Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Can't Take Me Anywhere

Heads or Tails this week:
TAILS - Share a Summertime memory

Stacy was a couple of years younger than me, which was a huge age gap back when I was about 11, but she lived just down the street from me in our small suburb of big Chicago, and somehow we became friends. Perhaps our friendship started one of the million times I roller skated on the sidewalk past her house in my freaky 80's sneaker-look roller skates (they looked just like these, same exact colors even, oh my). I was convinced enough that I was going to be in the Roller Skate Olympics, or something, that I convinced her of the same.

We weren't best friends, but we were friends enough that I recall a sleepover watching Friday Night Videos back when music videos were new and when most people didn't have cable or MTV yet (and when they did, MTV actually showed, um, music videos back in those olden times). Her family invited me on an outing to the beach once. Once. Stacy's parents were kind of young and were pretty laid back and cool, and it was good times, but it would be the last time they invited me anywhere.

We went to some beach in Indiana (not "the Dunes," but that is another beach of my youth) that had a single water slide that landed right in the lake. It was huge and tall and way beyond cool. The ramp up to the top was all wooden, and the railings were also made of wood and designed kind of like a wooden fence with posts and a couple of pieces of wood horizontally in between them. Kind of like this, if a visual helps, but picture them diagonally headed up:


(Did that help? Pretty high-tech, I know.)

At the very, very top was the platform from which you get on the slide, and just before that platform was the last part of the long ramp up to the top.

It was right there, at that very last step from ramp to platform, all the way at the very top that it happened, the accident that was truly just waiting to happen because what genius mind would think that a wet wooden ramp and a fence with plenty of space underneath to slip through to death the ground very many feet below was a good idea? Surely it's not the same mind that's been removing my favorite playground equipment from parks in recent years to make them boring so safe.

As I lost my footing and started to slip, Stacy reacted by trying to grab onto me, but by the time I'd slipped enough that I was literally hanging onto the wet walkway with my fingers with my scrawny and useless little arms fully extended, feeling like I was in some action movie dream because surely this could not be happening, I told her to let go because I knew that the inevitable was about to happen, and that she'd just be going down with me.

Everything went... not really black or white or anything, but just everything went... away. For awhile, I guess.

When I came to, I was laying on some rocks, and worried people were rushing toward me, some yelling orders to others and trying to sort out who I belonged to because surely I was badly injured. The looks on the faces of Stacy's parents were of sheer terror turned relief as I stood up, dusted myself off, noted some scratches on my arms and legs from the brushy bush that probably did nothing to break my fall but had left its mark anyway, and not one person (me included) could believe that I'd not only survived but hadn't broken something like my neck, ass or general whole body.

I still remember being really stiff and sore for a few days, but within a week, I was back to wearing those ridiculous looking sneaker roller skates, and cruising past Stacy's house. Her parents would kind of half smile and do a little wave, but they never, ever invited me to go anywhere ever again.

Today is smoke-free day 380, and I'm still counting.


  1. I think those roller skates are pretty awesome. :) And CONGRATS on 380 smoke-free days!

  2. That is a brilliant story! Mygosh. The way you described everything going "away"... I was there in that moment as I read your narrative. I don't know how high the slide was, but I'm sure it was high enough that it's remarkable you were relatively uninjured. And poor Stacy's parents! They must have felt so bad, like it was somehow their fault. Did you and Stacy remain friends?

    (I had a pair of skates just like those!)

    Happy HoT!

  3. Thanks, Smarmoofus. Stacy and I drifted apart, but we weren't really very close, so it's all good. :)

  4. That's what I call a summer memory! Sounds like something out of a book. Those things do happen in real life. Why wouldn't they ever invite you again. It's not like you planned to do that! And it wasn't their fault. Anyway, great post. My HoT is up too.

  5. Forgetfulone - I can't say that I'd have taken the chance of taking me anywhere, either. :)

  6. i did something similar, but from a roof... but that's what childhood is all about. when you're a kid anyway. if you did that around me now, i'd put you in a padded room till you're responsible, heee heee heee

  7. I guess being a 'kid' kept you from breaking anything, right? There is something about young bodies that make accidents 'less severe'. But me? I wouldn't have climbed up the thing in the first place. LOL

    Great story....love the skates!!

    Mine is shared. Stop by if you can. But warning, it's a bit different than what you'd probably expect for a summer memory.

