My brother, who is into genealogy, sent me a big batch of recently discovered photos from my mother’s side of the family, mostly dating from the 1930s and ’40s.
Here are some of my comments, completely without context:
Who’s that cigar-chomping lesbian in the sailor suit? I wasn’t aware of that particular branch of the family tree.
What’s the story with that shack on sticks? And did they not have Windex back then?
Drucilla? She looks like somebody you wouldn’t want to trifle with. Holy hell.
What’s that medal on that kid’s chest? Something from the Pabst Brewing Company, thanking him in advance?
Are both of Mom’s shoulders out of socket in this photo, or is it just the way she’s standing?
In any case… the photo above is my grandmother, sitting on the railing of a bridge somewhere. I don’t know what was going on that day, but don’t care for it. It makes me nervous, although I’m reasonably sure she didn’t fall. Yikes! And to think… she used to tell me not to run in the house, because it was too dangerous. I wish I’d known about these daredevil shenanigans at the time!
And speaking of that, I DID fall down one day while ignoring her orders, and cracked my head open. I was in kindergarten, and so far it’s the only time I’ve been rushed to the hospital in my life. They shaved part of my head, and sewed that shit up. I was completely terrified.
Afterward, they wrapped my head, like I’d had brain surgery, and I remember watching TV that night with my dad. My mother had to go somewhere — my aunt’s high school graduation? — and my dad let me eat dinner in front of the television. The regular rules were relaxed, on account of the head trauma, and we watched Tarzan and possibly Daktari. I think carrot sticks were part of the meal. Weird that I can remember so much of it… I was five years old.
My grandparents took care of me that day, until my mother arrived and drove me to the emergency room. I was screaming bloody murder, and begging not to go. My grandmother kept looking at the gash in my head, and saying, “They’re going to need to put a clamp on that.” A clamp?! What the crap?? I was flipping the hell out, but was taken to the hospital anyway.
The nurse who shaved my head removed the blade from the green plastic razor, and let me keep it as a souvenir. I probably still have it in the basement somewhere. It was a dark, dark day for your corpulent correspondent…
Anyway, I’m way off the original subject, and have run out of time. I need to go to work for a few hours (I said that last Thursday, and ended up being there until 2 a.m.). I’ll just let you guys take it from here.
In the comments section, please tell us about the times you had to go to the hospital as a kid, due to dumbassery, and possibly after uttering the phrase, “Watch this!” Do you have any tales along those lines? Please share.
Also, what are your earliest memories? I can remember bits and pieces from when I was three years old, but that visit to the emergency room, and the aftermath, is probably my most detailed earliest memory. I can even remember where I was sitting on the couch, while watching Tarzan. Lots and lots of tiny details…
Finally, what’s the most unusual or bizarre photo from your family album? Please describe it for us.
And I need to go now. This is a super-quickie, but hopefully not too painful. Maybe you guys can salvage it for me? I’d be much obliged.
See ya next time!
Now playing in the bunker
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Swami Bologna says
Even weirder that you can remember so much of it after head trauma.
I guess kids now a days only get hand injuries from playing video games or something.
I was telling someone recently a story about jumping bikes over snake pits and/or fires – they did not believe me.
I had a similar trip to the hospital in my childhood, the one and only “emergency” in my life. I can’t remember nearly as much as you (due to the head trauma, i’m certain!), even though I was a bit older…7? I was swinging on a neighbor’s swing set, pumping my little legs as hard as I could, leaning back to really get gravity working for me! This was an old skool 80’s setting, metal poles and uncovered screws. On one swing back, I veered a little off balance and whacked the back of my had on one of the uncovered screws holding the poles together. Lord, the blood! It wouldn’t stop, and we soaked some towels…it was a massacre scene.
Got to the hospital, head sewn up, and if it was shaved, I sure don’t remember. Actually, now that I think about it, I don’t remember anything else…hmmm. Maybe that trauma was more serious than we knew!
