Friday, June 3, 2011

The Long Hot Summer ~ Part II

Somehow mothers know when their children need them. Mine was there in a flash when the porch swing overturned, dumping me on the back of my head. I was bleeding badly when she helped me up and led me through the house to the bathroom where she cleaned the wound. I cried as if I were dying. I thought I was. My dad looked at it and decided it may need stitches, meaning they’d have to load me into the car and head for the hospital. I was agreeable until my dad made the mistake of saying, “They’ll have to shave your hair.”

Whoa! No way! Not my long, thick hair that everyone refers to as my “crowning glory”.

“I’m not going if they have to shave my hair!” I said. My mother put her arm around me and assured me it would grow back by the time school started. “Remember how fast your hair grows.” But I dug my heels in, pursed my lips and said, “No; I’m not going!”

My parents looked at each other quizzically for a few seconds, and then my mother said, “Well, let’s have another look.” She wiped at it some more with a cold cloth and finally said, “It seems to have stopped bleeding.” Maybe we can put some [i]mercurochrome on it and, since it’s right in the middle, we can part your hair and pull it to each side so that it stays away from the wound.”

My dad didn’t seem to agree, but wasn’t one to argue with my mother, so he said, “We can try it, but if it’s bleeding in the morning, I’m taking her to a doctor for stitches if I have to carry her!”

Mother nodded in agreement and we smiled at each other. “Will we still go on the picnic,” I whined. “We’ll have to wait and see how you’re doing,” she said.

I woke up early and ran to the mirror. I looked fine. Grabbing the hand mirror and looking at the back of my head, I could see dried blood and it didn’t look very pretty, but I was okay and anxious to go to New River.
So both parents inspected my head and decided we’d go, agreeing that we’d watch closely for any problems and head home at the first sign of one.

Mother made a ponytail on each side of my head and it looked pretty cute! Necessity had given me a new hairdo that I could wear later, too. 

My dad loaded the food and all our picnic supplies in the car; we stopped and picked up my friend, Carol, and were off for a day of fun. Carol didn’t know about my accident and all she could see was my face. “Oh, I love your hair!” she said. Turning around so she could see the back of my head, I giggled when she drew back and said, “Eew! What happened?” She grimaced when I told her the details, but soon lost interest. We were going to have fun. To young girls of 12, in the summertime, that’s all that mattered.

My head wound healed in a short time and the incident became just a bad memory. But this one, as well as others, taints any description I might give of a “perfect” childhood.

There were terrible bicycle wrecks that left painful wounds for days and scars forever. Many times, I had stripes on my legs from peach tree switches my mother used to punish me for misbehaving... and I must not forget the time I slipped off the slimy raft and would have drowned if a neighbor hadn’t fished me out of the water by the hair of my head.

All things considered, I did have a wonderful childhood. Scrapes and bruises are, after all, just a part of growing up, but I think sometimes, we tend to gloss over the bad and relate only the good when writing about our lives. I can’t help but wonder if that gives readers a false impression of us and diminishes their own self-esteem.

[i] An agent that was once popular as a topical antiseptic. Its perceived effect was based solely on the fact that it turned the skin bright red.


charlie said...

Interesting two parter. I like it. I think you might be right about glossing over the bad and only telling the good. I think it's okay though. you just try to make people happy and that's not a bad thing.

Anonymous said...

I like the way you wrapped it up. Its a good post like everything you post. I've never seen a bad one.

sam said...

very good peg. Iknew it would be a good finish. sam

Anonymous said...

Nice post.

Anonymous said...

Both parts are good, peg. your stories always hold my interest till the last word. wish I could write like that.

luella said...

you always leave me with something to think about. after reading this, I thought about many things in my own childhood that weren't good. your right. we do forget the bad and hold on ot the good. i never thought of that before.