Wayback, the end of the worst day ever

While we sat in a row in the green and tan waiting room on the hard chairs Dad told us his part of the story.

He had quieted the kids, fed them breakfast, fixed the window, got the mess from the door and the wall cleaned up and patched the door. We didn't have portable phones back then so he had Vee stay near it incase Mom called.

When she did call he was angry at first. He said he got right over it. He knew if it wasn't really important Mom would not have asked him to get to the hospital so he did what most boys do when they have a problem and called his Dad.

His Mom, my Grama, answered the phone and said Grampa was out plowing a field when Dad asked to talk to him. There was no way around it, he had to tell her I was hurt and at the hospital and I guess she got a little excited. She hollered for Dad's little brother, the Uncle that gave me the gift, without remembering to put the phone down first and got Dad right in the ear!

Uncle was sent to fetch Grampa while Grama got all the details from Dad. Grama wasn't a fluttery woman by any stretch of the imagination but, back then, being in the hospital meant you were dying. She assured Dad that as soon as Grampa could get in from the field they would drive into town and watch the little ones while Dad used their car to come to the hospital.

That problem was all taken care of, now all he had to do was find the bear. The little girls were napping in the playpen by then so Dad asked Vee to come upstairs and help him look for my Teddy.

If you remember, earlier that day I had searched for the stick horse. That means I had dug under the bed and in the toy box and closets. I also ran out of the house without making my bed. Vee got scared awake and hadn't made hers, either.

When Dad told Mom about the state the room was in he was HOT all over again. We were taught to take care of our clothes and toys. He said it looked like six kids hadn't done a thing but play in that room for a month. He said Vee started right in making her bed. Then, Dad said, he rememberd how helter skelter the day had started and told her to stop.

They had to find the bear. They would look in my bed first, then start picking up toys till they found him. It was a good plan. Vee told me later they found him in less than 15 minutes. He was under HER bed. When I got up he must have gotten tossed off the covers I flung off that morning and slid just under the edge. She found him because one paw was sticking out.

Now everything was ready and they just had to wait for our Grands to get there. Dad told us he took Vee into the kitchen to fix a little lunch. They were just going to have a glass of milk and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. (this was before pb&j, which is much shorter to write) Dad got everything ready and they decided to eat in front of the t.v. like it was a little party just for them.

They sat the plates on the old, tin, t.v. trays we had and tuned into "I Love Lucy". Dad got one bite of his sandwich and the phone rang. Worried it was the hospital again, or Mom, he jumped right up without thinking and over went his tray with the milk on it, right into the carpet, all over the center of the room. It made a big blobby spot.

Those tin trays are noisy when you tip them over. The the little kids woke up, crying, of course.

In all this confusion Dad answered the phone and watched Vee trotting to the bathroom and coming back with the dark blue towels. She had most of the spill cleaned up before Dad got done on the phone and the babies quiet. Not bad for only a little over 3 years old. Dad said he only had to rinse out the towels for her. With four kids Mom had trained us early in Basic Clean Up.

The call had been Grama calling to say they were leaving right then. It would only be about 20 minutes and he could join Mom and bring me the bear. Dad and Vee just had time to finish their lunch before they arrived.

And there we sat. He finished up by saying he had better call them to give them the latest news and got up to go find a phone. Then the Nurse came out and called for Mr. and Mrs. P. Mom got up, leaving me with a look that said "Sit, Stay!" and went to see what she wanted.

She and the Nurse went to find Dad. They all went down the hall we had come out of after the X-ray. I sat alone and, finally, quiet, with my Teddy holding my head up for me.

Another Nurse came out with a small bag wrapped in a white wash rag. She brought it over and sat down beside me. I looked at her. "Val, this is only ice. I wrapped it up so it won't drip on you. All I am going to ask you to do is hold in in your sore hand. It will make it feel better." Then she waited.

I knew what Mom would tell me and Dad would be right behind her. I raised my head, lowered my Teddy to my lap and took my first real look at my hand. The poor fingers were missing a lot of skin. One of my finger nails was black. The whole thing was about twice as big as it should have been and red all over like hamburger. I was grossed out. I turned to her and took the ice in my good hand then GENTLY eased it under the still curled fingers. I couldn't really hold it, I just held my hand palm up and let it rest there.

The nice Nurse smiled at me and said, "Good girl, now just relax. It will be better in a few days." "Not a chance," I thought, but I picked up my bear and cuddled him to my cheek. She got up and went back wherever nurses come from.

The clock on the wall of the waiting room said two twenty five. Dad and Mom came back looking almost happy. They came over to get me and Mom said, "I don't know how, but you didn't break even one bone. We just have to keep ice on it and let you rest for a few days and it will be all better!"

Dad picked me up and we went out to the cars. I rode with Dad so Mom could stop to get some Epsom Salt from the drug store. Dad put me down in the front seat and strap my lap belt. He got in on his side and started the car. We pulled out of the parking lot and headed for the house. I don't remember another thing after that. I have always fallen asleep to the sound of wheels going around and if ever a girl was worn to a frazzle it was me that day.

I imagine Dad carried me up to bed when we got home and Grama would have tucked me in, she was great at tucking in. I slept till the next day.

I know a few days later my nail fell off. I saved it to carry in my pocket. I showed it to Jay along with the naked finger and grossed him out good. I don't recall how I apologized to him or made up for his black eye. (yes, I officially blacked his eye. Tough girl!) He didn't buy me another yo-yo, either. We were neighbor friends for years after that so we must have worked out something.

Our room got cleaned up as soon as I was mobil again.

Dad put my horsie back together and patched the hole in the wall so you could hardly see it.

They never used the stick from our horses to hold windows open again.

Life went on and I never had eight hours that bad again for years and years.

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