1950 Memories of Suburban Adventures

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Delicate Martyr

Special individuals are able to persevere in the face of extreme adversity. I was definitely special and born to suffer as only a true martyr can. Joan of Arc had nothing on me.

During the summer, Corky and his sister, Deedee (Mary Ellen), came to spend the night for a few days. Construction on our clubhouse continued.

http://www.stockfreeimages.com/719312/Rusty-Nail.html#_ Old time rusty nail waiting to infect me with tetanus.

Old time rusty nail waiting to infect me with tetanus.

We girls straightened more rusty nails and the boys constructed a wobbly second story for our clubhouse. It covered half the first floor roof.

Our new addition, barely three and a half feet high, required extreme crouching. We had to duck-walk or crawl from spot to spot.

It was possible to sit on the second story roof, but we only did it briefly and one at a time. We weren’t afraid of the height; it was the swaying when there was no wind that worried us.

Upon completion, the four of us sat in our high-rise lounge drinking warm Kool-Aid, eating cheese and cracker sandwiches, and admiring our handiwork. We didn’t make any window holes, but enjoyed a spectacular view through the cracks between the boards.

I turned to climb down the ladder to the first floor. I forgot to stay crouched and rose up too high. Rivulets of blood ran down my face. The boys forgot to bend back the protruding ends of the rusty ceiling nails.

www.georgiaifo.galileo.usg.edu Compare to me he just had a surface wound.

Compared to me he just had a surface wound.

Deedee clambered down and created a makeshift head-dressing out of a discarded t-shirt. Spots of bright red oozed through the white cotton and were appropriately horrifying. I looked like the fife player in the revolutionary war painting, Spirit of ’76.

“I have to move as little as possible or I might die,” I said in a feeble (yet brave) voice.

The fact that I was the oldest and dripping in blood convinced the others I might be right. They started to run for the house, but I weakly called them back.

“You can’t leave me behind. I could bleed to death by the time you get back.”

I let Deedee go ahead to alert Mom, and commanded David and Corky to create a chair for me by crossing their arms and holding hands. The afternoon was oppressively hot. Our house stood past two fence lines, one hundred fifty yards away, uphill. It was a slight hill, but uphill nonetheless.

David and Corky about five years later.

David and Corky about five years later.

During the last half of our journey, David asked, “Are you feeling any better?”

“Are you positive you might die if you walk?” asked Corky.

Sweat ran off their faces. Being a gracious martyr, I agreed to attempt walking. I took a few shaky steps and collapsed in a heap (watching out for cow pies) with suitable moaning.

I was grudgingly reinstated on my portable throne. I swayed my head from side-to-side and moaned during the remainder of my ride. David and Corky were very sorry they asked me to try walking.

Mom and Deedee met us at the backyard. I leaned on Mom as she helped me inside. She unwound my t-shirt dressing and much to my annoyance, said, “The bleeding has stopped. It appears to be a surface scratch.”

The head of a martyr.

The head of a martyr.

She cleaned my wound and sealed it with Mercurochrome. I didn’t require a tetanus shot, since David and I each previously had one from stepping on rusty nails. The ancient square-tipped nails pushed tiny pieces of sneaker-sole into our feet.

David asked Mom, “Does she have to go to the hospital?”

“Of course not,” Mom said. “She’ll be fine.”

In what sounded like an accusing tone, he stated, “Mary said she’d die if Corky and I didn’t carry her all the way to the house.”

Mom gave me a sideways glance and we locked eyes. I held my breath waiting for her response.

“With head wounds you can never be too careful,” she replied.

Triumphantly, I said, “See, I told you so.”

Deedee and I agreed that the boys were not as thankful as they should be for my life being spared.

We returned to the clubhouse the following morning. Deedee was unchanged, I suffered from slight dizzy spells if someone was watching, and David and Corky had new black spots on their ungrateful hearts.

Lessons learned: Never ask injured martyrs to walk or you will pay dearly. And always pound the ends of protruding nails so they don’t stick out.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’ – Benjamin Franklin

Related Posts: Basement Dwellers/Clubhouse Spies

Now it’s your turn: Did you ever have a bad encounter with a nail?

© Mary Norton-Miller and 1950s Suburban Adventures, 2012 forward. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mary Norton-Miller and 1950s Suburban Adventures with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


  1. Mimmy Jain says:

    Oh well done, Mary — that was neatly done indeed!

  2. xerxeska says:

    Who me? Do you think I’m a pussy cat? Ha! I’m as hard as nails.

  3. Glynis Jolly says:

    It’s funny the things we do as kids to get attention. I was just the opposite of you. I always wanted to be thought of as being stronger and smarter than everyone else. I didn’t want to appear as a weakling whatever the cost. Instead of being Joan of Arc, I think I fell the category of Superwoman.

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      Yes, Glynis, I always wanted to be the smartest one too. That’s why I got carried instead of walking. Plus I had a major yearn to be an actress. As far as stronger goes, I was too skinny to be physically strong.
      I like your category of Superwoman. A great place to be.

  4. spunkybong says:

    Great that your Mummy took your side there, about being carried about. 😀

  5. C. Suresh says:

    Hahaha! And I thought MY sis was the devil incarnate 🙂

  6. CJ says:

    No real good “nail” encounters come to memory, but a traumatic Mr. PotatoHead impalement in 1969 or ’70 sent me to the hospital and resulted in staph infection…never mind spoiling THAT toy’s image for life! Ahh but kids, no worries nowadays…thanks to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (Ralph Nader) Mr Potato Head isn’t played with real spuds anymore.

  7. kriskkaria says:

    wow, what a role and you played it beautifully!

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