These days, I can only imagine the insurance and lawsuit nightmare that would have followed!
I was pretty lucky I guess because I never had any major ER trips as a kid. The 2 scars I have, I don’t remember getting them. One is under my chin from falling in the tub and hitting my chin and the other, I was jumping on the bed (after mom told me not to, so she says) fell off and hit my head on those giant old cast iron radiators that were in every room.
Earliest childhood memory is jumping into the back of my Grandfather’s car, that had vinyl seats and been sitting in the August sun all day, wearing only swim trunks… and burning myself. I was 4.
We remember traumas 🙁
(as a History student can tell you, we used to traumatize children on purpose, so they’d remember important events. Yes, that *was* Cleopatra you just saw and I’ll throw you in the Nile and you’ll nearly drown so you can remember it)
T. Farty McAppleass says
My mother used to do that too. She’d call it “anchors”. Something like, “Happy Birthday, fag. Here’s a can of Spam.”
See, it works!
This is why I always keep a pack of darts in my back pocket for my daughter’s special moments. She’ll appreciate it later in life.
My sister gave me a penny for a tooth I lost. I swallowed it and they rushed me to the ER. Dr. told my mom to check my poop and the penny would be in it eventually…. I suppose it did, I don’t remember….
I remember around 3 years old as well, because that’s when that’s when they put up the chain-link fence between my parent’s yard and the neighbors and there are pictures that show this as well with dates on the back.
My next-oldest brother and I used to play with the 2 girls that lived on another side of another fence and the girls always wanted to play “Mothers and Fathers”. My brother Tim would be the father and Tracy would be the mother and I’d be the son going off to visit President Nixon, for which I had to climb aboard a swing and swing really hard (not that Nixon would have approved of that sort of thing).
Anyway, these girls had a stone birdbath in their yard, roughly 3 feet high. In the midst of whatever fantasies I was having that DIDN’T involve Richard Nixon, I convinced myself and I told them that I could fly over that birdbath. I got a good running head-start and just ran head-on (apply directly to the forehead) into that thing. As a bird I was a turkey and I don’t think I made it very far off the ground if at all.
My parents took me and my profusely bleeding head to the doctor’s office down in ‘downtown’ Reading, Ohio. Everyone seemed to want me to tell them EXACTLY what happened (because there was no other possibility than that my dead had just beat the shit out of me). I sheepishly told them about flying (at least – I think I did). I think I got stitches but if I did, I don’t remember going back to get them out. I still have a bump in my skull in the center of my forehead. It used to be right at the hairline but these days it’s about an inch forward of it.
Should read “that my dad had just beat the shit out of me”
I remember getting the questions in elementary school after a major bicycle wipe out (jumping curbs and rocks with plenty of pavement and concrete around.). Funny thing is, after the first couple of questions I relized that I was getting the round-a-bout did your parents beat the piss out of you? line of questioning. I think I was well on my way to being anti-authority back then becuase I know I started to answer curtly the same short and sweet I wiped out on my bike.
Root 66 says
One of my childhood ER visits started with the gym set. Even though there are conflicting accounts of the event and even a conspiracy theory or two, the rope on it had “somehow” become loose. As I grabbed the rope, I came straight down on my arm. I managed to break both bones between the wrist and elbow and spent the rest of the summer in a cast from my knuckles to my shoulder.
Oh, did I mention that it was right after school had let out? Yeah, that was a great summer…
On the up side, whenever my big sister gave me any crap, I whacked her in the head with the cast–good times!
