July 26 – Looking back on childhood, I sometimes wonder how we survived… I suppose one of the most ugly-looking messes that Ma had to take care of as far as I was concerned, was my mashed heel. All of us had been up on the hills at “our lots” that Pa owned at one time. We had enjoyed a good day of playing and picnic fare, enough play that we younger ones were tired. Ed either offered to take me home on his bike, or I begged him to.
However, we were soon zipping down a long hill going faster and faster, his wheels turning round and round more often as the speed increased. I was sitting on the back fender, my short legs held out as far as possible from the spinning wheels, my hands clutching his waist. Finally my legs got so tired I couldn’t hold them out any longer, and they fell against the fender supports. Then my left heel some how became entangled in the wheel, and the fast-turning spokes continued to rip away at the flesh. Was I too scared to cry out? Did it all happen so fast I didn’t quite realize what was happening? I don’t know.
But by the time Ma got back with the others, all of them walking the mile or two, Ed had put me down on the settee in the living room and was trying to comfort me. Ma took one look at my mashed heel, got out the egg white and a clean piece of sheet for a bandage, and dressed the mess as best she could. No after-effects except that the remaining scar still makes it necessary for me to get shoes that fit the left foot first when buying a pair of shoes so that the heel isn’t rubbing.
Another day we four younger kids had been swimming and playing around Gene Falvey’s dam all morning. Tired and chilled, we made ourselves comfortable on the plank walk under the little rose arbor. My sister Skeets and I were lying on the walk, Rich was on top of the arbor, and Pete was just walking around here and there, enjoying himself as the rest of us lolled around, just loafing and talking.
Then Pete found a hatchet that had been left outside by some careless one. As he was swinging it around and pretending to chop down trees, Rich yelled out, “Hit her with it, Pete! Hit her with it!” Of course, the rest of us knew he was just joking and didn’t mean for Pete to really carry out his command. But Pete, too young to know the damage he might inflict, swung the hatchet in a quick movement and chopped my forehead open before I had time to protect myself with my hands.
Amid the shouts and screams of fear from the others, I jumped up yelling and screaming and ran to Ma, as always the only port in a storm. Same old treatment. Down on the settee, blood mopped up, egg white and tape applied, and today a scar that is hidden by the hair that falls over my forehead. – CHRIS the SURVIVOR