…..That incident with my friend at the Hug and Slug occurred over 40 years ago yet it is as clear today in my tiny brain box as if it happened yesterday. And as clear as that may be how many of us can really remember our first few years of life? Like most people I can recall brief snippets – like the time my older sister broke her arm on the teeter-totter in the small peckerette, I mean parkette, across the road from the house I was born in. And why do they call these places parkettes? Is that a feminine park? No, no nooo! A small park in the city where I spent most of my formative years is now called a parkette. So when does a parkette become a regular park you might ask? Don’t know. When it grows up I guess. I may have to ask the city’s parkette-heads for an answer to that one. But to be all inclusive in today’s world we will need a park, a parkette, a gay-park and a trans-park.
So how does one break their arm on a teeter-totter? Easy! My sister was sitting at one end of the teeter-totter with some of her friends at the other end. Up and down, up and down, up and down they went – good clean but oh so monotonous fun. Pretty boring stuff! And kids hate being bored. Especially brats and some of the little brats that day had a better idea of fun. I knew exactly what they were thinking, these brats. “Let’s get her, my sister, up as high as one can” one whispered, and then, in precise military fashion squealed “hold it down, hold it there, wait, then, on signal, jump off” at the opposite end of the teeter and watch how they taught her. Poor ole Mary. She took Newton’s Law of Gravity to heart and took the path of least resistance straight down into the ground landing on her arm: broken, physically, and in spirit. And those brats sure as hell had a good laugh. I think I even chuckled. After all she is my older sister. And, as it turned out, 1953 was the hottest year on record so Mary had to endure weeks of forearm sweat and severe, unrelenting and continuous itchiness. Oooooo! Too bad!
Besides shitting my pants from time to time I do remember spending countless hours, or what seemed so, in that park. I remember walking there alone one windy fall Sunday morning beside a huge cedar hedge. Then again everything is huge when you’re three years old. Like a celestial call from high on high, a branch came thundering down hitting me on the side of the head. I was knocked silly and still have the small indentation in my cranium to this day. It almost feels the same as those small soft dents on the top middle portion of the skull that babies have after they are born. And all fathers know of those little soft pliable dents in the cranium. For in our small, male, minute, mindless minds we all wonder what would happen if…if….if, I still shiver when I think about that one. So I now had two. One on the top of my head that eventually hardened up with nature and another carved by a wayward cedar branch that fell on my head that cold autumn Sunday morning. Eventually it healed itself. And where were my parents when all of this occurred? Don’t remember. But I can still feel the feeling of feeling that dent even as I am transcribing here. I shiver to think of it….