Sunday, August 18, 2013

A Neighbor's Help

     It has been awhile since I put up a story about a person or house here in the Buffer Zone.
This is the former house of a woman who was very kind to me once in an emergency.  The house recently sold, and I don't think anyone is living it.  It may be slated to be torn down as is happening to  many of these little homes again now that the economy is improving.  Losing them makes me quite sad, even if they are a little sleepy and too small by today's standards.
     When my oldest son was in the first grade, I used to sometimes walk with my younger son in the stroller to the school to pick his brother up in the afternoon.  On one occasion we took our trusty Red Flyer wagon.  My youngest rode along in the wagon wearing a very cute alligator costume, eliciting many friendly waves and amused smiles as we made our way to the school. The alligator costume was made of fake green and white fur and had a big puffy head that stuck out over my son's face.  By the time we got to the school, he had tired of it and we took it off.
     When the school bell rang, my oldest son led the way home with me and my youngest trailing behind a little.  Excited as usual, he chattered and waggled ahead of us until we came to a crossing and I called to him to slow up.  He had reached the other side of the street (no traffic to worry us) and turned to watch as we came off the opposite curb.  I will never forget the look of stunned horror on his face as he looked at us.  It caused me to turn around to the wagon, which to my dismay was empty!
My littlest son had popped out of the wagon (probably just went we came off the curb) and was lying prone in the street behind it!  His lifted face was covered in blood!  I knew his older brother thought he was killed.

     I ran to my little one and pulled him off the street and back to the safety of the corner, instructing my oldest to come quickly and give me his jacket at once, which he did.  I used the jacket to try to clean my little one's face so I could find the source of the blood and see just how badly he had been hurt.  Unfortunately, the jacket was of some synthetic material which could not adequately absorb the blood but rather smeared it around.
     At that moment, a woman came out of the house above and asked me if I need some help--did I want a cloth?  Wet or dry?  Seeing our distress, she said, "I'll bring both!"  Then, changed her mind again, and told us to follow her.
     We went into her house and she had a cloth at once and we cleaned my little son's face and found he had a bad gash on his head which she eventually got patched with a super large square bandaid.  She said she had had several son's and had learned to always be ready with a first aid kit.  She laughed as she fixed him up and told me a few terrifying stories about compound fractures, zipper-length stitches, and dead zone concussions.  I tried not to listen too hard.  My little one was definitely going to need a stitch or two. (If only he'd kept on that puffy alligator head, I would later think.)
      Just as we got him patched, I felt myself go weak and the room got dark.  Luckily I was sitting on a sofa, because I am sure I would've fallen otherwise.  "Mom, are you okay?" the woman asked.  "Nope, not okay." She answered.
     "I am, I am," I could hear myself insist.  "I mean, I will be.  Just let me sit."  I put my head between my knees, she brought me cold water, and eventually I was okay and was able--somehow, I don't remember it--to make it home, and then into the car and to the hospital.
     The nurses used some kind of medical glue to close my son's wound, earning him the nickname "Glue Head" for a couple of weeks.
     I would occasionally see our helpful neighbor.  At school picnics, in the grocery store, just generally around.  And we were always friendly, though never really friends.


  1. What a lovely (and scary) story ... how kind she was. And it's a pity when little houses must be torn down to make way for larger. We need more little houses (and more kind neighbours).

    Your neighbourhood looks beautifully full of trees. :)

  2. It's so good to know that people like this are around - reminds me of one of Raymond Carvers short stories. I've got a lovely scar on my browline that I got forty odd years ago when I fell off my bike - a badge of honour! Jane x