Tuesday, March 15, 2011

living through childhood is nothing to sneeze at

Almost 40 years ago I dropped the ramp to a cattle truck on my twin sister and broke both her legs.
We were in second grade.
I re-told the story to my family over dinner Sunday night; a spin-off on the question of the night.
Our parents were re-modeling the little farmhouse where we lived, and our job was to pick up the shingles that had been torn from the roof, put them into the trash cans, and then haul the cans to the cattle truck, where dad would later drive them to the dump.  On this particular afternoon, dad was working, and mom did not know the ramp to the truck was not let down.  We didn't know she did not know, so when Amy told me to climb up, unhook it and just let it fall--that she would catch it, I figured it was a good plan.  Let this serve as a reminder that a seven year old has not reached the age of reasoning (or accountability).
here's an unrelated picture of what the truck looked like:

I don't remember much about the actual trauma, other than sitting in the back seat of the station wagon, cradling Amy's poor crying head in my lap for the ride to the hospital, where I also remember seeing the medical staff take her into a very large, very steel and cold-looking room where they were going to x-ray her legs.  
My younger brother Rich (who was four or five at the time) and I were brought home at some point, since I can only imagine that we were probably in the way, and more than my mother was able to handle at the time.  I'm not really sure how the next part went down, because now that I've mothered young kids, I can't imagine leaving a seven and four or five year old at home alone in a little farmhouse at night.  But there we were.  
And then the phone rang.  
It was mom:  "Jenny!  You need to make sure all the doors are locked, and that the windows are closed!  There is an escaped convict running around the area somewhere!"
I don't even remember closing windows or locking doors; I just remember trembling beneath the furniture with my brother, and then a short time later, hearing strong knocks on the front door.
Are you kidding me?!?
It turned out to be a co-worker of my dad's, sent over from the police department to retrieve us from our nightmare on Elm Street.
Then we found ourselves in a little store picking out frozen treats; I got an ice cream sandwich, and Rich got one of those frozen bananas on a stick, dipped in chocolate and rolled in nuts.
All better.
Then there was the issue of my sister spending the next month or more in a humongous wheelchair that I wasn't all that thrilled about pushing around at recess, and I felt bad that her desk had to be about six feet tall to accommodate the monster chair, while her peers were all sitting at more normal, elf-sized desks.
There must have been a smidgen of post-trauma guilt on my part.


Smilin' sunshine said...

Never a dull moment with the Hutchins......now you should know where your kids gets there panicking when someone is pounding on the door!!

LL said...

now THAT is a good story!
"There is an escaped convict running around the area somewhere!"

and the legs. both of them. Oh my.

mckell.b.p.55 said...

Have you ever considered writing a memoir? :)

Jo Jo said...

Somehow you forgot to mention I had to beg you and multiple ask you to let the ramp down because you did not want to be a part of my plan. I dont remember it hurting. Just hating being big.

shirlgirl said...

I never heard that story. Oh, Amy, that must have been awful. What an experience for all of you.

Anonymous said...

As the innocent younger brother I can tell you their was more drama to the story. After we learned about the escaped convict and "don't answer phone or door" command, we were also told to do the dishes. While in the kitchen the phone rang again. We froze. Didn't answer it. Then came the knock at the front door. Jenny said: "It's HIM!". We ducked down behind the counters. We then heard footsteps going around to the back of the house - to the KITCHEN DOOR! We sprinted upstairs and hid under our parents bed. When the footsteps came into the house and up the stairs we died three times over. Thankfully it was a policeman we recogized that extracated us from under the bed and took us from Ice Cream. This is one of our children's all time favorites to hear.

Michael Stokes said...

I thought you told me your 25. How could this of happend 40 years ago??

Things that make you say hum


Cathy said...

"escaped convict"
Reminds me of my childhood living near the state prison & mental institution. Oh the memories.
Thanks Jenny. I will now spend my day thinking about all the ones that DID knock on my door.

rad6 said...

holy cow... I am telling that story at FHE next week!
Wow, what a crazy experience.

Hey Jenny, Tammy Mitchell and I were talking about you yesterday... were your ears burning?
We were both remembering how much you touched our lives and how we are so glad to be in contact with you!
Just thought you should know...
Even if you thought you could handle a cattle truck ramp at age 7, you turned out pretty darn good!
Love you,

Becky said...

OH.THE.PANIC. I'm still laughing. I forgot that part of the story. Loved the 'fill in' by Rich.

Christy said...

Wow! Fri night entertainment by the fire! If your stuck in the house, alone, escaped convict running amuck, you might as well get the dishes done, stoke of genius by your mother, work helps us endure the trials of life :)