Oh my gosh! It is Tennessee!
I was into gymnastics when I was in elementary school. I was on the school gymnastics team and it was a big part of the school culture in Denver. While we didn’t compete, it was more of an after school activity. We did have “shows” for the parents to see what we were learning. It was fun. I was often jealous of the girls who were better at tumbling than I and practiced any chance I could. I practiced A LOT. I would like to say it made me a better gymnast. However, when you practice what you are good at, that one skill becomes polished. What I should have been practicing were the things I found difficult. Eh, I was in the fourth grade. You live and learn. Obviously, I did not grow up to become an Olympic star. I DID learn a valuable lesson in the fourth grade. While it may have been the only thing I retained from that year, it was something that affected me the rest of my life. It ties closely in with the whole “do not run on painted pavement” story but that, my friends, is for another day.
We lived in a tiny apartment that year. Dad worked in Wyoming on some fenced in secret facility. This meant he was home like one weekend a month. Our apartment was a one bedroom and the bedroom was smack at the end of the hallway. Upon entering the apartment, the living room/dining room/kitchen was all open and together. It was kind of like a tiny studio apartment but the hallway was directly across the room from the door. The way the floor plan was set up, the dining area and kitchen were off to the right of the front door and the living room was the main focus upon entering. The length of the hallway must have been about 20 feet. you had to pass the hall closet on the right and the bathroom on the left. It dead ended at the bedroom. Nice little set up for a quaint little apartment. It was smack in the middle of down town Denver.
My Mother had intuition about a lot of things. At that time, maybe she had foresight. I give her credit for those things. After all, I was the youngest of her 8 kids and she HAD to know something by the time I came along. I shared a room with her and Dad. If you left the bedroom door open, there was a window that you could see from the front door. Straight shot, no furniture in the way. No obstructions. Free, open space from front door to the bedroom. Mom had placed their bed directly underneath that window. Because this apartment was a temporary living space for us, a lot of our stuff was in storage. Including the headboard to that bed.With the headboard to their queen bed missing, the windowsill was approximately 1-2 feet above the surface of the mattress. It also had tile across the bottom of the sill. I assume for aesthetic purposes of the apartment. The tile was curved at the front and stuck out a quarter of an inch.
We all know Mom’s thing for bingo. On top of her little good luck trinkets and her bingo bag, she had cushions. Often, she would bring her bingo cushions in the house instead of leaving them in the car. Gosh forbid someone stole the bingo cushion! She had this thick brown cushion that was nothing more than a six inch square piece of foam in a dirt brown cover with a loop for a handle. It was literally square and 2’x2′. Ugliest thing you had ever seen. Apparently it was coveted and made my Mothers butt happy during those long bingo sessions. It meant something if it had to come into the house every time she came home. This cushion along with a nice fluffy pillow would lead me to discover the state of Tennessee in our apartment. Yes, I said that right. All Christopher Columbus and stuff. Although, it was not 1492. It was 1985 and it was summer and it was nowhere near the Ocean blue. We were in the Rockies. All middle of the country and stuff. (Ah, but I digress. Little history there. Sort of.)
Up to this point, jumping on the bed was one of the best rainy day activities. It was fun. All kids do it. Some get hurt and that is OK. We all survived! I had this brilliant idea to take a bed pillow (they were kinda firm) and fold it in half and lay the brown cushion on top of it. I would set it up at the end of the bed and use it as a springboard! YES! Then I could show off in front of my friend! Oh what a wonderfully epic idea!. It was a perfect set up. I would run down the hall, jump on it and flip into the air and land on the bed. Oh boy! The first half dozen or so tries were great. Perfect landings and everything. My friend was even impressed. Let me tell you it was just she and I in the apartment because mom was upstairs talking to the landlady. They were friends and she would often go up there and have tea or some other nonsense.
About try 7 or 8, i forget which one, it happened. I was a tad overzealous on the flip and landed on all fours. I believe I was attempting an additional flip and fell short or went too far on the final one. That part is fuzzy. Upon landing on my hands and knees, I still had the momentum of force from the flip keeping me in motion and (to me it was all slow motion until the hospital) until WHAM!!!!!
I hit my head on the windowsill. It hurt. I stood up, heart my friend ask if I was ok, then stuck my face in a pillow on the bed because FLUCK! it hurt. when I stood up and looked at her to reply, she took off running. I didn’t think anything about it and happened to look down at the pillow. A couple of days ago, mom had purchased brand-new, shiny, white pillow cases and now there was a spot on the pillow case that was not there before I put my face on the pillow. I leaned in a bit closer. The spot had to have been about and eighth of an inch long. It was red and my first thought?
“Oh my gosh! Look! It is Tennessee!” as I stood there and pointed at it. Yes, I told that to myself outloud.
Then it occurred to me. Spot not there before, red, Tennessee?? WHAT? My right hand had been holding the hurt spot on my head for nearly a minute. I pulled my hand down and looked at it. Not only was it covered in blood, it was POURING onto the floor. Immediately, I went to the hallway closet for a towel. Unbeknownst to me, I was leaving a trail of gore the whole way. On the floor, on the wall, on the inside of the closet door. Upon opening the closet door. What do I grab? A blue and white hand towel. How muthaflippin patriotic of me, yes? Yes. I stagger into the bathroom and it is all I can do to hold on to the sink and not fall over.
The next thing I know, my mother rushes in, looks at me, and instead of doing what they tell you in first aid training she says to me: “Oh good lord!” She swept me off my feet and run into the kitchen with me in her arms. She had the landlord and my friend with her. The landlord slid everything on the counter to the side and my friend laid a bath towel or sheet or something on the counter. Mom laid me on the kitchen counter and i now had my head in the kitchen sink. The world was upside down…..
(This is but part one of a two part story. It went on longer than I expected. The wonderful sequel to be my next post!)
What do YOU think?