And the beat goes on

Twelve was a big year. I guess you don't realize it when these things are happening, especially when you are a kid.

I got over the peritonitus and got out of the hospital after about a ten day stay. I was pretty pitiful for another couple weeks. I think my friend apologized to me for not letting me off hall duty but I really don't remember. I know I don't hate her. I even kind of still liked her as a person in high school but we ran with different groups.

I had been watching my sibs since I was 10-ish for the folks for short trips to town or the store. I was home with them one summer afternoon and we were all spread out doing out own things. We all knew the rules when the folks were gone. No friends over, no phone calls in case they had to reach us, no leaving the yard on foot or by bike and, way down at the bottom of the list, no tree climbing.

So our friends stood on the sidewalks and visited with us and mostly we followed the rest of the rules with no problem. Mom and Dad never left us like that more than about forty minutes. What could happen? (LOL the STORIES!) Most of what happened I could deal with - sibs fighting; not doing chores; not doing homework, small potatoes!

But this day I was just walking out of the front door when I heard Arr scream and then stop screaming. The screaming didn't rush me out too badly but when she stopped my stomach clenched up and I took off at a run.

I didn't have to go far. She was lying spread eagle on her back in the middle of the sidewalk under the best tree for climbing we had. I dropped to my knees by her head. She wasn't screaming and she wasn't crying but she was sort of breathing, or trying too. I knew she had had the wind knocked out of her clear into next week - what I didn't know was how to tell what else was wrong. And the big thing I didn't know was where to find mom. She was at the store but I didn't have the number.

True to form, all the sibs had come running at the scream of one of us. We might kill each other but no one else was allowed to whale on us! The two little ones started tearing up and screaming "Is she dead?' over and over at me. I was busy thinking and just let them waste their wind.

She wasn't dead but something might be broken. I knew I shouldn't move her. Then I was stuck. What next? Ambulances were expensive. So were doctors. I had heard the folks talking over the bills from my surgury and the big accident grama died in. I couldn't call them till I was sure I needed them...

Then the light went on in my head! The City Grama! She would know what to do! I told the little kids to hush, told Vee to stay by her and not let her move and did my best Flash imitation running for the phone.

I had her number down cold but the party line was busy! AKKK! I hung up out of polite habbit then snatched the phone up again and told them I had an emergency. I had to call my grama NOW, please. They were nice about it and hung up.

Punch four digits, ring......ring. ring.......ring. And grama picked up. I gabbled out that Arr had fallen out of the tree and that I couldn't find mom and she hung up on me. I stood there a second before I realized she was rushing over.

I raced back outside to see Arr, like a giant gingerbread kid, her arms and legs still spread out, slowly rocking and swinging from one foot to the next, headed for the steps to go inside. Vee was right beside her, Cee and theboy blasted past me, running ahead, for a pillow and a blanket for the couch.

"I told you not to let her move!" I snapped at Vee. She shrugged and flipped, "What was I supposed to do? Sit on her? She wanted to go inside! I told her not to move her arms or legs in case they were broken," she offered as a defense. THat's why she was walking funny!

We helped her make the steps and grama was running around from the drive way before we got her into the house.

Now the city grama was a little lady. Not much bigger than me at twelve but she bumped me out of the way to get to Arr and I stayed bumped. She was trying to get Arr to tell her what happened and what hurt and Vee and I were trying to tell her and the little kids came pounding down the stairs dragging the blanket behind them till they saw Grama, then they got it up off the floor fast before she saw them.

Our gaggle all gobbled and squeeked into the living room and got the girl on the couch. By now she was crying. I felt better then, because I was sure she wasn't dead. Grama tucked her in and chased us all out like the silly gooses we were.

Arr told her she slipped going between branches, caught one but couldn't hold on with one hand and fell. Then she didn't remember anything till Vee telling her not to move. She had knocked herself out and had the goose egg to prove it right in the center of the back of her head.

That took like 2 minutes with us peeking around the door edges while they talked. Grama sent me to make an ice bag up and sent Vee for another blanket because she was afraid the kid was shocky.

I don't think all of it took more than 25 minutes from downed kid to ice pack. Grama only lived about eight blocks away.

She had the little kids sitting down and watching TV, sort of, while she got the ice on Arr's head and told us to have a seat and keep quiet. You didn't give Grama any lip so we sat and sort of watched TV and Grama checking out the wounded victim for other damage. There was none, luckily for Arr, but she was dizzy and winded still.

Then my Mom came slamming in the back door, calling for us. I heard her drop a bag of groceries on the kitchen counter. She would have gotten home to see her mother's car in the drive way and known right away that something was badly out of whack. I jumped up to go answer her and Grama gave me that "What did I JUST tell you to do - SIT back DOWN!" look.

Then little Grama arose from the couch, stomped across the living room and met Mom in the entry way. She did NOT look happy! We were ferverently watching TV with our faces and the confrontation with out eyes slid as far sideways as they would go and our ears twitching.

"Valerie's MOTHER's Full Name HERE! What were you THINKING! Leaving these children without....."

"MOTHER! In the KITCHEN! Please!" our mom interrupted her with a big "SHHHHH!" on the end for emphasis, pointing at us like we were previously invisible.

They huffed and puffed out to the kitchen and shut the door but with a vote of all "eyes" four of us crept out to listen.

What we heard that day I think every child should witness at least once in their life. My Grama dressed my Mother down like a nine year old with a chocolate mustache who said she didn't eat the company cake. She even made Mom cry! We looked at each other when that started and beat feet back to our seats - pronto!

Grama come out and had us two older ones go get the rest of the groceries while she and Mom cleaned Arr up. Then Mom took her to the doctors office to have her head examined. We thought that was pretty funny.

Meanwhile, Grama got the two little kids to set the table while we put the groceries away and she made dinner. I don't remember what she cooked. It could have been boiled sawdust and we would have eaten it without a word. She made MOM cry! We never angered that Grama again if it was at all avoidable, not as long as she lived. The thought was too scary. Anyone who could take OUR Mom and make her cry with just words was TUFF! We didn't EVEN want to know what she would do to US!

When you are little your parents are the biggest and the tuffest adults you know because they directly affect you when they have something to holler about. To see one of them screamed at just like they are a little kid is food for many thoughts. The main thought we got out of this was "Don't cross Grama!"

Dad got home and she met him at the back door to explain that afternoon's excitement and I thing she put a bug in his ear about kids being alone at home, too.

She left to go home and make dinner for herself and her man. We all ate dinner quietly and were just getting finished when Mom got back. She started to jump on me for calling Grama and Dad gave HER a look and asked how Arr was.

Like most children, the sis had a tuff head and, aside from a headache, was fine. Mom got us all through the bath, jamies, and tucked in routine and came over to my bed before she left. "I know you did the right thing to call another adult in an emergency, Val. If it happens again would you call Aunt K? Please?"

I nodded my sleepy head and drifted off just glad no one had hollered at me like Grama hollered at Mom!

Comments: 2 Comments:
At 11/10/05 9:35 PM, Blogger Sabine said...

What an intimidating Grama! I wouldn't want to be remembered like that by my grandchildren.

You can sure tell a good story, Val. I'm 50 years old, too, but I can't remember details of my childhood like you can. Things you write about, like party lines, bring back memories, though.

At 12/10/05 7:29 AM, Blogger Valerie - Riding Solo said...

Thanks for stopping in sabine, She was a wonderful grama but she has expectations and you didn't want to let her down.

I don't remember her ever laying a hand on us but she could make you feel an inch tall in two sentances or less.


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