Sunday, February 9, 2020

A Tale...true

Across the road from my house when I was a pre-teen, there was a deep woodland where the neighborhood kids played, mostly war games. It was the 40's. We were nurses, soldiers, civilians, had stick guns, and really got into role playing. There were trails all through those woods and small hidey-holes and bush barricades. One year the gang decided to all pitch in together and dig an underground hut. We "borrowed" shovels and other tools, unknown to parents, and dug out our space in the ground. This activity was a big secret. Pieces of wood, nails, hammers also were part of the project. Finally it was large enough with a scooped-out entrance to be a fun place to be in for short times. There were comic books, benches, flashlights and candles too. We had smuggled in Tootsie Rolls, bubble gum, lollipops, and crackers. The flat roof was made of wood planks covered with branches and leaves to make the entire project invisible. At least we thought it was. It's a wonder we didn't set the woods on fire!

One day, when playing around the area, I stepped on a leftover board directly onto an old embedded rusty nail that went right into my left foot joint that was under the big toe. Yeow! I stepped on the board with the other foot and pulled my sneakered, punctured foot loose. It took some work. I was by myself and later returned home never saying anything to anyone about my injury. It didn't even bleed. About 3 or four days later when my foot was screaming with pain and was hot, even around my ankle, I told my mother about it. She had me soak it in epson salts and gave me sulfa tablets. The next thing I remember was being taken to the hospital and having to have surgery. They said they had to scrape the bone. Apparently not only did I have blood poisoning, I had terrible reaction to sulfa. It was something to do with bone marrow malfunction. My dad had to solicit his lodge members for blood donors and there were many transfusions. The numerous penicillin shots, given regularly in one side of my bottom and then in the other for days, yes - DAYS seemed to get me on a recovery road.

Now there is nothing more trouble in the passageways of a Catholic hospital than an energetic 10 year old, recovering in a wheelchair, running down everyone in the halls, including nuns. They were very glad when I was discharged, so I was later told.

The end of the story here is that I had to stay in the sunroom on the studio couch all day that summer watching my friends rollerskating, bike riding, game playing right outside the windows. The Good Humor man came regularly and my only treat was ice cream once in a while. I read books, Oh, did I read! My mother had many of her and her mother's books saved. Pollyanna and Nancy Drew series bored me. I then turned to the very old volumes of Grimm's Fairytales, Hans Christian Andersen, Aesop's Fables, and poetry. The old, old books were smelly, pages cracked, and very scary reading with horrible etchings but I soaked it up and felt special to have read them! These books stimulated my imagination beyond belief! Today's versions rate zero - nothing at all like those of that time.
I really think this experience demonstrated to me that "telling it like it is" is the best road to travel.

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