From the Wayback Machine

I used to call this my worst day ever. I thought I got it out of the way young and nothing would ever be worse. Like most children, I was wrong. It is still very near the top of the list of my bad days.

When I was little we lived is a faded yellow two story house with a small garage near the back. It was at the bottom of one hill and across the street from the top of another hill. There was a big catalpa tree and a big box elder on either side of the front and 2 more big trees out back. I drew this picture so you could get an idea of the layout.

Across the street a dirt path ran through several rock piles, down to the big trees and over to the back door of the old stone church on the next block. There was only about 6 feet of "hill top".

One day, my Uncle, who was 9 years older than me, gave me a blue glass Duncan Yo-Yo. For those of you that missed that yo-yo craze, this was a class A number One gift - especially for a girl only 4 and a half years old. Duncan was top of the line - the coolest yo-yo you could have. The glass ones were the fastest and smoothest spinning you could get. (just remember, I was 4 going on 5, NOT a reliable source for reviews). I had only owned this treasure a few days but I had lived with it in my hand practically every minute. It gleamed in the sun and sent blue flashes every where when you flipped it down in the light. I loved it. Really!

I woke, one day, to a bright, sunny morning. I was the only one up. At that point in my life this was my favorite time of the day. I decided right away to do my favorite thing. I dressed quickly and ran outside. I was all by myself, no little sisters to watch! That was joy. I hopped down off the porch into the yard and walked over to a sunny patch on the front walk. The dew on the grass left streaks on my sneakers and the world's freshest scent in my nose. The sky was spotted with puffy, white clouds and the sun shone on all the world. I stood in the sun working on "Around the World". I might have done better if I wasn't trying to see every blue star flashed against the house from the blue glass wonder in my hand.

"Hey, what'cha doin'?" I startled. I heard the voice but saw no one! I looked around and spotted my neighbor boy, Jay, climbing up the path across the street.

"Nothing," I answered, "just playing with my yo-yo."

I flipped the yo-yo into my hand easily and strolled across the yard, and stopped at the curb. I very carefully looked both ways and listened for cars from the top of the hill behind me. Street crossing 101 was enforced vigorously by my parents. I was ALWAYS careful. I saw no cars and heard no cars so I crossed the street to meet him.

Look what I've got!" I said as we met just below the top of the hill. There were no trees over here to block the sun and I flourished my marvelous yo-yo with a twist of my wrist to make the blue flashing stars dance on the rocks and grass around us.

Jay's eyes got round and his hand slid out, palm up, all by itself to ask for a turn. "That is so neat!" he exclaimed.

I tossed it a couple of times, to show it was my toy, but the second rule I learned as a child was "Share nicely!" so I handed it to him and told him, "Here, have a turn."

Jay was taller than I was and could yo pretty good, for a boy. He popped it up and down a few times then tried "Walking the Dog" but it was too rough on the dirt path for it to work very well. Next he tried "Rocking the Baby" but the yo-yo wrapped itself around his arm and smacked him in the elbow. He made his face stay still, mostly, but he winced a little around the eyes. I knew it hurt.

Untangling the string, he rewound the blue marvel and the light flashed in my eyes once. "One more trick, then it's my turn again, OK?", I requested.

"OK. What do you want to see?" He asked it like he could do any trick in the book. I, quite predictably, asked for "Around the World" as it was the one I was trying to learn. So, Jay dipped and retrieved the glistening glass yo-yo three times to get the string tightened back up and went for it.

For those of you who don't yo, this trick sends the yo-yo out from your hand to the end of the string, then you give it a fancy jerk and it is supposed to make a full revolution back over your shoulder, past your leg then back up in front of you, in a big circle, before you snap it back into your hand.

