A Mother’s Strength: Dealing With Injuries

[52 weeks of Personal Genealogy & History Prompt:  Illness & Injuries…This doubles as my Fearless Females post for 13th of March, A Moment of Strength]

That's me on the left, the youngest, with my siblings and our pets

That's me on the right, the youngest, with my siblings and our pets and a days worth of laundry on the clothes lines

I wasn’t injured very often as a child.  At least, most of injuries were mostly due to my siblings rather than my own stupidity.  Always blame the siblings!

This prompt made me think back to when I was 7 years old.  My brother was building a tree house in one of apricot trees and I was assisting him.  He was 3 years older than me and already handy with tools.

My Mom yelled for me to come it to take my bath.  I wanted to hurry so I’d be done it time to watch Hogan’s Heroes, which I thought was hilarious.

I climbed down to the lowest branch and jumped.  I landed right on a nail sticking up out of board that my brother had left on the ground.  The nail went through the sole of my tennis shoes through the bottom of my foot.

I was in a rush and I didn’t want to seem like a baby, so I yanked the board out.  Then I ran to the back door leaving a trail of blood behind me and thinking my Mom would never notice.

When I went in side, my Mom immediately noticed my trail and rushed me to the bathroom.  My shoe was filled with blood.  She tended to the wound in her calm, brisk manner.  My wound was taken care of, I took my bath, and then the next day I was driven to the doctor for the precautionary tetanus shot.

My brother was so angry with me.  After my Mom tended to me, she called him in and he got a scolding.  My brother was angry that I told on him.  He thought I should have climb back up the tree and perhaps arranged an alibi.

I  remember that incident as if it were yesterday (and it wasn’t, believe me!)  I mentioned it awhile back to my Mom.  We were laughing over my brother’s reaction.  Then my Mom share something with me.   She may have been calm as she tended the wound.  But, after she shooed us away and sent us to the doctors, she fell apart.  Her nerves took over and she would shake uncontrollably.

I bet their were alot of Mom’s like this.  Emergencies happened, they tended to whatever child was injured in a professional and calm manner, and then later lost it.  They maintained that aura that everything was going to be just fine.  Deep down in side they wanted to cry along with you.

I learned a couple of things from that incident.  Never leave nails sticking out of boards.  It’s no fun at all ripping them out of your foot.  I also learned that when it’s necessary a person can draw on something deep down inside of them that allows them to do what is necessary like tend a wound.  They get through it and leave the crumbling for later.


My Elementary School Seemed So Big

[This post is part of the 52 weeks of personal genealogy and history series…week 44: Elementary School]

I started school in 1969.  See how pathetic I looked in kindergarten?  I didn’t trust the photographer at all!


When I started school, our neighborhood was bustling.  Their were kids popping out of everywhere.  We had two elementary schools within three blocks of us and they were filled to capacity.  Because of it, we were bussed to a school at 10 minutes away up the hill.

My elementary school was one building with a long hall.  When I was little I thought that school was huge.  I remember that the kindergarten class was at one end.  Then on the left hand side it started with 1st grade through 3rd and on the opposite side it was 4th through 6th.  There was a double door at the end of the hall that lead to the main entrance, the offices, and the cafeteria.

The cafeteria was also our assembly room.  At one end was the kitchen.  At the other end was a stage for our school programs.

Outside, by the kindergarten classroom, there was the portable where the reading center was.  This was where all the tutoring took place.

The playground was pretty large.  We had a jungle gym area with bars to climb on.  The black top with four square, tetherball, and hop scotch areas.  There was a field off to the side of the cafeteria where we played softball, football, and parachute.  Then there was the upper hill, which was off limits except to the older kids.

Our classrooms were normal sized I think.  Almost every year I went to school I was in a divided class (1st and 2nd, 2nd and 3rd, etc.) and they were large enough for about 15 of each grade.  If I remember correctly there were two kindergarten classes and then one class for each grade and one split class room.  That comes out to 10 or 11 classrooms.  Hey, you’re talking 35 years ago.  I can barely remember where the bathroom is in houses I’ve visited recently.

When I look back, of the three elementary schools in my area, this was probably the smallest.  Most of the others had multiple buildings and large playgrounds.

I was one of the good kids who never got in trouble and always finished my work early.  So, I got to experience some of the other areas of the school.  I spent considerable time in the reading center helping kids learn to read.  I worked in the cafeteria as a milk monitor and kitchen help (try to get me to do that at home!).  I also worked in the office helping the secretary, Mrs. Phelps.

I remember that we never got to enter through the main entrance.  The bus dropped us off on the left hand side, so we always went straight to the playground.  But, when they had some sort of activity at night we got to enter through the main entrance.  We could wait to run up the steps so we could trip to slide down the hand rails.  LOL

My elementary school was integrated long before I got there.  But, it was only a couple of years before that girls won the right to wear pants to school.

As a child I thought this school was huge.  But, then I went to Junior High.  And then, my high school dwarfed both of them.

I haven’t been back to my school since I graduated 6th grade.  It’s still there.  It got pretty run down by the 1980s and the neighborhood became a little poorer.  They’ve upgraded it in the last few years.

It was one of the lucky ones.  In the late 1970s, they began to assess population and determined that their were less children in the area.  One of the larger elementary schools was sold and then turned into apartment buildings.  Others vanished, too.

I wonder what I would think if I went back to Hillside today?  I think if I went back today that old elementary school would seem very small.



Let The Rabbit Eat Trix

[This post was written for the 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History, Week 21: Commercials]

If you were a child of the 70s, you probably saw alot of commercials during Saturday morning cartoons.  That’s when you heard about the Honey Comb Hideout, went cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, and and you knew all about Conjunction Junction.

In 1976, it was the bicentennial.  Everyone and everything was plugged into our country’s history.  That was the first year I got to vote–on whether the rabbit got to eat Trix.

You know the commercial.  The luckless rabbit plotting to get his bowl of Trix.  Each time, he missed out because “Trix were for kids!”

So, in 1976, General Mills did a bunch of commercial asking whether the rabbit should be allowed to eat Trix.  You sent in a box top and got a nifty button showing your support or opposition.

I always thought the commercials were cruel.  Let the darn rabbit eat his cereal!  So, I sent my vote in and got my button.  I still have it, in fact:

The final vote was overwhelmingly in favor of the rabbit getting his Trix.  I don’t know why, but it seems to me that in the follow up commercial, they announced the vote and then somehow the rabbit was tricked out of his bowl.  I could be mistaken on that.

Those were the days, eh?  A naive kid could send in a coupon and a couple of boxed tops and cast their vote…even get a button in return.  Shoot!  A kid could get a toy by sending in the box tops and the price of postage.  Nowadays, your Mom’s got to right a check to get the special prizes.

I’ve always taken voting seriously.  Maybe it was the Trix rabbit campaign that got me started. LOL