Friday, March 6, 2009

What A Year THAT Was!

Have you ever just had one of those years you'll never forget? Mine happened when I was 12.

It all started right about Halloween. Our church had rented the skating rink for a Halloween Costume Skate Night. That's when they still had 4 wheels! You remember back in the day, don't you? Every weekend was spent at the roller rink. Jordache Jeans with big cuffs at the bottom, comb in the back pocket...We were cool! Ugh. I'm getting old ain't I?

Ah, I remember that night so well. I was a dressed like a clown. Papaw's big, polyester checked pants pulled up high on the waist and secured with a rope. Rainbow fro. White painted face with big, red lips turned up into a happy smile - and the eyes and cheeks were done as well. Oh, and of course the squishy red nose. What clown doesn't have a squishy red nose? Well, someone there thought that they would be really awesome and dress up like Santa Clause...AND pass out candy. Do you remember Nerds? Not the people - the candy (I'm dating myself again.). Those hard little balls of sugary, flavored goodness that always seemed to escape the box and get everywhere. That's what "Santa" was passing out that night - AT A SKATING RINK! Of course, not everyone was going to follow the rules of no eating on the skate floor. That someone happened to be my cousin, who not only took them out on the floor, but spilled them out on the floor. And failed to tell anyone so they could be cleaned up from off of the floor. (You think you know what's coming, don't you? Well, you probably do if you know me!) It was time for the races of the night. I loved the races. I was fast. The whistle blew signaling "Go!" and off I went. I was smokin'! I was right up there in the lead. But as I rounded the first curve I ran over something like little, tiny marbles from Hell. NERDS! I lost all control and hit the floor.

Skipping ahead just slightly...we got to the Emergency Room and I looked like a real piece of work. All of my clown make-up had run into a big mess that looked like a rainbow had spewed all over my face. That was the night I broke my arm. Thanks, Jamie!

I used to like to play touch football at recess. I was usually the only girl that would play. No biggie. I was somewhat of a tom boy back then. I even played football with my arm in a cast! Well, the day finally arrived when my cast came off and I couldn't have been happier. All the itching! My dad had straightened out a coat hanger for me and wrapped the end in cotton balls that had been taped on so I could scratch my arm inside of the cast. He was always really clever that way. By the time I got that thing off my arm it was skanky and I was glad to be free!

One day just a couple of weeks after I had gotten my cast off I was out there playing touch football with the guys. It was so cold! We had gotten a really good snow and it made running a little tougher than usual. I had caught the ball and was running for a touchdown! Yay, me! One of the boys on the opposing team forgot that we were playing "touch" football I guess 'cause when he hit me I went down. The only problem was that because of the boots I was wearing and all of the snow - my leg wanted to stay up. I knew it was broken when I heard the pop. I yelled for someone to get a teacher. While I was waiting on the ambulance to arrive and take me to the ER again, the teachers covered me up with blankets. I never did understand the reasoning behind that. I WAS LAYING IN THE SNOW! Once again...peeing in a fan? That was the day I broke my leg. Thanks, boy from my 6th grade class who didn't understand the concept of "touch" football!

The day I got my leg cast off there was something going on that involved physical activity that I wanted to take part in, though I can't remember what it was now. I just remember that when my mom asked the doctor if it would be OK if I went he thought for a moment and said, "Sure. I need the money!" So, I didn't go and that was the last of my broken bones.

That wasn't the end of my excitement for the year, though.

I used to babysit. Now that I'm a mom, myself, I can't figure out what the heck people would leave their kids for hours upon end in the sole care of 12 year old for! But, that's just how it was back then. My last and greatest adventure happened during one of these babysitting stints. It's still all so vivid in this steel trap I call my mind.

