First, however, I have to apologize to all of my cousins and my cousins' children and my cousins' grandchildren. For the last 45 years, every time a child in this family even looks like they're thinking about jumping in a bed, they hear the inevitable words, "You'll break your leg. Laurie broke her leg and she was in the hospital for weeks!" Unlike the little boy in The Christmas Story ("You'll shoot your eye out, kid."), they know this is no idle threat. We have pictures.
In the fall of 1958, I had just turned 3 years old, my sister (who is one year and one week younger than me) had just turned 2 years old and my mom was six months pregnant with my brother. She and my dad had gone out for a rare and well-deserved evening ALONE and left us with my grandmother, grandfather and uncle.
Not long after my parents left, my sister and I went to play in my uncle's room. My Uncle Wayne is only six years older than me and on rare occasions, he would allow us in his room. We were not, however, allowed to touch any of his stuff. So, to entertain ourselves, we all started jumping in the bed. You've heard the saying, "It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt." I can testify to that.
At some point in the festivities, I jumped out of the bed and landed on the floor and began wailing. I had broken my left thigh. My uncle picked me up and put me back on the bed. (Give him a break, he was only 9 years old.) By comparison, the previosly mentioned wailing was but a whimper. Until very recently, I didn't realize that everyone thought I had broken my leg by falling ON the bed rather than OFF the bed. No one knew Wayne had picked me up and put me back in the bed.
My poor grandmother came running into the room but I don't remember many details after that until the ride to the hospital. I was in the hospital in traction for two weeks in a cast from the waist down. When I was discharged from the hospital, I had to live in a wheelchair for six weeks. It was this huge contraption that actually laid down. (I have more pictures but they're at mom's. I'll post them later.)
I healed up just fine physically and emotionally and grew into the maniac you see (read?) before you. I list below some of the memories I still have of my ordeal. Keep in mind that I was only three but I remember this stuff distinctly. Think about that the next time you do something stupid in front of your toddlers.
- Sitting on someone's lap in the car on the way to the hospital and crying because I knew we had to go over a railroad track.
- The balloons someone gave me that we hung on the bed.
- Having to wear a diaper in the hospital and I was was so humiliated that I would take it off and throw it on the floor.
- Watching The Invisible Man on the television in the hospital room with my dad and my mom fussing at him for letting me watch a horror show and me telling her that it was okay because I liked it. (I still love old horror movies.)
- My sister always wanting to get in the wheelchair with me and my mom would let her. That pissed me off.
- The wheelchair was too big to fit through the kitchen door so I had to stay in the living room while they were all in there. I especially remember them cooking pancakes and I couldn't be in the kitchen with them. That made me sad.
- The doctor whistling the whole time he was removing my cast with this huge, horribly loud saw. I was crying my head off and he just kept trying to make me laugh. It didn't work, bless his heart.
- The scars on my ankle and the front of my leg from the sores made by having a cast on my leg for six weeks.
There's the whole story as promised. I'll post more pictures later.