Childhood Tales of Near Death and Injury, Volume 1

So, there is literally nothing to do at work today.  I already ran all my daily reports, and while we were bombarded by crazy, overzealous complainers yesterday (it was only the second day of class, for Christ’s sake), so far all has been quiet on the office front.  If I wasn’t listening to Little People and the stupid water pipe in the ceiling wasn’t noisily convincing me I need to pee every five minutes, the silence would be maddening.  I’ve already read everything posted by bloggers I follow in the hours between me leaving work yesterday and this exact moment, as well as posting one myself.  I’ve already written my post for tomorrow (fair warning, it’s gonna be a tear-jerker) AND edited it.  So to kill the remaining hours until I can go to dance class, I’ve been rereading my last few posts—including the one I posted yesterday morning about how terrible it was to be twelve.

Man, that one was a downer.  I don’t want to give the impression that I have no happy memories from my childhood, so I thought I’d share a few of them.  Alas, all the stories I can think of right now, while amusing anecdotes, are not really that happy.  In fact they all involve some form of serious injury, mild emotional trauma, or what I in my childlike mind interpreted as near death experiences.

Oh well.  Here goes.


Vol. 1:  The Tale of the Bunk Bed Ladder

I’ve always remember this happening when I was about five, but I was probably a lot younger (my entire timeline of when things happened before I was ten is a little skewed).  It was before my dad had enclosed and remodeled the back porch of our originally two-bedroom house into a third bedroom, so my brother and sister and I all shared a room.  This was much easier when I was still in a crib.  I don’t remember where my brother was sleeping by the time I’d grown out of my crib, but it was time for me to be a big girl and sleep in the bed.  On this particular night, my mother asked me if I wanted to sleep in the top bunk with my sister, but I proudly refused this offer.  I was determined to sleep in the bottom bunk all by myself.

Needless to say, I woke up in the middle of the night from a nightmare.  It was terrifyingly dark in our room, since we lived out in the country far from street lights, so going back to sleep on my lonesome was just not going to happen.  I lay there trembling, trying to decide what to do, when the idea hit me.  My big sister was a mere three feet above my head in the top bunk!  All I had to do was get up there, and she’d protect me from all that was scary.

The problem with that logic was that my sister was almost five years my senior.  Therefore she was big enough not to need the detachable bunk bed ladder; she could just climb up the side.  I was far too small to accomplish this, though I think I tried silently for several minutes.  But I was just big enough to move the ladder from its out-of-the-way position against the wall and instead lean it against the side of my sister’s bunk.

I made one tragic mistake, a mistake any small child who’s not supposed to be moving the ladder without help could make:  I put it on backwards and thus completely unsecured.  So when I got about halfway up to my sister’s bed, my slight weight superseded the ladder’s ability to stay tilted, and to counterbalance it came off the side of the bunk.  I remember the next bit happening in two distinct parts:

I let go of the ladder in surprise, falling to the floor flat on my back.  The ladder teetered ambivalently; would it fall back against the bed or forward on top of me?  I lay there in wait, paralyzed by fear, too stunned from my fall to get out of the way in case it chose to fall on top of me.

Then it fell on top of me.

Nowadays, I don’t think this story would even be possible; such bunk beds don’t seem to exist anymore.  Everything is permanently attached, or at least much safer.  But this was in the very late eighties, and the bunk beds were quite old even then.  So not only was the ladder detachable and therefore fall-on-small-child-able, it was meant to be secured to the side of the bunk beds by two small curved bits of metal.

One of those bits of metal hit my squarely in the temple, just behind my hairline.

My resulting screams of pain and terror woke the whole house.  My parents were in my room before my siblings could even figure out what happened much less extract my shrieking form from beneath the accursed ladder.  Through sobs and wails I was able to convey the story to my mom, who took me to the bathroom and held a washcloth against my head.  The bleeding wasn’t stopping, so my crocodile tears and I were piled into the car and driven the 30+ miles to the nearest hospital emergency room, someone reading me jokes and funny stories from a Reader’s Digest on the way to keep me from completely freaking out again.  At the hospital, my head was numbed, the hair was shaved from the immediate area, and I was given my first ever stitches.  I don’t remember how many, but it sure seemed like a lot.  I was then given a lollipop and sent home with my exhausted family.

The next time I slept in the bottom bunk by myself, my parents made sure the ladder was appropriately secured to the bed, just in case.


I’ll finish the others and post them at some point.  I was a clumsy child, so I’m sure they’ll be plenty more where this came from…

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4 Responses to Childhood Tales of Near Death and Injury, Volume 1

  1. Yarns of furniture failure and potential serious injury always garner a call to Boots Randolph.

  2. Pingback: Childhood Tales of Near Death and Injury, Volume 2 | The Perks of Being a Gemini

  3. Pingback: Childhood Tales of Near Death and Injury, Volume 3 | The Perks of Being a Gemini

  4. Pingback: Childhood Tales of Near Death and Injury, Volume 4 | The Perks of Being a Gemini

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