I had just turned six, weighed 35 pounds and was a brave girl during my operation to remove my almost-ruptured appendix. Most folks don’t have this small pesky organ. It was told to me that they didn’t really do any good anyway. They had become superfluous. Really? I wondered why in the world we had an appendix to begin with. Years later, scientists have found the doctors misspoke, and it does have a purpose after all. Apparently it produces and acts as a good safe house for bacteria. The friendly kind. They took my safe house away!
It was a hot summer day and I had been in hospital for at least four or five days before I was allowed to get out of the CRIB they had me lying in. I say in, because they actually had the bed rails up. What was I going to do … jump out? So by the time I was allowed to walk slowly to the small rooftop deck of the hospital, I was wild-eyed and anxious to be free. A caged Leo the lion was I.
I usually didn’t stay in one place for very long. Always prowling, searching things out, seeing how I could turn a closet into a treehouse or wriggle underneath the sofa and watch the grownups’ feet as they walked past. Hiding away was just another game I adored and I was high spirited, noisy and affectionate. When it became quiet and I was not making any sound was when the bells would go off and my parents or Mama, my Grandmother, would come calling my name and seeing just what I was thinking of doing. I usually planned my next escapade. Assuredly I was so much fun, a small cub and playful to boot. Being caged in a CRIB was not my idea of fun.
Most all of my other childhood pictures went missing during our en masse exodus from Southern Maryland, the sumer of 1988. In this rare photo the hand on the hip and smug smile proved I would be on my way home soon, there to be cosseted and oohed and ahed over by my family, because I was the baby. I always liked this picture of me. Does this make my head look big? Big head girl, that is what my husband affectionately calls me sometimes. And my Daddy used to call me pony legs. Why, might you ask? Look at me, it’s obvious. I admit that little me is still hidden inside and I’ll never grow up.