Growing Up Wallace,Memories of the way we were- and anything else that crosses my mind.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

A Not So Merry Merry Go Round

Ah yes, it looks innocent enough, but much like the Puffer Fish with the deceiving look that imitates a smile  but with a body loaded with poison sufficient to kill 30 people and 5 elephants, this creature once found in playgrounds around the nation, can reach out like the arms of a giant octopus, grab you,  and -BLAM, you are on the ground screaming as the flesh is torn off of your body.

OK, OK, I am exaggerating a little, but only a little bit, because you, see, this innocent appearing, playground apparatus got me, and, well here is the rest of the story.

It was sometime in late Fall. I know that I was still riding my bicycle, so winter had not set in yet.  In 2016, we see bikes all winter long, but when I was growing up Wallace, bikes in my home were put up in the attic in the garage for safe keeping until the ice and snow had transformed into spring rain and the sunshine.

I got on the old English Racer( remember those?) and headed up Cedar Street to the Academy playground. The Academy had a great playground including a "merry go round', the kinds that everyone ran around the sides of until it got going fast, and then we would jump up on it and ride around until we were sufficiently nauseated.

Now, I was a bit uncoordinated in those days, being a growing 5th-grade boy and all, but the allure of danger outweighed the fear of injury,

I don't remember everyone who was at the playground that day, but I do remember that Rick Gilles and Mike Gnaedinger, my doctor's son, were there. I don't remember if GF was there that day or not.
We all were going to run and jump on the merry go round, and with all the guys there, there was no doubt that we could get a real fast speed going.

We started running and pushing and getting ready for the one at a time jumping on. Faster and faster it spun, and it was my turn to jump on. Well, I jumped, and to this day I don't know what happened, nor do I remember not landing on the merry go round. I only remember the sickening pain that tore through my left knee as the bolts underneath the carriage tore through the flesh several times until the guys riding realized that my left was underneath the carriage, and was being ripped every time the carriage passed over my knee. Finally, it came to a halt, and I pulled my bloody leg out from it.

I looked down and saw huge gash right under the knee cap. It was deep, and it hurt like the dickens. Mike Gnaedinger was the first to run up to me, and said, " You had better go see my dad".
Somehow, and to this day I don't know how I did it, I got on my bike, and with one leg dragging, I walked, rode, that bike back down the street to my house on Cedar. My mother took one look at my leg, and up the street, we went to the Wallace Hospital, which was only one or so blocks away.

I still have those scars, and whenever I drive to Wallace and see the old Academy building, I cringe.

This monster can get you, Be afraid, be very afraid. 

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