Patty (In Cleveland) says
I was in the ER so much that today my parents would probably be serving time for abuse even though every one of them was self inflicted. At two I ran into a coffee table and got a gash over my eye–four stitches and I still have the scar. I was in the ER at least once a year for stitches or broken bones from the age of two until about fifteen when I stopped trying to self destruct
I have one son who is so prone to head injuries that he’s developed a preference for the “clamping up” part – he prefers staples over stitches or derma bond to stop the gushing. Staples, you see, are a quick and easy fix and so is the removal…there’s no shot of numbing agent first (which my lad claims is more painful than the wound itself), no suspenseful threading, no icky vantage points (think of the view as they are stitching up an eyelid), etc. The derma bond is ok, but it stings a little and is far less cool to show off to the other kids in school. Staples! That’s the way to go…
That numbing shit is unbelievably painful. I had a spot on my finger where a mass of blood vessels built up, and they had to cut that part out. So keeping in mind that this area is already hyper-sensitive, they gave me four shots right around it to “numb” it. I won’t claim to be Chuck Norris but I’m no sissy either, and it took everything I had to not rip the arm of that chair right off and holler like a stuck pig.
Next time I’ll pay to have them knock my ass out!
I was 29 the first time I was rushed to the ER. Broken shoulder from flying off of a horse during an equestran training. The fucker bucked me heavenward and in that split second I thought “tuck and roll or a hoof is going to batter my face unrecognizeable!” Didn’t work…
My sister on the other hand, that’s a different story. When we were kids we were playing Dodgeball using a metal ake as a boundary mark. Grace STOMPED on it, it went through her sneaker and punctured the bottom of her foot.
My dad was installing a dishwasher (BIG TIME shit for 1974) and Grace limped in elling my dad she cut hr foot. With his head under the dishwasher he told her “Go get a band aid” until the blood started seeping into his knees. I don’t think I ever saw that much blood since. Mighty impressive!
el Jeffe says
When I was 5 or 6 I swallowed (accidentally) a hard candy called a “rootbeer barrel”,,,still available in vintage penny candy stores. It did not go all the way down…becoming lodged in by throat or esophagus or somesuch area. This was in 1965 or so, so the heimlich manuver hadn’t yet made it to our hickster neck ‘o the woods. I nearly choked to death…Dad threw me in the front seat of the “64 Impalla SS with the 427 c.i. V-8 and sped off like hell to the hospital. I remember laying across that massive bench seat watching the car’s speedo indicate 100-110 mph as dad flew down back roads only meant for 40 mph. I think the car went airborne as we passed the Red Apple Farm. Got to the hospital where Dr. Boll looked at me….barely breathing…he tore the crust off his Wonderbread balogna sandwich..balled the white bread into a doughy ball popped it in my mouth and made me drink a quart of warm water..the weight of the soaked dough-ball and the water flushed the cqandy down into my gullet..and I could breath again. I don’t think his method was AMA-approved, but it worked.
WB in OH says
To be fair to Dr. Boll, Dr Heimlich didn’t publish the first paper on abdominal thrusts until 1974. Or so says Wikipedia.
Phil Jett says
Age 10, playing catcher in backyard baseball game with real balls and bats. No head gear on and I took a bat to the head on a swing and a miss. Fractured skull, concussion, out cold for 2 days.
Unlike today, no hole was cut or drilled in my head and somehow I just woke up and went about my living my childhood Only change was I had to wear a football helmet whenever I left the house for the next six weeks. That was all the doctor in our little podunk town could come up with to protect it.
Needless to say I spent the most of the rest of summer indoors.
I didn’t have to go to the hospital for this, but when I was six, I was trying to play darts and I was somewhat frustrated at my lack of ability to throw the dart in such a manner that it would stick in the dartboard. So I placed said dartboard on a table and began basically stabbing it with the dart, which was a much more effective way of hitting the bullseye. However, this exercise came to an end when I put the dart through the nail of my left middle finger. At that point I went upstairs to mom with a dart sticking out of my finger. I had to soak it for a while but that was about it.