Mom dropped me off at Donna's apartment. She had 5 kids all under the age of 8 years old. Remember, I was 12? What was the matter with people? The kids were all excited to see me and crawling all up my legs and stuff 'cause I'm so cool, you know. As the 5 kiddies were screaming, "Pam, look at this!" "Pam, come see my room!" "Pam, .....", Donna was giving me instructions. "I didn't get to feed the kids dinner, yet. But, I have hot dogs boiling and french fries going on the stove top." Then she left. First of all, it was hard to process the information due to the screaming of all the little monkeys in the home that seemed more like a zoo at the time. Second and most importantly, I wasn't allowed to cook in grease. I was barely allowed to cook at all BECAUSE I WAS 12 YEARS OLD!!!! So, amidst all of the "Pam, this" and "Pam, that's" the kids were begging me to walk them to the park. Anything to shut them up! I mean, anything to make the little darlings happy. We hadn't been at the park FIVE MINUTES when of the little boogers had to pee and couldn't hold it. As we were walking back to the house that we had just left not even FIVE MINUTES earlier, we noticed a commotion. People were swarming like flies on a fresh turd to somewhere. Then we began to see smoke and hear the sirens. I told the kids, "Someone's house is on fire." Then it HIT me like a ton of bricks! "YOUR HOUSE IS ON FIRE!"

By the time we got there the firemen were trying to bust the door in so they could put the fire out. I had left without the key and the door was locked so there was no way we could have gotten back in the apartment anyway. OOPS! The fireman said the apartment was at the point of exploding when they finally got the door open just in the nick of time. That would have been worse than OOPS.

My mom and another one of my cousins just happened to both be driving through town when they saw all of the fire engines turn into the apartment complex. Since nibbiness runs deep in my family, they both followed behind to see what the commotion was all about. Imagine their surprise to find me knee deep in the middle of it! Donna and her husband were called to come home, but there wasn't really much of a home to come back to. The smoke damage had destroyed everything. So, my mom brought them home to stay with us while they were waiting for another apartment.

My dad always worked 2nd shift. When he came home from work that night, Mom met him at the back door. "Hi, Honey. These are these are the Skeens'. They are going to be staying with us for a while because Pam burnt their house down tonight."

Do you know that Donna still insisted on paying me? Can you believe that?! She told me that it was a blessing in disguise because they had wanted a different apartment anyway! This woman was amazing! I always got a real kick out of her because she still used me regularly to babysit for her after that. I didn't get it - and I was 12. I had also burned their house down. Ain't no way I would have ever hired me again! I saw her not all that long ago and she was still just as sweet as ever.

I never broke anymore bones or burned anything else down after that year. I was glad for that. So were my parents! But I also had this phobia about frying things for many, many years after that, too. I still bake my french fries to this day.

Well, that was the year I'll never forget. Have you ever just had one of those years? Maybe just one of those experiences? If you have, I'd love to hear it!

I hope you have a happy and uneventfully good weekend.


  1. I'm still laughing....that was hilarious! I've never had a broken bone or burnt a house down, so I can't think of any year that would be close to your "that" year!
    Great stories.

  2. Oh, my word...SO FUNNY! Purely from the outside looking in, you understand. That WAS quite a year for you!

    I babysat a lot at 12, too...and loved Skating as a child, though our candy of choice was the licorice ropes in plastic packages which we wore like necklaces around the rink, while skating to "Eye of the Tiger".

    My hubby has a story that I wanted to blog about so bad when it happened, but he was too mortified at the time.

    We have a truck that had some sort of problem with the catalytic converter, and because we were in the middle of buying a home and that was our third vehicle, we delayed in getting it fixed. It was embarrassing to drive because it would backfire when shifting from 1st to 2nd gear, so generally only got used to haul stuff around town.

    One morning, Jeff found his car's gas tank on E, so he took the truck to work instead.

    Because it was stick-shift, it's hard to talk on a cell-phone (not to mention illegal)while driving, so he dutifully pulled over to take a call, depressing the clutch instead of just putting it in neutral.

    When he was done with that call, he called me to ask if I needed anything from the store. Somehow, while stalling during that earlier call, it backfired, and while talking with me he was bemoaning this "stupid truck" as being "so embarrassing" to drive. And as he's talking on his cell phone with me, he notices in his rearview mirror that a tree 100 feet directly behind the exhaust pipe in a vacant lot has caught on FIRE. As in lit-up-like-a-torch, burn-down-the-desert" fire.

    He hung up and quickly whipped around to the other side of the road and turns off his motor and calls 911 to report the fire then got the heck outta Dodge. They never asked him if he was responsible, and he certainly didn't volunteer any info, lol, but when we went by later that evening, the entire lot was charred.

    I jokingly reassured him that the owners were probably grateful, as now they wouldn't be responsible for weed abatement.


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