They say insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different outcome. In my case it would be “stupid” is doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome.
We were living in White City where the beautiful red brick church was next door. The parsonage was a white frame house with a big front porch.
I was about seven and my older sisters were visiting with their young families. We had a big family dinner and us kids had been running around and playing all day.
When I was born, several of my sisters were still in high school, so they were around during my initial years. Whenever they came to visit, it was the highlight of my life. I was so happy when they would come for the day or a weekend visit.
The White City parsonage, like most houses, had an aluminum storm door with glass windows. It was on the front door and the interior handle was one where you just pushed it and the door latch opened. As a little kid you got used to running through the door with your hand extended to hit the handle as you ran through the door.
It was a warm Sunday evening and my sisters were all out in front of the house saying goodby and getting ready to leave. I was still in the house, but wanted to say goodby. I ran down the main hallway at full speed. The hallway led straight to the front door. I was so excited about everything that was going on. At the same time, however, I didn’t want my sisters to leave.
The heavy wooden front door was open because of the warm weather, but the storm door was shut. I ran straight toward the storm door with my right hand out to hit the latch and allow the door to fly open. I’d run through that door a thousand times before.
At the last second I looked to my left which altered the position of my outstretched right arm. I missed that door latch completely and hit the glass window at full speed. My right arm punched right through the large glass window.
There was a huge ….CRASH…. and glass flew everywhere! I ended up going through the window with only my legs still inside the door. The rest of my body went through the window and I was left sort of hanging on the window cill at the waist.
I will never forget everyone standing by their cars in the street where they were talking. They instantly snapped their heads toward the sudden ….CRASH….
There were big pieces and small pieces of glass on the porch in front of the storm door. I just stood there in shock at the sudden and unexpected end to my run down the hall.
Mom and the rest of the family all swarmed about me to get me out of the window without further injury. It was at this point that I realized I was cut pretty bad in several places. In fact, I still have a few substantial scars from that event today.
I ended up at the doctors office in Council Grove where they removed glass slivers from my arm and fingers. It was very painful and unpleasant. I remember the doctor visit to this day. That is how unpleasant it was.
Of course it was an accident and those things happen from time to time…….Right?
Earlier, I said that insanity or stupidity was doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result………
In my early days two guys who had the biggest influence on my world were Steve McGarrett on the television show Hawaii 5-0 and John Wayne. If it was a show or movie with either of them, I was there watching.
Some things which seemed to happen just about every week on tv or in every movie was that someone was kicking in the front door to get at the bad guy. I need to go back and rewatch the shows because I don’t remember Steve McGarrett ever saying, “Wait Danno, let’s ring the door bell first and see if anyone is at home.” No, they just reared back and kicked the door open. At that age, it was all I saw, so it had to be real or at least possible.
…So fast forward to that same parsonage in White City. It was several months later and the weather was now cold outside. Mom and Dad were gone to some church function that evening. so it meant my little sister and I were being babysat by our next oldest sister, Louise. Louise was in high school and wasn’t thrilled at all. She didn’t like wasting a perfectly good evening watching her little brother and sister. Lets just say she began the evening in a rather foul mood and it went downhill from there.
You may remember something I said in the earlier blog post called “Kidnapped!” regarding the goals of a little brother. The first goal is to bug, bother, and generally harass your little sister and her friends. On the other hand, when you have a big sister, your goal is to bug, bother, and generally harass her and her friends, AND not to be killed.
On this particular evening, I was working toward those goals with great enthusiasm. I would bug my little sister until she began yelling at me and then my older sister would come in the room and begin to yell at me. I would then say something to anger Louise, but instead of waiting for a reply, I would run for my life. Louise operated under “prison rules”, so I was more likely to be mangled or pummelled than I was to be simply yelled at. She would get a sinister-looking grin of satisfaction whenever she had me in a headlock and dragging me across the floor.
From time to time there might be the odd jump rope or length of rope used to tie my hands and feet. Sometimes, she’d tie me to a tree in the yard and leave. I’d be stuck there till someone walked by the house or heard my yelling. On one occasion the family was sitting down to supper when Mom asked where John was at. Louise smiled innocently and said I have no idea where he is. Of course I was tied to a tree in the yard, where I stayed until someone, other than Louise, was sent to find me.
On this particular evening, twilight was quickly giving way to night when Louise finally drew the proverbial line in the sand. If I didn’t stay out of the room she was in, she would throw me out of the house and lock the door.
I left the room with a smirk on my face and snuck down the hallway quietly. I already knew what had to happen next. Louise was still in the living room. Since I had been ordered out of the living room, I automatically decided to push her buttons and sneak back in. There were two entrances to the living room at opposite ends.
