kiss me! On the lips! He leaned in, and I defensively crossed my arms over my chest between us,
and then pushed him away…
He went flying back and over the edge of the hayloft. Crawling to the edge and looking down, I could see him laying there, on his back, and underneath the cow. He was looking shocked and shouting up to me he exclaimed,
“Well, what’d ya do that for?”
I told him, “Kissing was for grown-ups”, then climbed down the ladder and ran for home.
Over the next few weeks I avoided Johnny at school. So it was a complete surprise to find him waiting for me on my way home one day. He was angry and trying to pick a fight! I wasn’t having any of that, so I crossed the street and tried to walk on by, but he caught up to me, grabbed my arm, and hit me!
Of course I got really mad and lit into him, punching him right back, until he cried and ran off for home. When I got home I said nothing to my parents, because I didn’t want to get in trouble for fighting.
Later that day, his dad came to the door with him in tow. His dad wanted to speak to my dad. The conversation went something like this as I recall,
J’s dad: Your son beat up my son and gave him this black eye!
My dad: I don’t see how that is possible… (he was cut off)
J’s dad: You’re calling my son a liar?
My dad: I have two son’s. On is two, and the other is in a cast over there in the living room, and he can’t even walk!
J’s dad to J: You told me he beat you up? What’s going on!
J: No daddy, not him, her!
J’s dad: You let a GIRL do this to you? (smack) Get along home!
Johnny and I never were friendly after that day in the hayloft, and he never tried to fight me again either.
Of note, a favorite song of mine from about that time was Perry Como’s Catch a Falling Star. I used to sing the refrain all the time, because it was catchy and I liked the idea.
“Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket, save it for a rainy day…”
However, the whole song has a line in there that may have given Johnny the wrong idea? Who can say?