  8. those roller skates sound well cool. they should definetely bring those back!

    My HoTs is up too. Hope youll stop by ;-)

  9. Wow... I can't believe they didn't take you to the hospital. Speaks to the different times we live in. If that happened nowadays, the parents would have you in the ER and also have hired a lawyer in the span of 20 minutes.

    OK, my first visit here, by way of Huckdoll. And I grew up in Hoffman Estates so I am totally down with the Chicago references. The Dunes... yikes. that was almost my post prom!

  10. I actually dig the sneaker-skates! I think I have to get a pair for Livey.. LOL

    Great post, Mags!

  11. I think my kids had those skates. Too bad you never made it to the Olympics. :)

    Thanks for the illustration which gave me a giggle. :)

  12. I love it that some of you love the skates. I suppose today they do have kind of a retro feel. If orange neon ever comes back, I'm out - whaddaya mean it was never in? ;)

  13. Oh wow! How scary -- for both you and Stacey's parents! Geesh!

    As a side note, I love the Dunes and remember them fondly. I spent 6 years or so of my adolescence in northwest Indiana and frequented the Dunes. I have so many memories of the Dunes!

  14. hahaha.. I am laughing.. your description was so vivid..

    Summers of my past

  15. Yikes! Of course they never invited you anywhere again - I mean, not that it was your fault - but wow, very scary!!

  16. Hi! Just stopping by from Huck's hood :) Nice to "meet " ya!

    -Ashley aka BossSanders

  17. Huckdoll wrote some pretty nice words about you, so I thought I'd stop by. Great story...I especially like the fence drawing! I am particularly intrigued by the smoking part. I have used Chantix in the past too. It works really well, no question, but I had some weird dreams. I don't mean "haha, that was weird", mind you. I'm talking about "I better not tell anyone that I just dreamt that...EVER" dreams. Glad it worked for you!

  18. you pry scared the bejeesus out of her parents!

  19. Wow... scary stuff. Good that you survived and didn't break anything.

    I'm stopping over here from Huck's place.

  20. Great story. I have 'broken' a few neighbourhood kids on outings with my lot over the years. It always happens when they are just out of your reach. Everything moves into slow motion as the child, falls, tumbles, slides or runs into something.

    When you return the bandaged kid, they are always fine and relish the gory story, but the parents always say "Uhm, thanks for taking Jordan?"

  21. oh no!! that's amazing!!! i can't believe you walked away from a fall like that!


    I hate it when my friends' parents didn't like me. I was a little troublemaker when I was a kid and I did things like try to paint mudpies brown to make them more "realistic" but by using stain that, well, stained us. And parents had to use turpentine to get the stain off. you know, things like that that made parents hate me. anyway, glad you made it. or i wouldn't be reading this great writing of yours!

  22. Whoa! What crazy flashback! I stopped breathing when you described everything going "away."

    LOVE those skates ;)

  23. I would have invited you back. :-)

    Glad you're still around to share with us.

  24. Something weird just happened. It says my comment was saved, but I don't see it ... so if this is a duplicate, please dump it. If not ... here's what I said ... sort of:

    Interesting memory from your past ... reading it reminds me of friends from the neighborhood I've not thought of in a long time ... so thanks. Sorry you didn't get to vacation with them again but am glad you weren't hurt severely.
    Hugs and blessings,

  25. We've had three boys and the one thing we learned during all of that is that, under normal circumstances, little kids will bounce rather than break. Sometimes rather high.

  26. Great story!!! I used to love roller skating... Ya, I was the kid that begged to go to the USA Skating Rink every Saturday afternoon... I thought I was so cool, especially when the girls only skate took place and I used to slap all the guys hands as I skated around the rink lol....

  27. Wow... i can't imagine how bad you were hurt... i never tried a pair of roller skates... but i wanna try it one day... someday. :)

    congratulations for your smoke-free days. :)

  28. Yikes. I had a pucker factor of about 6 while reading the story about the ladder. I always have freaky dreams/daydreams about slips and falls and stuff like that.

    Your skates weren't so bad. I had the kind of skates that you put on over your shoes. Those were bad.

    The music video story takes me back. Do you remember the "I want my MTV!" commercials?
    I remember when we got cable, with the little slider box thingy, and we had MTV, and all of my friends asked if my mom had called up and said "I want my MTV!"

    Ahh the good old days.


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