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An Accident-Prone Childhood | How Did We Survive Our Youth?

Updated on September 22, 2015
Playing in the dirt
Playing in the dirt | Source

Memories of Childhood

I don't know how so many of us managed to live through childhood. We thought nothing of eating dirt or dog food; we threw rocks at each other, and played football in the middle of the street. I remember climbing up high in trees, then leaping out to fall & roll in the grass. A little mud and a few bruises never hurt anyone.

It's a wonder we didn't end up with broken limbs, or even worse!

Sucking on a plastic lizard
Sucking on a plastic lizard | Source

The Things We Ate

A few germs never hurt anyone!

My family liked to go camping. It was great to get out where we could sleep in the open, build campfires, and go fishing. On one such trip, my dad was cooking on the campfire, and a bit of dirt fell into the food. I exclaimed "We can't eat that!". And he replied, "It's just seasoning...."

As an infant, I carried a plastic lizard around in my mouth. My mother said she'd take it away from me, wash off the dirt, then give it back. I'd immediately put it back in my mouth, and crawl off. Like the campfire "seasoning", the dirt on the toy just added a bit of extra flavoring.

How to Eat Fried Worms
How to Eat Fried Worms

I never ate worms when I was a kid, but I did try chocolate covered ants! This is a story of typical childhood - a kid being dared to do something he'd rather not.

 
Stitches in my chin from riding tricycle down the porch steps.
Stitches in my chin from riding tricycle down the porch steps. | Source

Getting Stitches

"Battle Scars"

The first accident I had was when I was just 3 years old. My family was visiting our cousins at their house in a nearby small town. The adults were in the house, while all of us kids were playing outside. That's what kids did back then. We didn't have video games or computers. My 5 year old brother was riding a tricycle up and down the sidewalk, showing off how well he could ride.

The next thing I know, he dares me to ride the tricycle down the front steps of the house. I was too scared! So, he said "If you'll do it, I'll do it afterwards..."

So I did... ending up in the emergency room, where I got stitches in my chin.

Radio Flyer Girls Classic Dual Deck Tricycle, Pink (Discontinued by manufacturer)
Radio Flyer Girls Classic Dual Deck Tricycle, Pink (Discontinued by manufacturer)

My tricycle wasn't as fancy as this one, as it didn't have the tassles on the handles. This is one I wish I'd had way-back-when... and hopefully be smart enough to not ride it down stairs!

 

And More Stitches...

My second accident occurred when I was 6 years old. I walked to school every day with my next door neighbor, who was also my best friend. The school was only about 5 blocks away, past a few houses, and then a big, empty field. Our moms would stand out in the front yard and watch us walk the entire way.

Things were different back then. We didn't worry about traffic or child molesters. As long as we were in sight of our parents, we were safe.

But things don't always go as planned. One afternoon, when coming home, my friend & I decided to race through the field. I tripped, landing on a broken bottle. It tore a hole in my knee, and blood streamed down my leg. I limped home, and was taken once again to the emergency room. I got stitched up, then bandaged, and was told to stay off the leg until it healed.

A week or so later, we went back to the doctor to have the stitches removed. The doctor removed the bandage, then pulled on the stitches. It wasn't quite healed, and he ended up opening the wound once again. More stitches, another bandage, and stay off it another week!

Young girl balancing precariously on a bicycle
Young girl balancing precariously on a bicycle | Source

And A Concussion

The leg wound finally healed, leaving just a small scar on my knee. Which is still there, by the way. Along with the scar on my chin. Most sane people at this point would have learned that being reckless can send you to the emergency room. I suppose I was a slow learner.

The kids in our neighborhood loved to ride bicycles. There wasn't much traffic in those days, so we rode up & down the street. As we got older, we were allowed to ride around the block. We learned to do tricks, like "wheelies", and double up. Some even stood up on their seats, or let their friends ride on the handlebars.

I had just received my newest bike - it had a banana seat and big handlebars. It was purple, which was my favorite color at the time. I'd race my friends to the end of the block, then turn around & race back. Great fun!

But then, the inevitable happened. We decided on a new trick.. riding with our eyes closed. It was easy to do as long as we were going in a straight line. But turning around to come back? I slid in the gravel, fell on the concrete, and was knocked out! The next thing I knew, I was in the car, headed once again to the emergency room.