No trips to the ER for me as a child. I was a compliant and overprotected only child. The closest I ever came was when I somehow slipped while standing on a tiny chair in kindergarten and basically did the splits on the back of the chair, which is akin to a girl slipping off the seat of a boy’s bike that is too big for her. That night, when I refused to go potty because I was afraid it would hurt, there was this sudden terrifying rush of activity as my panicked parents prepared to take me to the emergency room. The general idea was that if I did not pee within 5 minutes of needing to, then my bladder would burst and there would be REAL trouble. It scared me so bad that I peed so I didn’t have to go to the ER. And, yep, it burned. As for weird family album pics, I think the old ones are the worst. You can’t tell if those folks were just afraid the camera was stealing a piece of their soul, or this was just another theft in a succession of same and you are now looking at a picture of an individual who is approacing zombiehood. One entertaining legend family pic we have, though, is of our 2 sons as toddlers on the little red tricycle, the one that I rode as a child, and the one that had a crooked hind wheel from where my dad had run over it with the car, thankfully when it was empty. The older one was standing on the back as the younger one sat on the seat and peddled. Pappaw, my dad, was waiting for the younger one to smile. The older boy finally got tired of waiting, and the picture was snapped at that perfect moment when he had pinched and pulled both of his little brother’s cheeks back from behind to create a smile so that they could all get on with their lives. Priceless.
Jerry in WV says
I was seven and at my cousin’s house. She was chasing me thru the house and I was attempting to run outside. What I didn’t know was that the storm door was locked, so when I hit it, I launched myself through the glass, onto the porch. Glass everywhere and a rather large chunk sticking out of my right arm, just above the elbow. Lots of blood, lots of screaming and wailing and gnashing of teeth. Trip to the hosipital and an armfull of sticthes later, I was fine.
HOLY SHIT I did the exact ame thing. Got a piece of glass wedged into my wrist. About the same age, too – -but for some obscure reason, I never went to the hospital. My dad was always cool as a cucumber under those situations. He plucked the glass out – I still have a nasty scar.
Jerry in WV says
Wow! We are about the same age too. Weird. My Mom freaked when she saw all of the blood. My Father was pretty chill about the whole thing, but she insisted on a trip to the ER.
Root 66 says
No “bizarre” family pictures, other than the subject matter, of course!
But dad always took pictures of his cars. He was mighty proud of them, and with good reason, too. He had some gorgeous Packards, Pontiacs and Mercurys back in the day. As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t mind having one of those land yachts right now–especially a Packard!
My earliest memory is pretty early, I was five months at the oldest; I very distinctly recall being in the back seat of the car in some kind of a baby seat (car seats were unnecessary luxuries back then) and seeing out of the left side window. I remember the car pulled up to what could have been a Jack in the Box drive up speaker with a clown on it, probably what sparked my intense fear of the damned things.
Anyway, I remember seeing my Father’s arm reach out with my bottle and hand it to a guy from the restaurant to take it inside and warm it up. I remember seeing a white shirt, very short hair with one of those hat things on, and a red and white vertically striped apron on the guy. That’s about it.
I didn’t get zoomed off to the emergency room until I was an adult and in the Army, but that’s a story involving a bent metal dumpster door for another time.
Oh yeah, LOTS of bizarro and very old family pics, but I can’t narrow down just one…
el Jeffe says
WTF…how come my story didn’t get posted??
It had no swears and such??
Standard split head open when I was about 5, Mucking about with my friends at a party (mine?) the head tends to bleed ALOT! Then when I was 13 I was mucking about with mates and ran out from in front of the school bus we had just got off and was hit by a car – stuffed my knee put my head through the windscreen, fractured skull and perforated eardrum – no broken bones though! I can remember clearly sitting in the middle of the road after I had gone through/over the car and asking someone to get my shoe that had come off…..good times
I earned an ER visit at the age of 10 or so when the horse I bugged the living shit out of my dad for, bucked me off. I soared up and over his head and landed on my left wrist. They held me down in a wheel chair to straighten it. Then got a nice plaster cast for the summer.
