Thursday, December 3, 2009

Writing 101

I've been reading some books about writing ( Stephen King's, On Writing...very helpful and entertaining) and memoirs or story telling (Telling Your Own Stories, by Donald Davis) in hopes of honing my writing and story telling skills (bonus for you, my blog readers, if I can properly apply what I've read). Mr. King likens writing to telepathy -- a meeting of the minds, time and space apart. Mr. Davis talks about writing prompts and lists several in his book. These prompts help to jog memories of unforgettable people, places or happenings.

It was the summer of 1965. I was three years old, but would be turning four in the fall. I don't remember exactly how the day began because I start remembering this particular day shortly before and after the temporarily life altering event occurred.

My sisters and I were playing with the McNamara kids (they had roughly the same amount of kids in their family as we did at the time, but would eventually outpace our eight) and a couple of other neighborhood kids. We were at the McNamara's house which was behind ours, separated by big back yards that butted-up against one another. We were playing a favorite childhood game of Hide-and-Seek.

I looked around for a hiding spot; with all those kids running around it would be slim pickins. I quickly and quietly found my spot in the garage. The door was down, so the garage was dark inside, and no one would be able to find me in there.

I don't know how long I waited (the concept of time is elusive for little ones) but it seemed like eons. I got antsy. Why hadn't I been discovered yet? I thought I had better take a look and see what was going on outside. What better vantage point than the window in the garage door? I left my secret hiding place and made my way to the door. I placed one foot on the metal railing, grabbed hold of a higher rail with my hands, brought the other foot up alongside foot number one, continued this way, climbing my way up to the garage door window.

Before I could peer out the window, I felt the door shutter under my hands and feet as it was thrown open by Casper (I kid you not), one of the neighborhood kids (he wasn't a McNamara). The door flew open so quickly I did not have time to jump off: I could only hold on for dear life.

The garage door opened fully as I clung to the rails. I hung precariously as I looked down from what seemed like a thousand feet and saw Casper and all the other kids standing together, looking up at me. They were pointing and laughing as I felt my little hands weakening their tenuous grasp on the door. I yelled for Casper... put the door back down. There was more laughing and pointing as I lost my grip.

As I fell, my left leg struck the garage's concrete floor first with the rest of my body piling on top of it. I couldn't get up from the floor. The pain in my leg made the bone feel like it was on fire. I wailed as two of my sisters picked me up. My oldest sister held me under the arms so my head rested on her chest and shoulder (she said my wailing hurt her ears). My sister who is one year older than me, gingerly held onto my legs. They picked their way through the McNamara's big back yard and our big back yard. The trip to our backdoor seemed to be miles long for us. I was in pain and crying and my sisters were struggling to keep a hold on me.

Finally inside our house, my sisters placed me on the living room floor and got our mother. Mom looked me over, did not see any blood or outward sign of injury (like a bone sticking out of tissue) so she sent me to bed in hopes I would feel better the next day. I could not walk to my bed with my painful leg so I combat crawled down the hallway and pulled myself into bed, not bothering to get out of my play clothes.

The next morning my mom called for us to "Rise and shine" as she always did. I was unable to rise, let alone shine. She came in to see why I wasn't up, saw my swollen leg and promptly took me to the doctor.

Turns out my leg was broken.


  1. Why did'nt Mom have you soak it in salt water. It worked for everything else that happened to us. Michael

  2. What a great story! You took me right there with you. Great job.

  3. Oh the laughter as I imagine you hanging on for dear life and then the horror of your painful broken leg. Being a mom who yelled at her son for being late to dinner and then initially having no sympathy for what was sadly discovered the next morning to be a broken ankle, I'm gonna say that your Mom probably felt pretty bad. I would like to think though, that a combat crawl would have been a real heads up that there was something more than a "deep bruise" going on!
    Great story.

  4. I really don't recall that day, must have had a an earache, I had lots of those, just remember you at the lake and the aftermath, you didn't want to walk on it after you had it taken off, still did the cammo crawl.....Kit

  5. Your broken leg saved my life. I would have drowned if not for you spying me floating toward shore. Jennifer

  6. Poor baby bird ;( ........Chris