7 reasons I shouldn’t have reached my 10th birthday

I was am a klutz. I own it.

I fall down the stairs, ricochet off walls and trip over air regularly. (Just ask my boss, husband or running pals.)

As summer officially started this year, I  found my mind wandering back to how I spent my summers as a kid in central Pennsylvania. I was what you’d affectionately call “a spirited pool rat.” As I look back, I recall several “near disasters,” most of which took place in the summer months thanks to my impulsive personality.

So today, dear friends, I shall share with you my top 7 close calls. And let me say, this list in no way suggests poor parenting by Mom and Dad. It’s all thanks to my own curiosity and/or stupidity.

  • I fell from a moving car. Truth. I was 3 or 4 at the time and my dad was driving my sister and me to the pool when the incident occurred. Sissy and I shared the front seat of my dad’s Thunderbird. I was on the outside. Seat belts? We didn’t use them back then. I found myself wondering about the locked car door. I knew if it was locked it wouldn’t open from the outside and when unlocked, would open no matter what. But would the locked door open from the inside? I wondered. In retrospect. I should not have tested this theory when the car was still moving. I clicked the lock into place and pulled the handle. I tumbled onto the pavement and rolled onto a nearby lawn. The car screeched to a halt, my dad scooped me up and took me home. Aside from nasty road rash all over my body and screaming bloody murder when my mother applied the medicine, I was fine. More than anything I was peeved that I wasn’t allowed to go to the pool that day.

littlevpoolIn the pool, where I loved to be

  • Stabbed with a dart. I was 9 when Sissy and I bought a dartboard at a garage sale. We couldn’t wait to use it, but mom kyboshed hanging it on the wall, even in our messy basement. She didn’t want holes in the walls, apparently because of our wretched aim. Our solution was not brilliant. We took turns holding the board while the other whizzed sharp darts at the target. Neither of us had great aim, but a few turns in, one dart reached its mark – in my upper left leg. Blood started spurting. I still have a scar. And I no longer play darts.
  • Head first into the shallow end. I absolutely knew better. But alas, no one was around to stop me when I dove into the two-foot section at our pool club when I was 8. I was new to swim team that summer and I knew the older kids started their long course practice from the shallow end. I wanted to be just like them, so I dove into the packed pool and landed on my head. I actually saw stars raining from the sky and thank God that I didn’t actually hurt myself. No one noticed, by the way, not even a lifeguard posted nearby.
  • Climbing the roof. This activity drove my mother nuts. She repeatedly told Sissy and me to stay off the roof of our house, but we rarely listened. Every chance we got, Sissy and I would crawl out my bedroom window and onto the roof. I realize now, had we fallen off the top of the back roof, we’d have fallen 3 stories. I slipped on the shingles nearly every trek, but never slid off the side of the house, thank goodness. A family friend jumped from the second-story one summer and hurt his arm. Mom kept a much tighter leash on us after that.
  • Underwater at a water park. I never admitted this story to, well, anyone, because I was so embarrassed it happened. On a family outing to a water park, I headed into the park’s huge wave pool. I was a strong swimmer, but somehow got caught in the underwater current and stuck in a cycle with the wave. I couldn’t get above water for air for what felt like minutes. (I’m sure it wasn’t that long, but it was far longer than I was comfortable with.) I panicked, underwater. I remember some kind adult grabbing the back of my swimsuit and yanking me up. I avoided waves pools for years after that. Once I finally ventured back in, I always stopped once the water reached chest high.
  • Reckless sledding. As the lone girl in most of my childhood playgroups, I became a bit of a tomboy. I often would try to keep up with the guys, even when I knew I couldn’t. One winter, we decided it was a brilliant idea to sled down a steep hill – and over a ravine at the bottom. I never made it to the ravine, as my sledding skills were weak. My friend landed in the ravine, injuring himself slightly. His neighbor, however, didn’t fare well at all. His sled jumped the ravine, but the boy landed on his head. His trip to the hospital ended our fun.
  • Walking pneumonia. This one was for real, kids. I was 5 and was laid out on the couch for months. I apparently spent time in the hospital and my mother tells me that she thought I was going to die. All I remember from this multi-month illness was a great aunt hovering over me for what felt like months on end, eating ice chips and wanting to play with my sister. Oh, and a celebratory trip to see E.T. in the theater once I was officially “on the mend.”

So there ya go! Tales of my klutziness, stupidity and curiosity that could’ve ended it all well before my 10th birthday. I share this with you, so when your kids act up this summer you know you aren’t alone.

We all make bad choices. We all have had at least one close call. And we all have some pretty spectacular memories as a result. Just be sure to learn from those mistakes.

Were you impulsive like me? Did you flirt with disaster? Tell me all about your brush with death as a child. Don’t have a such a moment? (Good for you!) then please share a favorite summer memory from your childhood.


15 thoughts on “7 reasons I shouldn’t have reached my 10th birthday

  1. The dart story made me laugh so hard, Vic. I mean, all of them are absolutely things I can picture in my head happening to you but that one in particular has all the key elements. I’m so glad that you’re still alive to tell the tales! xo

    • Oh it was bad, I felt the dart go in, looked down and there was the dart, creating a new home in my leg. I can’t even remember if we were grounded as a result of this, but I do remember trying to hide the injury from my mom. (a complete failure)

  2. I did the walking pneumonia in 5th grade, not 5. And I did the same silly diving into the shallow end at Overlook before I knew how to dive properly, and saw the same stars. And NO ONE noticed, too! I have just as many stories, but I’ll admit one I was too embarrassed to say. My brother and I thought it was a great idea to play on a huge snow/ice mountain at the car dealership next to my mom’s house. I was up pretty high and slipped off. I definitely blacked out, but it must not have been too long because no one had noticed me laying unconscious on the ground. So I just stood up and pretended it never happened so I didn’t get into trouble.

    • I can totally picture you tumbling down a pile of snow! I remember playing back there with you as well (though not this time) What happened to your brother when you fell? Did he run off? (And I’m glad you didn’t get into trouble!)

      Overlook was totally the site of many close calls for me – head first off the slide (remember when there were slides?), I tripped on the sidewalk and broke my front tooth with a shuffle board stick (which I then broke 2 more times within less than a year) It’s amazing we made it!

      • I guess my brother didn’t even notice me laying on the ground. I never told even him, because he would have just told on me.
        Yes, I remember the slides and hitting the back of my head on it. I loved the shuffle board there. I just talked about it recently because someone had never played before and thought it was only for senior citizens on cruises! I said, no, Overlook kids played and fought over the shuffle board courts all summer long!

        • He totally would have told on you!

          The shuffle board of Overlook was awesome. The pool kids really did fight over playing . I remember running down to the swings all the time too. And jumping off the swing at its peak. (ouch)

  3. Yikes! I look at the way I used to ride my bike around with no fear and I wonder if there really was less traffic or if I was just lucky to never have gotten hit.

  4. I am such a worrier these days and as a child too. But my sister who was 5 got me out of the crib when I was a week old and dragged me to my mom by my arm. My mom was like WTH? How did she get you out. Hey I was crying and wanted my bottle…sisters take care of eachother LOL.

  5. Sounds like you were doing all the things a kid should be doing, well, minus the darts. I’m glad you never got seriously hurt! I was a chill kid, but decided as an adult that life is really about making memories. So, I thought gator wrestling and swimming with sting rays would be great ideas. And they were! Fearlessness is a great trait!

    • I’m glad you didn’t fall out. It hurts! Funny moment this weekend. I visited my family and my mom was all “I didn’t know about the dart incident.” Yeah, we hid it pretty well. Minus the blood

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