Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Shared Memories - Week 21 of 2012 - Jan

Near Death Experience

This week the subject was suppose to be child hood surgeries. Humm...I never had any so I think I'll write about something else. I had a near death experience...one really dark night but before we get to that story, I need to give you some back ground.

We had a spinster who lived in our neighborhood. Her name was Miss Collins and many of the girls in the neighborhood really loved her. I can't for the life of me know why she put up with us...but she did. During the day on the weekends especially in the winter, fall, spring or when the weather was bad, we would go hang out at her house. She liked to make things mostly out of wood, items like doll houses, barns and toys. If it was a building, she would fill it with all the little accessories that it needed from furniture to animals, people, etc...She would make these toys for her nieces whom we never saw. I just thought they were the luckiest kids to have an Aunt who would make them toys. Sometimes she would let us help. She would give us a small piece of sand paper and a piece of wood that she had carved or cut. We would work on sanding the edges until they were smooth. Often I would think it was smooth enough, and she would tell me, “ Oh no, not yet, not done yet”.  She always let us know when it was time for us to go home.

She had a small dog...I do not remember what it was ...maybe a Chihuahua...It was the neighborhood “ ankle biter”. I am sure the dog had a name and I can no longer remember it. Miss Collins had a beautiful yard. Her house sat on a hill and her yard sloped away from her house on the North and West sides. She planted beautiful perennials which returned every year. She weeded the beds and tended them very carefully. They were always beautiful. She had grass paths which weaved around the beds which she very carefully mowed with a manual push mower. She was the first person who likely inspire my love of gardening. The lower level of her house exited to the north yard which was fenced. She had a small garden, more flowers and a clothes line behind the fence.

At night after dark, her yard was the best yard to hide in when we played “Touch the Porch” or “Hide n Seek” because of the flower beds. We could hide behind bushes and flowers, never in the beds, but we could lay quietly along the grass path waiting for the right moment to run for the porch..but there was one small problem...the “barking ankle biter” which she would let out either on a chain in the front yard or loose in the fenced lower yard. As soon as that dog came out, it would start to bark at us. And we would have to change our hiding spots in a hurry. If the dog carried on for too long then she would come out and yell at the kids that she knew were just outside of her sight in the darkness!   She would tell us, "Go home and play in their own yard!"  I always wondered if she realized that the kids who came to visit on Saturday during the day were the same kids who she was yelling at that same night.

Near one of her flower beds on the west side of her yard, there was a utility pole. The pole had a guide wire for support much like the one I have in my yard today. Every time I weed the flower bed with the guide wire at my current house, I can help but think of the night I tangle with the one at Miss Collins house.

One moonless dark summer night when we were playing “Touch the Porch”, my sister Sue, Pam Randall and I were once again, hiding among Miss Collins flower beds. I believe that we had just decide that we could make a run for the porch and so we took off. First Pam, then Sue and then me...running full speed....the next thing I knew I was flat on my back in the grass with a thud! “Oh wow”, I think “ what a beautiful sky full of stars... how did I get here?”

Then I hear my sister and Pam whispering...”what was that? Did you hear that? What was it? Jan where are you?”

I think...”huh...I'm right here...why would they say that?” Then I try to whisper and I realize that I can not make a sound...nothing is coming out of my mouth.

“Jan where are you, what happened?” I hear a bit louder...

They call me again.... and again …. this time I hear fear in their voices...still they whisper because they don't want too be found. I hear them in the grass nearby. Searching for me and I can not move nor can I talk...I now begin to feel a little like I can not breathe ...I too am thinking...humm... wonder what happened. 

 “ I am over here”, I want to yell but I can't! Finally Pam or Sue finds me...I feel them touch me but I can't really move....I try to talk to them but nothing comes out.....

 Then one of them yells, “Oh my God, is she dead?” 

 Now my mind is racing....”No I am not dead, silly! I am over here”

 I try to tell them but nothing comes out....they start shaking me...and I try to yell at them to tell them to stop it but all that comes out is a weak whisper,  “ Stop!” 

 In my mind I am screaming but only a faint whisper is coming out...Next I start to moan and move abit. My mind is racing but I am having trouble moving, talking and I begin to wonder if this is a dream. I can see the dark silhouettes of my sister and my friend as they are looking down at me. 

I am thinking " I'm OK! Just give me a minute!" ...and they do. They sit there next to me while I come around.. I was certain I was breathing now and could whisper. Now my neck hurts and it starts to become clear what happened...I ran full force into the guide wire. I am not sure if I flipped over it or what but the force of my fall to the ground knocked the wind out of me, for sure. I do not think that I lost consciousness but I may have..As I said I seemed very aware of all that was going on around me but I could not respond to any of it.

For me, that night, the “Touch the Porch” game was all done. We decided not to tell our parents about it at first because we were afraid that they would not let us play outside after dark if we did...so we tried to hide it but when the mark showed up on my neck, I had some explaining to do. So I told them that I ran into the guide wire at Miss Collins house when we were playing “Touch the Porch”. They did not ask specifics...and I did not tell...Mom looked at it and told me “ You need to be more careful...no more hiding at Miss Collins house. She probably doesn't want you up there anyway!”

Thinking back on it, I really may have been hurt very badly that night. It is a wonder I did not break my neck or land on my head. I can find some humor in the story now but it really wasn't all that funny at the time. As kids, we did not treat it as seriously as we should have. I should have had things looked at back then...and my neck issues that I have lived all my life may have been from that very night!

Sorry there are no photos....It was too dark to take any while playing "Touch the Porch" !

Until next time! I hope you enjoyed my memories.


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