Tag Archives: children

It’s Amazing I Survived Childhood Part 3

jump out of window

Here’s another episode about why it’s amazing I am still alive. I am not sure when I became aware of consequences, but I certainly knew it by the time I was seven and in the second grade. We lived on base at the Armed Force Staff College in Norfolk, VA. If you are not familiar with military life, imagine packing up all your stuff and moving every two years. If you had too much stuff to have in your apartment or house, you either stored it or threw it out. My dad enjoyed the latter. I found my Patty Play Pal in the trash room, and I reacted as though she was murdered.

Back to our story. I did not make deep personal friendships at the age of seven. I doubt anyone does. I played with the kids who lived in our stairwell building (think skuzzy apartment building). I am sure I did not pick my friends for their brains, but then again, this this story shows I wasn’t firing all my synapses, either.

Living on an Army base in the 60s was pretty ideal. The fort was gated, and parents kept an eye on each others kids. My dad was in charge of our building, and he took his job very seriously. There were storage rooms on the second floor of every building, and no children were ever, EVER allowed in them. The doors were always locked. When I walked by them, I always felt nervous. I always wondered what on earth was in there that had to be locked up. Treasure, monsters, what?

Life went on happily until one day my little posse and I were on the second floor and found one of the storage rooms unlocked and opened! I was the oldest of the group at seven. I remember April, May and June were there. I thought that their names were beautiful. Jeeze, who does that to their kids??? Their evil two year old brother Adam was there, too.

We decided to take a look. We all trouped in, each of us very nervous and excited to be in the forbidden room. It was just luggage! That’s all that was in there!!! I told everyone not to shut the door because it had a deadbolt that I would not be able to reach, and wouldn’t know how to open. Naturally, the stupid two year old slammed that f*cking door with an evil grin.

You would have thought my father was going to beat me to death for being in that room. I absolutely freaked out. If I had been paying attention, I would have seen all the other kids were pretty calm.

I yanked on the door, tried the knob and the door would not open. It must have automatically locked and needed a key for someone to get in. In my infinite wisdom, I decided I needed to leave the room to avoid being caught by my dad. I don’t know what I thought he would do to me, but it certainly wouldn’t warrant what I decided for my plan of action.

I was panic stricken. I decided the only thing to do was to JUMP OUT OF THE SECOND STORY WINDOW. Really. The old window opened very easily. I remember the paint was very chipped. By now the other kids were saying they didn’t think this was a very good idea. I thought this was an excellent idea. Every child for themself. I crawled through the window, and hung onto the windowsill. I remember Taps was playing (this is played when flags go down on bases). I knew that I would be ok, because Superman could fly, so I could, too. Oh my God!!!! I must have been so incredibly stupid! Really, really stupid. I let go, it took about a second to hit the ground.

God, it hurt. I lay there stunned. I had all the air knocked out of me, and I was gasping for breath. As soon as I landed, I realized I had made an error in judgement. By now I could hear the kids screaming and banging on the locked door, trying to tell someone I had jumped out the window. I dragged myself into the bushes and hid. That seems logical, right?

The kids must have been rescued immediately, because I could hear my family calling for me. Once again, I decided I was in trouble, so I just stayed in the bushes, quietly going into shock.

I started dragging myself from the back of the building to the side where our backdoor was. My brother saw me, picked me up and brought me in. I remember bits and pieces after that: driving to Richmond to the hospital, getting lots and lots of xrays, and happily watching The Flintstones in the ER. Everyone was saying it was a miracle that I survived. When we got home, all the parents came over to see me. I felt like Polly Anna, or Dorothy at the end of The Wizard of Oz.

I cracked my skull. About 2 weeks later, I broke out in these funny bruises. I missed three days of school, and then went on to more high spirited adventures. My mom always told people I fell out of the window.

I say, I am crazy, but In a good way.

Adios muchachos!  

Patty

Advertisements

Patty and the Nun and First Grade

tracing-number-2Alphabet Tracing
Raise you hand if you went to Catholic Elementary School. No, don’t I can’t see you! I don’t remember much about school until eighth grade which was hands down the worst school year of my then 13 years on earth.

I went to school on the first day of first grade wearing my little maroon uniform and matching beanie. Things went well until recess when I asked this girl if I could play with her and her little clique. Her name was Stella Mack, which I thought was perfectly ugly name. She said no! I sobbed like there was no tomorrow. Three little girls came over and said they would play with me. I don’t remember their names, but one I called Flat Top because her hair was quite flat on the top of her head. I went home, promptly fainted, and did not go back until after Thanksgiving vacation. By that time, I was reading my sister’s 5th grade reader with ease.

On the first day back to school that nun tripped me up. The nun (who we all called Sr. Mary Tissue Paper) asked me to spell the word “two”. I had no idea. I could read a 5th grade book, but I cracked under the pressure. I had to stand at by my desk while everyone else spelled various words. Luckily, there were few other illiterate children standing with me by the end of the lesson.