Rock Fights

I managed to stay out of the emergency room for a few more years, until the infamous rock fight. The yards in our neighborhood all had chain link fences, and we played out in the backyards a great deal of the time. One afternoon, I went outside where my brother & a friend were throwing rocks at trees. Some friends a couple of house down came out, and decided they wanted to get in on the game. They began throwing rocks at our yard, and my brother & his friend threw them back.

It became an all-out war, and I was the loser. A rock hit me in the forehead, drawing blood & creating a huge knot. No stitches this time - just a butterfly bandage. And an apology from the kid that hit me.

Growing Up

I finally learned - somewhat - to stay away from things that could possibly cause me harm. I guess that is what you call "Growing Up". Or realizing that, in fact, we really aren't "bullet proof". It's a learning process, and one that I think all kids should experience for themselves. These days, it seems that our lives have become too sterile and too careful.

Sure, you may catch a cold if you don't wash your hands enough. And yes, you might just break a leg if you're not careful. But.... those scars you carry from your childhood adventures / accidents.... are definitely lessons to remember!

What accidents did you have as a child?

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    • Demaw profile image

      Demaw 4 years ago

      We used to go on bicycle "expeditions." A couple of us would get on our truck bikes and pick a place and just go. We would visit other neighborhoods, parks, playgrounds, railroad stations where ever. Then we would panic and try to get home before the street lights came on.

    • profile image

      NC Shepherd 5 years ago

      Let's see...I stepped on a rusty nail, had the wind knocked out of me when my pony scrapped me off on a low-hanging limb, fell off said pony numerous times.... at least I never broke a bone.

    • mihgasper profile image

      Miha Gasper 5 years ago from Ljubljana, Slovenia, EU

      Nothing special, really, just a lot of scratches on my knees... And i remember once i swallowed a big candy and couldn't breath, but my parents managed to get it out of me... Well, children are pretty tough beings, right?

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Hmm, not much. I needed stitches due to a fall playing basketball, but not much else other than falls from my bike.

    • Ann Hinds profile image

      Ann Hinds 5 years ago from So Cal

      I remember fighting with rocks. Did they hurt? You betcha but did that stop us. NO! We'd slide down cardboard hill and make rafts for the seasonal pond that sank. We got scrapped and bruised and today, have the scars to prove it. Did we have it better than the other generations? We did and they have no idea how little freedom they have today. Loved this lens. Angel blessed.

    • fugeecat lm profile image

      fugeecat lm 5 years ago

      Great stories. It seems like everyone is afraid of what could happen and children don't get to experience some of these things and have the great stories you do.

    • Elric22 profile image

      Elric22 5 years ago

      Rock fight. Hi-larious!

    • Country-Sunshine profile image
      Author

      Country Sunshine 5 years ago from Texas

      @Athelyna LM: I had to laugh while reading your story, although I know it was horrible at the time! Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Athelyna LM profile image

      Athelyna LM 5 years ago

      I wanted a pocket knife SOOO bad when I was 8 or 9, because I wanted to try whittling. My mom wouldn't let me have one because she thought it would be unsafe. So one summer day, while walking a friend home from a sleepover, I found a rusty single-edge razor blade by the side of the road. I was thrilled - this would be the perfect substitute for a knife! So I grabbed a stick and started to try to carve as we walked - and promptly sliced a chunk of finger. Naturally I couldn't tell either set of parents (since I wasn't supposed to have a knife), so my friend grabbed her dirty underwear from her sleepover bag and bandaged my finger. (Every kid knows you have to be ready to improvise in an emergency!)

      If I ever have children, they're getting nice, safe, properly-sharpened and non-rusty pocket knives in kindergarten. Maybe earlier.

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 5 years ago

      Holy smokes, but you are right! Lots of accidents with us kids in our family ... my sister broke my brother's collar bone playing "soldier boy." I remember that summer I found a bunch of wooly caterpillars and put them in my right sundress pocket ... you should have seen the rash and stuff ... you know where! Gosh was that embarrassing!

    • profile image

      PollyFreakingAnna 5 years ago

      You reminded me of these huge concrete pipes that we explored. We dared each other to go deeper and deeper - it felt like miles - in these huge (I guess they were run-off?) pipes. We would just take flashlights and go. Someone would end up getting scared and we would run all the way back, walking on the sides of the pipes to avoid the water at the bottom.

