Mrs. Huppleson had not expected to have her baby this early. She was told the due date was March 4. It was now only January 20. That didn’t matter to her however, as she was in too much pain to think about the due date. Then the doctor came into the delivery room to inform her that the baby was much too large to fit through the canal; they were going to have to perform a caesarian section. Mr. and Mrs. Huppleson began to get concerned until the doctor told them not to worry and that everything would be fine.
Mrs. Huppleson was wheeled to another room as her husband walked with her holding her hand. He looked down at her, smiled, and told her not to worry.
The caesarian section was a complete success. Everything went well and the new parents had a chance to look and hold their new baby boy who weighed in at 7 pounds. “We’ll name him after your father, honey,” the wife said, smiling at her husband and new daddy, “Henry.”
The nurses then came in and took the baby away from the new parents to be tested and treated for any abnormalities. It took a few hours before the Hupplesons saw their son again.
The doctor informed the Hupplesons that he wanted to talk to them about their son. They began to get worried again that something had gone wrong during pregnancy. They prayed that their son would turn out all right.
The doctor, Dr. Scholtz, was a very amiable, good natured person. He explained that their son had a small problem, but that it would not hurt him. The parents had anxious looks as they listened to the doctor explain. Apparently, Henry had an anterior pituatary gland problem. The pituitary gland is like the master gland that tells other glands what to do. His anterior pituatary gland for some reason told the body to start making testosterone in large amounts. This testosterone would make Henry grow bigger and faster then normal children. This condition is called acromegaly. It is almost as if he is experiencing puberty twice, once as a baby and again as an adolescent. The doctor assured the parents that Henry would be all right, he would just be a little bigger then the other kids. He would also experience abnormal hair growth. Everything else about Henry would be the same as that of a normal child.
Henry’s parents were relieved that their son’s problem wasn’t more serious than it actually was. They just hoped that Henry Huppleson would lead a normal life like all other children.
Five years past and Henry started attending preschool. He was a half-foot taller than most of the other children. All of the other kids in the preschool knew that Henry was different, but they didn’t care because Henry was able to reach the counters to get the snack before it was time to have it. He would hand out all of the cookies to his friends. The children all regarded him as special.
Henry had a large change in his life when his father got a new job position and had to move out of his old town. The new town the Hupplesons moved to, Mapleville seemed nice and all of the people there were very friendly. The felt that they would enjoy living in the small town.
Henry was going to be in second grade at school in the fall. His family moved during the summer so that he wouldn’t be the new kid during the middle of the year. When the fall came and Henry entered the second grade, he was 4 3/4 feet tall. He started to see hair growing over his lip to make a small mustache for Henry. He didn’t care, though, he just wanted to meet some knew kids in second grade.
At his school, Mapleville Elementary, Henry was introduced to the class by his teacher, Mrs. Forlen. When he first stepped into the room, there were gasps, and kids exclaiming “Look how tall he is!”
So I’m tall, Henry thought, It doesn’t mean that we still can’t be friends. He proceeded to take a seat at the back of the room.
The boy sitting in front of Henry took time to turn around to look at Henry while Mrs. Forlen was going over adding 67 + 35. He noticed the hair over Henry’s lip and the big bushy eyebrows that Henry had. He also noticed that there some dark hairs on his chin.
“Why are so hairy Henry?” the boy asked him. “And why are you so tall?”
“I just am,” Henry said quickly. “It doesn’t matter though.”
“Yeah, you’re right. It’s nice to meet you Henry. My name is-”
“Henry, Joel, please stop talking while I am teaching the class,” Mrs. Forlen stopped the class to say.
“Sorry Mrs. Forlen,” Joel apologized.
At lunch time in the cafeteria, Joel helped Henry get his lunch and showed him his way around. They sat together at the end of a long table.
“I haven’t had too many friends in the past Henry. Do you think that you could be my friend here at school?”
“Sure Joel. That would be cool!”
As they were sitting there eating, one of the other second graders came over to where they were sitting. Behind him was a group of other boys.
“Hey, Joel. Who’s your new friend? He looks a little old to be in the second grade.” The boy had a very sarcastic tone to his voice. As he talked with Henry and Joel, all of the boys behind him started snickering.
“This is Henry, and he and I are best friends. And I don’t care what you think of him.”
After the boy was gone, Joel turned to Henry and said, “You don’t need to worry about Brian, he’s always making fun of me.”
Joel and Henry were best friends from that moment on. They spent all of second grade helping each other, playing with each other, and going to the each other’s houses to play video games. Henry really liked Joel and Joel liked Henry. Things are going to be all right for me, Henry thought to himself.
Things were all right for Henry for a long time. However, as time went on, Henry became taller and grew more hair on his face and body. By the time he was in fifth grade Henry’s classmates began to take a bigger interest in the way that Henry was different. Brian, the boy who teased him in second grade, began to make fun of Henry whenever other kids were around. He made fun of him for his height, which was now 5 1/2 feet, his large weight, about 140, and the small beard and mustache that Henry now had. Joel would always try to defend his friend, but Brian was too popular with the other kids for Joel to stop their laughing at Brian’s put-downs.
