Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Playing in Vacant Lots: Childhood

Drying off after a shower, I noticed that the scar had faded significantly. It had been five inches of bright, angry pink for a long time. I hadn't thought about it in years and now it is barely visible.

I was about 10 years old. It was summer, a hot, sunny day when if you were a kid, you went outside and stayed outside until you got hungry or your mom called you home. I was playing with a friend from school in a vacant lot. Our small town had many empty lots where weeds grew. We could find milkweed plants and caterpillars or play pretend games. My friend and I were running and jumping through the weeds when my leg scraped against a nail sticking out of a piece of wood. There was a long line of blood on my calf.

I don't remember it hurting much, but everyone knew that rusty nails were no good. You usually had to go get a shot at the doctor's office after a rusty nail encounter. I didn't want to get a shot, but I also didn't want to have to show my mom. I knew she would be upset. I'm not sure if she would be upset that I was carelessly playing in a vacant lot or upset about harm to me. But I didn't want to go home with my bleeding leg.

My friend offered to take me to her mother, so that's where we went. Her mom was calm and washed it off while talking to me, put something on it and bandaged it. When I went home with everything cleaned up, my mom was okay with the whole thing. I was relieved.

Thinking back now on the incident, I still remember that my mother would react so strongly to any harm to me, my sister, and my brother. I shied away from her reaction as a kid, tried to avoid it. Since we all grew up, our mother has been telling us more about her childhood and how she felt as a mother. Because of her upbringing -- her father died when she was two, so she was the only child of a high-strung mother -- she never felt confident as a mother. She really did a fine job of raising us, but I now realize why she would get so upset when something like my minor injury happened, and my heart goes out to her.


  1. I remember empty lots, milkweed pods, pretend games, and rusty nails. Wonderful metaphor in your slice -- "barely visible" scars.

  2. Many of us have those "barely visible scars". Mine is on the bottom of my foot. Haven't thought about it in ages. Might do a post on it sometime.

  3. Looking back on our childhood days offers both catharsis and insight. Events of late have given me reason to reminisce in much the same way, only we played on chat piles and in old cars when I was a kid.

  4. So many memories sprung from your faded scar! It's a bit like reflection on our lives. The many pieces of the puzzle all fit together.