Saturday, May 31, 2008

1960 and 90 feet kept me home!

When I was 10 years old sometimes my friends and I would go missing for days at a time. My parents would worry about me as I am sure I caused them a ton of stress. Near our farm is a great creek that runs at the bottom of tall cliffs. It is a magnet for boys even to this day. The escarpments are known to collectors as world class fossil grounds and we learned early that the better more complete ones were worth cash to us.

My friend Robert, Rich and myself went camping at the bass of the cliffs Memorial day week end 1960. We left after school on Friday from my house with our gear tied to bicycles planning to spend the night and the next day there. Rich is eleven days younger then I am and Robert was a year younger. So I was the elder on this little adventure. Lady Bug our beagle tagged along as she always did.

We got camp set-up and then acted on our grand plan to hunt fossils 100 feet above the floor of the creek bottom. I took along a heavy rope my father had in the barn. On our way to the camp site I tied the rope to a guard rail post and dropped the other end over the side.

Rich and I had no problem climbing up and down on the rope, but Robert was a fat little bastard and he felt left out as he could climb maybe twenty feet before he tired. At the time our solution seemed perfectly logical. Robert would take his bike back up the dug way, ride back to the rope and climb down to us.

This almost worked! The fat little bastard got scare and wanted to go all the way to the bottom in a hurry. I was on a ledge 90 feet up, exploring the rock face. On his way down he knocked me off the ledge.

I did a free fall to the bottom. I broke a leg, an arm, and fractured my skull. The volunteer fire dept. showed up, threw me on a stretcher, and carted me to the waiting ambulance on the top of the cliff near the dug way. Did a four day hospital stay mostly because they were afraid I scrambled my brain.

The whole thing was a big deal in the newspaper. Robert's mom forbid him from hanging with us, Riches parent did not give a rat's ass. Lady Bug made it home on her own!

What a crappy way to start the summer, wearing two casts and on crutches! About 4 weeks after the fall it was freakishly hot out for so early in the summer. Everybody was swimming in the pond I could only watch. My brother came up with the answer, "Plastic"! We wrapped my casts in plastic and taped it own. No way would two plaster casts melt with that set-up. Well they did and rather quickly too!

Tried out my arm and leg, for some reason I thought they would be flapping. Shit they worked just fine. End of story.

Flash forward! 1969 The Tet offensive, the draft, a 19 year old with a lottery number of 27. You are fucked now sunshine! I figured ,"Don't ask me I don't give a damn my next stop is Viet Nam!"

Remember the cliff and all the stuff about falling 90 feet and breaking my shit? Hell in 1969 I barely remembered it, but Uncle Sam knew all about it. That bastard made me 4-F and at the time I was ready for war. It was not very long after when I joined the movement.


doggybloggy said...

two great stories, what a colorful life you have lived or what a colorful way you have of weaving one...

Claudia said...

Slip, I've been trying to reply for two days now. Blogger hates me. :(

Claudia said...

You are fucked now sunshine...HA! Love it. LOVE it. I'm going to tell that to EVERYONE I know. Just 'cause. Let them try to figure it out. I just like the way it sounds. FINALLY blogger is letting me back on to your's been hating me the past few days, didn't want you to think I didn't covet your ornery attention anymore. ;)

MarmiteToasty said...

Love your adventures as a chid :).... snorted tea out me nose with 'You are fucked now sunshine' LOL.... the emergency and ambulance services back then seem so raw compared with today lol..... I remember getting knocked down by the Number 45 double decker bus when I was about 7, broke me arm and I do had a fractured skull.... it was shove ya in the back of an ambulance as quick as they can and be done with it lol..... it made us tough though.....

As I write this my Sam who has a broken shoulder blade from a few weeks ago is now driving himself to the hospital with a suspected broken elbow/arm...... like he should even be skateboarding with his shoulder....... that'll learn him lol


BenefitScroungingScum said...

Such a great story! A friend of mine once told me about his attempt to rescue a little girl he and his brother were playing with. She'd some how 'fallen' off the cliff top and was stuck someway down. The two boys (who both became engineers) decided the only sensible course of action was to climb down to her, tie a rope around her, then climb back up to their bike, attach the rope and ride away, thus (hopefully) pulling her up the cliff.
Cue one screaming little girl being cut round the middle by the rope, bike somehow ending up at the bottom of the cliff and multiple furious parents. Kids today are missing out on so much, BG