My only hospital visit was after my feet went out from under me after sailing down the basement steps and I whacked my right knee on the corner of the stair stringer. Went to bed stiff and sore, woke up the next morning to two kneecaps, the knew one on the indside portion of my knee, and the most hideous shade of purple and red I ever saw. Could barely stand to put weight on my leg. The 2nd new kneecap significantly larger than the oem one. Off to the hospital for some x-rays. Got a pair of crutches to hobble around on, and watched my knee go through literally every color of the rainbow over the following weeks as the swelling came down and the bruise started to get reabsorbed.
That has been my only hospital visit to date. Everything else has been self repair, or mom-repair (she was a nurse).
My first memory I don’t trust. It’s probably something my mind created based on hearing the grown ups talk about but if real, I was about 6 months. But why the grown ups were talking about my dad popping pimples on my grandad’s back is a mystery to me.
My first for real memory was also a head wound. The parents went furniture shopping on Charleston’s west side. I was just discovering the wonders of running. I can hear my dad telling to quit running and then tripping and falling right onto the sharp corner of an end table.
Fortunately, the old Staats Hospital was next door (which the west side community hope to renovate before it’s lost and was designed by the state’s first black architect and I believe hiss first building).
Judging by the comments posted it seems the traumatic events of our early years are the ones we remember. Guess that’s nature’s way of telling us to be careful with that axe Eugene.
Me and my uncle had a tomato fight when I was 8, he was 18. Just wingin’ tomatoes at each other in my backyard, I want to say it was early in the school year. Afterward we decided to call it a draw and shake on it and he proceeded to hold my hand and smear tomato guts all over me. In my struggle to get away he let go and I grabbed the top of the chain link fence and ripped open my left middle finger.
Mom rushed me to marietta memorial and I got 17 stitches and a splint that made me look like I was permanently angry at other drivers.
I remember watching the cosby show in the waiting room.
I don’t much like horses.
I still have a great grandmother that’s alive. Her uncle, who they called “Sack” (don’t know if that was his name. WTF) had a knot on the side of his head. Noticeable. Musket ball, they always told me.
I cut my eye with a knife while trying to slice some of that Christmas tree garland stuff in half. Cut my eyeball. No idea how they saved the eyeball and I don’t have any scars or anything from it. I was about five. I don’t remember much past that until I turned 30.
It wasn’t too long ago that I recounted the burning down of our house to my mother. She told me I was nuts. “You weren’t even two. Bullshit.” But I DO remember it. Some kid stayed over for the night. He wanted to build a fort. So he drug the mattress off the bed and leaned it over the gas heater in the room. POOF, shit caught on fire. Everyone ran out except for his sister, “Carry Joe”. Anyway, they got her out too so nobody died. The house burned to the ground. And I remember the whole thing. Not even two years old.
I remember going to someone’s basement for treatment as a child.
Dr. Flockenhaus or something like that used to work at the local hospital where my mom worked. I remember getting shots there by him when I was about 3.
He moved his practice to his basement and had a nice set up. Waiting room and examination area. Magazines.
He could also handle most anything so no need for an emergency room.
Billy Bob says
Scary experience: age 5, someone had put gasoline in a soda bottle(the clear ones) and left it on my Grandmothers steps…I loved orange soda at the time. Downed that puppy. Had to go and get stomach pumped at hospital.Happy Happy, Joy Joy….
Jesus, Billy Bob, that’s downright criminal. Did they catch the bastards who did that?
Fell first face at age 3 or 4 and busted open chin. The ER did a real shitty job of stiching me up and I have an ugly scar to this day.
Age 10 or 11 ran into a gargabe can (big metal one at the local ball field). 5-6 stiches in my head.
Age 12 I caught a line drive with my face playing 3rd base for the first time. Went to the ER for a concussion (no broken nose but 2 black eyes).
Mike the ripper says
Too many childhood physical scars to list….. Even more adulthood emotional scars! Life lessons almost always leave a mark.