I went flying across the street to my house. Yes, I was one of those lucky kids that simply rolled out of bed and across the street. I also ate lunch at home most days.
So here I am, with one day of school under my belt, and it’s already December. I hysterically told my mom and aunt I HAD to learn how to spell numbers one through ten or I would be shot by a firing squad of nuns. I believe this was when my fear of nuns and organized religion began to rear it’s ugly head.

My mom and aunt drilled those words into my brain. I went back thinking I would ace spelling nine or ten, when that nun said it was time for the next subject. Arggh! I was not happy.

The other less traumatic things I remember from first grade were singing America the Beautiful and receiving a construction paper Christmas tree and gluing pictures from magazines on the tree. I remember tracing pictures of letters and numbers on mimeographed paper, and circling the word that started with a certain letter.

I also remember The Blizzard of First Grade. I walked over to school while it was snowing, and it continued to snow all morning. The nuns said walkers had to wait for a sibling to take them home, so while I waited for my sister, I made one of those construction paper place mats that we all know so well. Mine was red and green.

I went to school some more until one day my mom said that school was over. FOREVER I asked??? Just for the summer??? Damn it!

Patty Grade 1

It’s Amazing I Survived My Childhood. Chapter 3

Here’s the third installment of IAISMC. The first one was running behind the DDT jeep.

My sister told me a few weeks ago that she has competed with me since I was born. Why???? I am about as competitive as a rock.

When I was little, we lived in Red Bank, NJ. It’s a wonderful little town if you want someplace cool to go. Anyways, my sister and I had friends way down at the other corner who’s last name was Scarpelino. We were allowed to walk down to her house. This was the sixties, back when kids could just roam. A lot of the streets with houses in Red Bank have slate instead of cement sidewalks. For some God awful reason, we decided to race home on uneven slate. Call me Fleet Foot, I was ahead. Prancing and a dancing, just like Stewball.

I was only five, but I was beating my nine year-old sister, and the Scarpelinos and whoever else was with us. Maybe I should rename myself Fleet Foot.

We were just getting to the last slate before we left the sidewalk to go into my grandmother’s backyard, when I felt a leg come out in front of mine. Bam! Face plant! I remember just screaming like hell, and walking home alone because everyone.just.scattered. I needed five stitches.

Years later, I asked her why she did it. Her answer? She wanted to win. Well, that’s nice. Kill the little sister.

It’s ok. Last Christmas she felt guilty about all the wonderful ways she tortured me while we were growing up, so she bought me an IPad. She can trip me anytime. Next time, I want a pony.

I think my sister is thinking of ways she could dispose of me. My brother has his typical don’t take my picture face. My dad is sporting his Army crew cut.

Send her back

It’s Amazing I Survived My Childhood. Chapter 2

I’m not sure if I was planned or not. I am nearly 10 years younger than my brother, and 3 years younger than my sister. There was a set of twins in there, and I wonder if I would be here if they survived. I don’t think I would want to have FIVE CHILDREN in ten years. My mom was nearly 40 when she had me, so maybe she was worn down a bit. 

It is amazing I survived. 

My siblings and cousins wanted to use me as a guinea pig. If I survived whatever they wanted to try, then they’d do it. I was superfluous. Until I was nearly seven, we lived next door to my aunt, uncle and my two cousins. I guess you’d call it a duplex.

At that time, there was no door from the one house to the other. I had the run of both houses, and I liked going up to my cousins’ attic because they had a train up there, and some type of basketball game that if you turned it on the players kind of vibrated around. It amused me as a five year old, but was probably a boring game for older kids and that’s why it was in the attic. One day, my sister and my cousin Billy told me that there was a secret passage to the other side of the house. All I had to do was walk behind the wall, and I’d be in our house! Oh, God. I am so glad I never did it, or I wouldn’t be writing this. I would like to think I was savvy enough to realize I was being tricked, but I was probably too scared, so I didn’t die that day.

Two yards away from our house was Professional Pharmacy. There was a garage with a flat roof right behind it. it had to be at least 10 feet high. My sibs and cousins were jumping off it onto the grass, and I wanted to try and they said, “SURE!” My mother came out just in time to watch her four year old flying through space onto the ground. I am not what was said to the older kids, but they never jumped off that roof again. 

Patty

 

 

Krispy Kremes

I’m not sure if all of you are lucky enough to have a Krispy Kreme Doughnut shop near you. It’s kind of a Southern thing. When I was a little kid in Norfolk, Va, we would buy KKs at lunch for a nickle  to raise money for something. I have no idea where the money went, perhaps for new Nun outifts, but I loved those Krispy Kremes.

Fast forward to 2000. They opened a KK right near me! I was thrilled, I went a few times when they first opened, and a few times after that. Within two years they closed it. Maybe the North isn’t ready for KK’s fatty goodness. They beat Dunkin Donuts by a long shot, and people seem to eat them up. They don’t know what they are missing.

They opened ANOTHER KK about 20 minutes south of here. It seems to be doing really well because it’s across from the Wilmington Airport, and next to BJs. My daughter and I went there and had two donuts each, and then another one later. I feel a little sick from all that sugar and fat, but it was worth it.

Patty

P.S. This little girl is absolutely frightening.  

krispy kreme doughnut girl