      I can't imagine we ever told my parents that we played in drainage pipes. How very odd. LOL thanks for sparking the memory!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I have a couple. One I got hurt in and in the other it was my brother and in both cases it was after I did something Dad had just said not to do. Don't put your finger in a railroad jack and don't drop a rock on your brother's head when he is cleaning out the well...at least it was a very small rock in my little hand. I went around with a washcloth on my thumb for a month until my Grandma bought it off me for $1, big money in the 50's!

    • Commandrix profile image

      Heidi 5 years ago from Benson, IL

      The worst one that I actually remember was slipping on some ice and falling on my backside while going down some stairs outside. I averaged about one of those a year. I remember eating leaves from our maple tree back yard. They sort of taste like lettuce and didn't make me sick or anything. Of course, my little sister had it worse. One time, she broke her leg while riding on scooters with her friends and had to go around on crutches for weeks.

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 5 years ago from Southampton, UK

      When I was quite young I remember picking up dog ends off the pavement and putting them to my lips. Goodness only knows who had smoked them. About 10 years old I was with some friends in the woods and we went into this ruined building, where I ended up stepping on a nail which went right through my foot. In my early teens I took some matches to the woods and nearly set them all on fire. At 18 I came home drunk from working behind a bar, thought it would be fun to ride my motor bike up the pavement, missed the dip, fell off and hurt my shoulder. Man the crazy things we have done.

    • ClassyGals profile image

      Cynthia Davis 5 years ago from Pittsburgh

      Sled riding down the steepest hills in heavily wooded areas, with no fear of slamming into one!

      Angel Blessings**

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 5 years ago from Vermont

      I knocked out 2 of my front teeth (in SEPARATE accidental falls) before I was 3 years old. I remember one of the incidents - twirling around in a dancing frenzy and hitting my mouth on my grandmother's coffee table. I had a tomboy childhood and have the scars to show for bragging rights!

    • Close2Art LM profile image

      Close2Art LM 5 years ago

      I was prone to falling out of trees and flipping go-carts, great page, made me think about my past, fun!

    • profile image

      River_Rose 5 years ago

      I grew up in the country also and it is amazing the things kids did back then for fun! LOL

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 5 years ago from Canada

      I also grew up in rural communities and had lots of accidents. A broken thumb and a broken leg (3 places), my sister wound up with 4 broken ribs, my brother with a broken collar bone...but the doctor says the reason I probably do not have any sign now of bone loss is likely because of how active we were as kids...lol.

    • pajnhiaj profile image

      pajnhiaj 5 years ago

      I remember one.. my dad was throwing rocks at things. and for some odd reason as a kid i ran in front of the rock.. it hit my eye and gave me a black eye. my dad screamed and ran towards me and took me home. OH.. i remember making ice cream from dirt with my cousins playing house.. i ate the dirt and so did my cousins pretending it was ice cream! hahaha! silly things we do as kids.

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      None. I was the weird geeky kid who sat in the corner reading.

    • profile image

      zav 5 years ago

      Got a few scars still from doing silly things!

      Like you say things were different back then. Seemed so much simpler too....maybe I`m just getting old :)

    • Country-Sunshine profile image
      Author

      Country Sunshine 5 years ago from Texas

      @paperfacets: What an idea! But I don't know that I'd want to admit to doing things that could have gotten me arrested! Glad to hear you aren't accident-prone like some of us. Thanks for dropping by!

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 5 years ago from La Verne, CA

      I did not have too many accidents and I have carried that into adulthood, but may...be things that could have got me arrested is a new story.

    • Country-Sunshine profile image
      Author

      Country Sunshine 5 years ago from Texas

      @cmadden: LOL! Well, at least you lived through it all... and perhaps it taught you something along the way. I would imagine you wear shoes more often now? Accidents are just part of growing up and living... and hopefully, you have a good time getting hurt! Thanks for dropping by & commenting. Much appreciated!

    • profile image

      cmadden 5 years ago

      While you tended toward blunt force trauma and glass, I was inclined in the direction of puncture wounds - a bicycle spoke through the foot, rusty nail into the other foot, and a sewing needle 3/4 of an inch into the same foot as the nail. Kept up on tetanus shots that way, at least.

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