Lucie in Tampa says
Ok, start with my first memory. I was about 1 and I escaped from my crib crawled out to the big hulking ass TV and pulled the knob & Sesame Street was on I was freaking HAPPY!!!! I escaped my crib for the first time & I made Sesame Street come on!!!!
First dumbass Emergancy room was when I was (9 years old) staying with my Aunt in a suburb of Cleveland while my parents were on vacation, I was riding my cousins 10 speed (I had a vintage schwinn single speed) and had to do the hey guys look at me, no hands! and next thing I remember I was waking up up in the gutter with my arms all twisted… broke my left arm. I have since broke every limb, all in dumbass ways, mostly in my adult years (WTF?)
When I was five years old a friend and I were playing with those little cheap mouse maze games that you get for treats at a birthday party. We broke them open and were playing with the tiny little mice. My friend said “My mouse’s house is under the couch” and I said “My mouse’s house is up my nose”! Well, one emergency room visit later, my mouse was free. Pretty stupid.
Between my parents’ non-insistence (and possibly poor observational skills), and my keen ability to downplay my injuries, I never went to the ER as a kid. Sliced open my finger cutting an apple, stepped on glass, broke my tailbone, big toe, and foot. Toughed those badboys out.
My earliest memory was of Disney World when I was 3. I remember hiding my face under my mom’s arm during the Pirates of the Caribbean boat ride. Apparently pirates are terrifying when you’re that age.
I expect that *real* pirates would be terrifying at any age.
The little girl across the street, Cindy (three or four I guess) liked th stick things up her nose. Acorns and gravel were her favorites. Not at the same time. She’d alternate items daily but always went back to acorns and gravel. Her Mom and Dad were awlays carting her off to the ER to get them pulled out.
Me…I seemed to like jumping off roofs. And jumping out of the swing when I couldn’t get it to go any higher without some sort of rocket booster assist I actually had in the works. Climbing trees and swinging on ropes like Tarazn was adolecent herion. Only time a ride to the ER for me was a baseball mishap like some others here. I was 12, a catcher but I liked to shag flyballs too to show off my mighty arm with a perfect throw to second from deep left field. Oh…I wore glasses too and on this day I did not wear my geek strap and when I ran to catch the high fly, my glasses kinda bounced around, slipped sideways and I saw two high fly balls in the sky closing in on me. There was only one but it looked like two to me. I caught neither. Well…I caught it (or is it them) just off to the right of the middle of my nose. I remember seeing the lens of my glasses flitter skyward and then I was face down smelling the left field grass. Blood, ambulance and a slightly crooked nose for a few years. It straightened back out as I got older. First and hopefully last ER for me.
I have a picture of my Mom’s Mom. She’s my grandmother I guess. She died having my Mom. That was common back then in 1930. Needless to say I never knew her but I’ve heard stories. They say she was crazy. Batshit nuts and a hell raiser. Yep…she’s my grandma. I have a picture of her out camping or sometning. There’s an old style tent, a fire ring and a couple chairs around. Like a hobo camp but I doubt that. She had money. Picture is in her mid 20’s. Long, dark, thick braided hair forward her right shoulder and the tip is past mid-thigh. She’s holding a shotgun, butt on the ground and barrel straight up with her left hand and holding three or four dead rabbits by the ears with her right. Knee high jodhpur boots and jodhpur pants, loose white blouse. Looks like a pretty cool lady if you ask me.
Dad was born in ’29. One picture I have of him looks likes a kids minstrel show school production of, Goldilocks and the Three Bears. He’s maybe four or five and wearing a crude bear head/mask/hood thing and furry gloves. He’s standing there with three other kids like they’re in a police line-up. Curtain calls after the play I guess. One of the kids is in blackface. WTF?
I have a kinescope pic of him when he was 2, in an amusement park somewhere in Cincy, riding a Donald Duck looking thing ontop of a huge spring drove into the ground.