One time, when Henry was late to school, the teacher asked the class if they knew where Henry was. When Henry arrived a minute later, Brian cried out “Here’s Harry now.” There were some snickers from the class, and then one of Brian’s friends called out “You mean Harry and the Hendersons!”
Now the whole class was laughing, that was, everybody except Joel, Henry, and the fifth grade teacher. “Quiet down guys!” the teacher yelled. “Brian, you can please stay after while the rest of the kids go to lunch. Now please apologize to Henry.”
“Apologize,” the teacher ordered.
The class continued as normal, and when it was lunch time the teacher caught Brian before he left the room. Brian stayed back as the other kids went to lunch.
Henry and Joel took their regular seat in the cafeteria. Fifteen minutes into to the lunch break Brian and another four boys came up to Henry while he was eating. Brian grabbed Henry’s lunch tray and threw it into to the nearby trash can.
“Hey! I was eating that. I spent money on it!” Henry shouted, sounding hurt.
“What’s the big idea of getting me in trouble. You planned that didn’t you Harry!”
“I didn’t plan anything, Brian. You’re the one who started making fun of me. I didn’t do anything to you.”
“Oh yeah? Well you are doing something to me. You gross me out every time I look at you.” As Brian said this the group of boys behind him laughed.
“Leave him alone, Brian,” Joel cut in. “He hasn’t done anything to you so just leave him alone.”
“Oh, look! It’s Harry’s little side kick, Joel. What does this make? Your second friend in your life? It’s too bad that you had to make friends with Big Foot here.”
Joel, with tears streaking down his cheek, got up and ran at Brian with his fists in the air. He hit the bully in the gut, and Brian fell down. Then the boys that had stood behind Brian got in on the fight. They started hitting Joel and pushing him. Henry couldn’t stand watching his best friend getting hurt, so he got up and got in the fight.
By this time, chants of “fight, fight” were starting to erupt in tables around the one the boys were fighting at. Some teachers on monitor duty in the cafeteria ran to the table to stop the fighting. Henry had picked up one of the boys and was about to throw him when the teachers arrived. After they had broken it up and everything was settling down, they asked the kids who had started it. Brian and his friends all pointed to Joel who at this point had a bloody nose. They took Joel to the nurse and all of the other boys to the principal’s office.
After Joel’s nose had stopped bleeding he too went to the principal’s office. There the boys discussed with the principal how the fight had unfolded. After everything had been explained the principal gave Henry and Brian’s friends a warning not to get involved in fights anymore. Detention was given to these boys, and their parents were called. Joel and Brian, however, were sentenced to a day’s suspension for starting the fight.
The next day was the first that Henry had spent in school without Joel by his side. During the day he heard talk of the fight and how he had picked up the boy. He heard some people call him a freak and they accused him of starting a fight wanting to hurt Brian. All through the day people gave Henry bad looks and tried to avoid him. He couldn’t understand what he had done wrong. He only joined the fight to defend his friend. Henry felt very vulnerable without his best and only friend by his side.
From then on Joel and Henry always stuck up for one another. Both of them were constantly getting teased, mainly because of Henry’s abnormality. Henry was always getting made fun of with names like Harry, troll, ogre, and always a “freak” here and there. All through sixth grade to seventh grade this went on, particularly because in seventh grade Henry was 6 feet tall and weighed 170 pounds. He was huge for a middle schooler and had a full beard.
During this time there was only one other fight. It was the bully Brian who led a group of boys to hurt the two friends. Because of Henry’s strength though, he accidentally hurt a couple of the boys and got in trouble for the fight. Because of his large size and high level of testosterone, Henry was dangerous to get in a fight with. People began to fear him and would avoid him while telling their friends to do the same.
Brian couldn’t stand Henry. Whether it was out of jealousy or just pure prejudice, Brian wanted Henry dead. His head was full of pure evil whenever he thought about the giant. Brian had to show Henry who was really in control.
That day, after school, when Henry and Joel were walking home, Brian and a group of 8 of his friends came up to the two of them carrying baseball bats. Joel was afraid of what was going to happen.
“Get lost, Brian. We don’t need you around here,” Joel shouted at him. Brian could tell Joel was getting nervous.
“What’s the matter you dork? A little afraid, are you?” Brian scoffed at him.
Joel and Henry kept on walking. As they walked past Brian and his gang, Brian lifted his bat to intimidate Joel. Joel’s adrenaline took control of him and he hit Brian. Brian began to hit Joel over the back with his baseball bat as the other boys watched. Henry stood frozen in shock as he saw his friend beaten unconscious.
Then Henry charged at Brian and knocked him to the ground. Henry began kicking Brian and punching him. A couple of blows and Brian was unconscious, lying next to Joel on the ground. Henry got up and looked at Brian, stunned at what he had done to the bully. Then the rest of Brian’s gang started to surround the giant with their bats and evil glares.
“No, I- I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to! Please,” and then the boys started to hit the giant who had become their enemy. Henry’s screams where deafening as the eight boys attacked him. His last scream was cut short, however, with the crack of a bat across his head.