I Remember When I Was A Child
I don’t remember a lot about my childhood and I attribute that to the trauma of many surgeries beginning at the age of 18 months for a birth defect called a cleft lip and a cleft palate. I have no doubt that my childhood was good because I had loving parents and many relatives around, especially on Sundays.
There is one childhood memory that I do actually remember. Many “memories” that I have are only because family members have told me the stories. I believe I’ve blocked out much of my childhood due to the surgeries, fear and pain.
I must have been about 4 or 5 years old and as always I was out in the garage with my dad and my pappy (the name I called my grandfather). I was a tom-girl and loved working with my dad. He was a mechanic and worked on cars. So most every day I would come back to the house covered in grease and/or oil.
I can remember sitting on the ground with a bucket full of gasoline in front of me and I was cleaning and washing the “gunk” off of car pistons for my dad.
I guess this is turning into “Two Vivid Childhood Memories.”
I had cleaned the pistons for my dad and decided I was going to go back into the house. We lived up north in Ohio and the garage was in the backyard, behind the house.
I was walking up to the house and veering off to the left because the back door was on that side of the house. Just as I came around the corner, I remember getting hit in the face with something cold, wet and stinky. I find it odd that the one major thing I recall very clear is that right before the liquid hit me in the face, I closed my eyes just as tight as I could get them.
Almost the second I got hit, I heard my mom scream and run to me. She had been cleaning in the house with ammonia and call it perfect timing or bad luck or what you will, she threw the water out the door just as I came around the corner.
I find it irritating that I have blocked certain memories out of my mind. Again, I remember closing my eyes so very tight and hearing my mom scream but I don’t remember anything after that.
Since I don’t remember the details after getting hit in the face with the bucket full of ammonia, the story that I know is what has been told to me over the years.
My mom was so very scared that she had blinded me with the ammonia and water. The timing of this happening was so incredible because I usually never came into the house until evening when my dad or my pappy came in. My mom had no reason to worry or think that I would be coming around that corner at the same time as she threw out her cleaning mixture.
I do know that because I did close my eyes so tight, the ammonia did not get in my eyes and there was no damage or blindness. I don’t think my mom ever used or had ammonia in the house again for any reason after that day.
I guess I was a “tough old bird” as my dad used to say, to come in from cleaning car pistons in a bucket of gasoline and then getting hit in the face with a mixture of ammonia and water and I suffered no burns or scarring from the ammonia.
© 2017 Copyright – Monna Ellithorpe
This was written from a Weekly Writing Prompt 5/30/2017: Write a short piece about your most vivid childhood memory.
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