Wednesday, April 13, 2011
April 13th : My "Special" Day
On this date, far too many years ago, I was born in Champaign/Urbana, Illinois to a still very young couple. The doctor marveled about my "perfect shell ears" and the nurses tied my spiky hair in tiny bows. Must have been quite a sight . . . ;-/ Anyway, a week later I would be taken home to a jealous brother nearly three years older who would go to great and creative lengths to inflict pain on me. The first that I can remember was trying out one of many forts we built in the back yard. We used pieces of flag stones and lumber scraps, blankets and old rugs. The moment I crawled in, it collapsed on me. Between my hysterical, pained cries, I heard laughing interspersed with "you're OK, stop being such a baby." Incurably gullible, that winter my brother convinced me to tie short boards to my snowboots with thick rope to ski down the ravine beside our house. The idea was that once I got to the bottom, he would ski down to join me. Oh, I got to the bottom all right -- on my face. Leaves under the snow caught the edges of the boards a soon as I started shooshing. We spent a lot of time in that ravine, making leaf and stick sail boats to float down the stream at the bottom. We both lost shoes in quicksand and got bruised, scraped, gashed and bug-bitten and loved every minute of it. My next near-death experience was not long after I mastered walking up and down stairs rather than crawling them. Our first house had a narrow, enclosed stairway that was quite steep. I doubt it would pass code now. I was wary of them, but careful to go slowly so as not to lose my balance or footing. I'm not sure how many steps I'd come down before little glass balls started bouncing down the steps. The moment I realized they were marbles, I took flight -- landing at the bottom in a shrieking heap. As I lay there crying my eyes out, Big Bro innocently came down the stairs to ask me "does it hurt?" My left wrist was broken and the shock of the sudden fall had sent me into another reality, totally focused on pain and terror. Before Mom came in from hanging laundry on the clothes line, Big Bro brought a decorative pillow from the sofa and slid it under my head. Maybe he thought it would distract Mom from her little girl's delirious screams. It didn't. She knew right away what had transpired and whisked me off to the hospital. To this day, I regret not witnessing Big Bro's punishment. That summer was torturous for this 4-year-old in a plaster cast from her fingers up to her elbow. It hurt for weeks and I couldn't get it wet. As summer heated up, the itching under the cast intensified to the point of insanity. Whatever punishment was doled out to Big Bro wasn't nearly harsh enough to make up for my suffering. Now that we are both old farts, married and living in different parts of the country, we don't see much of each other or even see eye to eye about much, especially politics. Still, I've forgiven him for his youthful sins and focus on the far more numerous good times. My family will not allow me to ignore my birthdays, so I guess I have to get over the fact that I'm getting older. Besides, the alternative isn't so hot. So to every person also born on this date -- I'm sorry! I hope your 13th birthday wasn't also on a Friday the 13th!!