2/25/2005

From the Wayback Machine (continued)

For those of you who may be landing from a search engine - Please read the previous post before continuing. For the rest of you, apologies for leaving you hang so long!

I walked over closer to the window to make sure the stick propping it up really belonged to my stick horse. I couldn't really believe my parents had taken my horse apart just to hold a window up! There was no doubt. The chipped brown paint matched the brown mane on my horse's head.

I didn't reflect on what might happen, I was only almost five. I just reached out and grabbed the stick with my right hand and braced my left on the window sill. Now, I wasn't especially tall for a 4 and a half year old girl, so I could only reach about one third of the way up the stick. It did not give me much real leverage. I gave a test tug on the stick; Nothing. It was in there and well anchored. I leaned back with my weight on my right hand and gave a little bigger tug; no results.

I was getting frustrated. I wanted my horsie! looked the problem over and thought I saw how to make it work. I had to push up about an inch to get the bottom of the stick to clear the sill and then pull it out. "OK, I can do that," I thought.

I tossed my hair back out of the way to see better, brought one foot up to the mop board on the wall and got my toes on the edge of it. I braced the other foot right where the floor and mop board met. I shifted my grip on the rod and wrapped my left hand over the inside edge of the sill. Jumping from my floor foot to the toes of the foot on top of the mop board, I pushed up, hard, on the stick. My right foot came up off the floor and, for a second, I was up there only on the toes of my left foot, and my left hand. The window rose a little bit. I took a deep breath and pushed harder with my right arm and felt it raise a little more. I looked down to see that I had the end of my horse clear of the sill and yanked the stick out of the window.

I must have been more balanced than I thought because I had the stick clutched right in front of myself when the window made a horrific noise, slapped down in the frame at the speed of light and trapped the fingers of my left hand between the sill and the window. I was still perched on the mop board. I know because I had to step down before I could try to pull my hand out.

(I hate this next part. If any of you have dealt with this so it doesn't completely panic you I would like to know your trick. )

It went like this, jerk stick, bad noise, window falls, tried to step back, realized I was stuck. Shock hits. NOW I feel the pain burst and spread like a huge firework went off in my hand. I took a deep breath to scream and couldn't scream and couldn't breathe. I felt like I had a great big plug of air caught in my mouth and nose. I probably turned blue from not being able to exhale and inhale again. It lasted impossibly long. I kept trying to breathe. I started stomping my feet in my panic, one, then the other, as fast as I could trying to shake my breath loose. It was useless.

Then, suddenly, for no apparent reason, the scream I was striving for burst out like a siren and I had no control over it whatsoever. I screeched at the top of my lungs forever. Then I was panting, sobbing, screaming, running in place and, finally, breathing just to scream again. But nobody came.

In a family with (eventually) five children you learn to distinguish between annoyed shrieking, angry fighting screeches and intense pain screaming reliably by the third child. Believe me, this screaming established a new high for screaming in pain. It threw my parents into emergency overdrive.

My mom dropped Ar, 9 months old and Cee, almost 2 years old, into the playpen in the dining room as she flew from the bathroom and raced up the stairs. She was headed for the room I shared with Vee.

My Dad jumped out of bed, pulled on his jeans and slammed out the door of his room to run down stairs. That woke my sister Vee up and she joined her startled cries to those of the little girls down stairs. We were NOT in harmony.

"Where is she?!!" Dad shouted.

"I don't know!!" my Mom wailed back.

Mom was running to look where I should have been. Dad ran out the back door where it sounded like I was. Not finding me, they both ran back the way they came and started banging doors open all over the house to find me. They looked in the closets and the basement and Dad had run all the way around the house. I was no where to be seen, but, they sure could hear me!


If you go back to the first Wayback entry and look at the picture you will see that the garage sat back from the front of the house. The window I was trapped by looked right out at the garage wall. The echoes went over to the garage from the glass I was screaming against. It made my screams sound loud through Dad's upstairs window just above that one, like I was outside. The sound was stopped at the solid wood door to the room I had closed behind me to avoid discovery. I was being muffled by the door. My folks weren't incompetent, they just couldn't get an audio fix on me.

It seemed to take hours for someone to find me. When Mom finally threw the door open it flew so hard that the knob made a hole in the wall. She ran in and started trying to raise the window with me screaming and dancing relentlessly below her. She hollered to tell Dad where I was as she struggled to get the window up and comfort me with words as best she could at the same time.

Dad ran in, grabbed the door and slammed it shut behind him, which is when I noticed the hole in the wall. That scared me because I thought I would be in trouble for the hole, too, and I took my pitch up an octave. That scared them because they thought I was hurting worse, if that was possible.

Believe me, my Dad was a strong man. One time, he and a pal were working on a Volkswagen Beetle. His friend was working under it when it fell off the jack! Dad just grabbed the bumper, laughing the whole time, and held the car up while his buddy put the jack back under it the right way. I knew HE could help me.

Dad moved Mom back, stepped up to the window and put all his strength, with both hands, into trying to shove the sash up. Mom was trying to comfort me and hollering at Dad to get it up and he was hollering at me to hush and hollering at her to shut me up and get out of his way. My fingers must have been just chubby enough to really wedge the window and he could NOT get it to go up. Now I was really scared! Dad couldn't save me! The screams went into a syncopated rhythm.

Three kids crying, one screaming under his feet; wife hollering; He lost it. Dad stepped back from the window and turned like he was pitching baseball. His fist went up over his head and all the way around, just like "Around the World". It came back up as he stepped forward and slugged that window right in the center of the cross bar! His arm went around again, Mom snatched me back before the window could fall, and he put that same fist right through the solid oak door! BAM!

Things get fuzzy and blank for a little bit after that. Mom had scooped me up but was hollering at Dad for breaking the door and something about the Doctor. I remember being VERY impressed because the window had stayed up. Dad had rammed it till it wedged right at the top of the frame and then I think I passed out for a little while, probably for lack of oxygen.

Next thing I know I am in the front seat of the car and Mom is hollering at me to stop screaming. My fingers were wrapped in a cold, wet rag and hurt like I could not believe!

I don't think it was even 8:30 yet but it seemed to last a lifetime for me...

Stop back, the day's not over yet.

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