He started out OK. It went out, it went up and it went over - but it never made it back to his hand. CRASH!!!! There was a rock about knee high to us and a foot around just behind his right foot. Now, most yo-yo's would have been fine. They might have come apart at the spindle but you could fix them. That's not the program with a glass one. Little, brittle shards laid about that rock in a starburst pattern and all that was left on the still swinging string was one tiny piece on each side of the spindle.

Jay's mouth was hanging open and he looked horrified. I am sure my face echoed his dismay. We couldn't believe it. I felt my mouth turn down, I started to tear up and Jay cried, "Oh, Val, I'm really sorry!" I knew he truly meant it but then, I thought, "Uncle gave me that! I'll never get another one!" It was a shriek inside my head, then I just got angry. Right NOW!

This all took just a split second or three. He no more than got the words out when I wound my arm up like Popeye and nailed him a solid one, right beside his nose. His mouth made that open rainbow shape, his hand jumped to his face and he started to cry. I was already crying. I couldn't believe I had slugged, not slapped but SLUGGED my best friend.

Crying, I snatched the string out of his other hand, screaming at him the whole time that he was mean and did it on purpose because he didn't have one. I knew I was lying even as little as I was. He turned and ran down the hill for home with me shouting mean things after him. Stunned, I watched him till he was lost in the trees at the bottom of the hill. I turned woodenly and ran up the hill for home.

Tears were soaking my shirt and I could hardly see with my face screwed around to cry my heart out. Still, I stopped at the top of the hill, looked as best I could and listened for anyone coming down the hill before I ran across the street. Up the walk, up the steps, across the porch, I stumbled, still crying loudly. I yanked the door open, let it spring closed behind me and ran up the stairs to my room.

I mourned that lovely gift but my real hurt was that I had hurt Jay. I had never hurt anyone before. My hand could still feel where the knuckles hit his nose and cheek bones. I knew he would never talk to me again. I cried over that for a time and when the sobs finally subsided to whimpers I went to the bathroom for the routine.

Mom always had us wash our face and hands with cold water then brush our hair after we cried. I don't know why, but even now it seems to put me back together after a cry. So I did the routine, walked back to my room and decided I needed my stick horse. He was my favorite toy before the yo-yo arrived and I wanted the comfort of him. We would ride the range and rescue wagon trains. We would forget all about this bad thing I had done.

My mom had made us all stick horses for Christmas that year. They were bi-colored men's hunting socks with button eyes, yarn manes and embroidered mouths. We all loved them. We rode everywhere, the back yard, the hill, the front yard and around to the side of the garage. I couldn't find mine. Well, where could he be? He wasn't in my room, not anywhere, even under the bed. I started to look for him. Not in the bathroom, not in the hall; I went downstairs; not in the kitchen...hmmm. Living room? Nope.

Well, he wasn't in my room, not anywhere. I started to look for him. Not in the bathroom, not in the hall, downstairs - not in the kitchen...hmmm. Living room? Nope.

I could hear Mom in the downstairs bathroom getting the little girls dressed. It was safe, so I went in the little girl's bedroom off the living room. I looked around , under the beds and still didn't see him. I turned to leave and THERE he was - but just his head! It was on the floor in the corner by the door. I was horrified! I searched around for the rest of him frantically.

This was an old house back then. It's hard to believe it still stands today. The windows wouldn't stay up without a prop. There was something broken inside them. We always had a stick or something holding them open. I was gazing out the window at the side of the garage after looking in the closet when I realized that the brown stick in the window on a diagonal was the rest of my stick horse!.

This is all before eight o'clock in the morning on a beautiful day. I'll have to continue the rest of this day tomorrow, it's late.

Comments: 2 Comments:
At 25/2/05 3:44 PM, Blogger PlatinumGirl said...

Well, that's just the saddest little kid story! You're quite the descriptive writer -- I swear I could see that blue Yo-Yo in my mind's eye. I'll have to check back for the rest of the story. :o)

At 3/10/05 2:02 PM, Blogger Mel said...

You're right! That is a bad day! Thank you for sharing it, though. :)


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