I enjoy this contest. This month’s was a tough one to write about because last month’s story really belongs here, but I didn’t want to write about the same thing.
Read my “Just when I thought my life couldn’t get any crazier…” submission.
Just when I thought my life couldn’t get any crazier… I turned six-years-old. When I was five, during the fall of Kindergarten around Thanksgiving, I started feeling rotten and asked to go to the nurse. Five year olds rarely feel lousy, but I didn’t feel right. Not long after arriving at the nurse, I vomited and started getting the chills.
I didn’t know better as I was just a kid. I thought it was just getting sick, that’s all. I went to the doctor, and because my temp was already at 104, she suggested going to the ER. Because of my cough, they gave me the pleasure of sitting on a cold x-ray table wearing nothing but undergarments. By then, my temp was close to 106.
Turned out I had pneumonia and my fever hit 106. I vaguely remember the hospital room, though I recall my parents’ friends giving me a Holly Hobby doll (I hated dolls) and an ugly, giant stuffed pig. Neither lived with me for long.
That experience should be it for a while. Little did I know I was going to hit with two more situations that were the subject of many conversations. Not long after having pneumonia, I celebrated my sixth birthday.
Spring arrived, a time to get ready for Passover at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. My fondest memories of Grandma include playing cards with her. We played Casino, Gin, Go Fish, and other forgotten games. All we needed was the 52 cards and we got busy.
About a week before Passover while visiting my grandparents, Grandma sent me over to Aunt Sara’s down the street to deliver the disgusting fruit slices, a Passover treat. What seemed like an ordinary day spending it with my grandparents became a lifetime memory.
Grandma and I sat on the tall, heavy chairs in the dining room playing cards. Grandpa worked in the kitchen getting it ready for Passover. I didn’t have to guess what he was doing as I could smell the fresh paint he used to brighten the kitchen. Unexpectedly, I heard yelling, but couldn’t understand the words because of my deafness. Turning my head toward the hallway leading to the kitchen, I saw an orange glow.
Like most disaster stories, it happened so fast. Grandma and I got up and ran out the front door without thinking. I guess I ran across the street to the neighbor I knew while Grandma went to get help. Grandpa remained in the kitchen and apparently tried calling the fire department from there. Except for shivering while sitting on the sidewalk, the rest of the sunny Texas afternoon was a blur. Although, I became angry at myself for not grabbing my sandals that sat at the bottom of the stairs by the front door.
My parents arrived and Mom had on her 1776 / 1976 jacket in celebration of the American sesquicentennial birthday. She leaned against a tree, crying because Grandpa was on the stretcher being carried into the ambulance due to smoke inhalation. He was fine and stayed at the hospital overnight to clear his lungs. Beyond that, my only other memory was of the unpleasant stink after the fire died out. That and Grandpa caused the fire by cleaning up the spilled paint with gasoline.
Grandma and Grandpa lived in an apartment while the house was rebuilt. We celebrated Passover at my house and something I didn’t know until years later; Grandpa brought Mom a Heather plant. When I celebrated a birthday alone and very pregnant because Paul was working late, Mom came over with cake and Heather. I loved that plant and it lasted a long time until the baby learned to walk and managed to destroy it.
A few years later, I gave Mom the same plant for Passover in honor of Grandpa’s memory and thanking her for her hard work.
Enough craziness, wasn’t it? Unfortunately, life had one more surprise. Winter returned and during the holiday break from school, my parents sent me to the YMCA to have fun, but I’m sure it was so they wouldn’t have to put up with my complaining of boredom.
The gym had a giant trampoline that I enjoyed. While we waited our turns, the kids and I sat on the edge of it feeling every bounce. Somehow, I lost my balance and fell with my arm slipping between the springs. When I got down off the trampoline, my arm hurt. I don’t think I cried. The counselor had me sit down by the wall until the end of the day. Stupid, huh? My arm hurt and all they did was sit me down?
When Mom picked me up, she noticed my arm looked funny. She took me to the doctor who sent me to the hospital where x-rays showed a crack in my wrist. I went home from the hospital that night wearing a cast. I celebrated my seventh birthday at a roller skating rink (it was 1977, OK?) and the cast joined me in welcoming a new year of less craziness. Indeed, 1977 was an unmemorable year as I finally escaped disasters until 2003.