I crept through the kitchen and into the dining room. I had to move very slowly because we had hardwood floors which would unexpectedly creak. I then leaned up against the wall and slowly inched my way into the living room. I quietly moved along the wall and up to a recliner which I hoped might provide some cover.
Apparently, Louise knew that I couldn’t resist disobeying her, so she was on alert. She had set up to ambush me and was waiting…….Suddenly…. without warning… she had me by the neck. I was toast!!
I tried to squirm and wiggle out of her clutches, but it was no use. She had me in a headlock which was like a steel trap. I was at her mercy. She drug me to the front door by my head. While she held me by the neck with one arm, she used the other to open the front door and then storm door. With a swift shove, I was on the front porch by myself. Then she quickly slammed and locked the door. I stood there in the cold yelling as loud as I could that it was cold and that she better let me back in. Louise appearred in the door window, smiled…… and then turned off the porch light.
I quickly switched to the backup plan and ran as fast as I could around the house in the dark. I tripped over a bicycle and landed hard on the ground. I pulled myself back up and ran up to the backporch door. To my dismay, there she was,…. Louise,….. standing in the window and again,…..smiling at me…..She’d locked that door also! I yelled for her to let me back in, but she just smirked and turned that light off as well.
So there I was, in the dark of the back yard. I stood there uselessly yelling at my big sister to let me back in the house.
It began to sink in that it was dark and I was getting cold. That didn’t matter to Louise though, in fact she probably relished the idea of her pain-in-the-rear brother shivering in the dark. I knew my efforts at yelling were in vain. I just knew that Louise was probably giggling with delight at my misfortune. I’m sure she thought she’d taught me a lesson.
I carefully walked back around the house in the dark without tripping over that bike or other toys. The front porch light was still off and a cold wind had begun to blow. I knew Mom and Dad wouldn’t be back for a long time. I had to quickly come up with a plan for survival. Of course I was fuming and determined to show big sister that she couldn’t just toss me out at will.
I stood there on the front porch and thought about how I could get back into the house. The windows were out of the question because they were too high above the ground and the ladder was inside the house. After considering my predicament for several minutes, the answer dawned on me. It was so simple……Of course!……… I’ll show her,…..I’ll kick the door in just like on Hawaii 5-0. She will be so surprised and completely vexed by me. After all, at this point she was the bad guy in my world. Any ability I had to think rationally had gone bye-bye. I was just MAD!… and that was all I could think.
As I sized up the situation, it became obvious that I wasn’t very tall, so I decided the better approach would be to hit the door with my shoulder and bash it in that way. I didn’t think I had a strong enough kick to get the door open. I might, however, be able to bash it in by throwing all my weight against it. All I could think was how I would show my arch nemesis that she couldn’t keep me out!
I stepped back to the edge of the porch, took a deep breath, and ran full-speed toward the door with my left shoulder leading the way.
I obviously didn’t have my head screwed on correctly. Just about anyone knows what normally happens when you throw your body into the glass window of a storm door at full speed.
I hit the storm door and………CRASH!…….went the window. Instead of going all the way through, I smashed through the window and hit the heavy wooden interior door. Which, by the way, didn’t budge a bit. In fact, I hit it so hard that when I hit the wooden door along with all the glass, I bounced backwards. I ended up on my rear end surrounded by shattered glass.
My sister, upon hearing the crash, opened the door to see me sitting in the middle of the shattered glass and the first signs of blood from several cuts beginning to show. “What in the world were you doing?”, she demanded. “I’m busting down the door, what does it look like!” I replied.
I was then grudgingly allowed back in the house. I was given a tea towel to try and clean the cuts. As it turned out, Mom and Dad came home not too long after the crash.
They arrived to a scene of broken glass and blood. Just what you hope you don’t find when you leave your kids at home. Most parents joke at one time or another about whether their kids will kill each other. Apparently, at our house it was a possibility.
I explained to Mom I had no choice but to bust in the front door because Louise locked me out of the house. It was my argument that I had no choice. My efforts to convince her didn’t go over too well. I completely glossed over the fact that I had thrown myself through that glass window because I was mad at my sister.
After that event, Mom and Dad switched to alternative babysitters who, luckily for me, didn’t operate under “prison rules”.
I made the trip to the doctor in Council Grove again and had to endure the removal of glass shards from cuts to my arm, wrist, and fingers. That part of the story still makes me shudder.
My guess is that the doctor probably asked Mom if I was one of her slower kids? After all, by his count, this was the second time I’d gone through the same window. She probably smiled with that preachers wife polite response and said “Doctor, we’re still trying to figure out why we didn’t stop at 5 children.”