Why don’t we go up in the woods, cut a grapevine, and swing out over the valley on it?
This was my grandfather’s suggestion one day when I was fourteen-years-old. You see my mom and her boyfriend had just purchased this new trailer. They invited all of the family in from out-of-state to see it.
The trailer had carpet stains from all of the people who had walked through it while it was up for sale. Mom had the carpet cleaned before the guests arrived. However, when they arrived- the carpet was still wet.
My grandfather’s suggestion to go swinging on a grapevine was to occupy all of us, while we waited for the carpet to dry and everyone could come in and see our new home. He had good intentions.
This is an on-going story of my life and some of the childhood adversities that I faced. If you would like to start at the beginning of my tale, please read Four-year-old and Mother Survive Bludgeoning by River Rock, or go to the Childhood category and start at the bottom.
We walked up into the forest behind our new home. There was a big incline with a valley in the middle, and he found a thick grapevine and cut it. Everyone started taking turns swinging out over the valley, laughing and having a good time.
THEN the competition started…everyone had to see who could swing out the farthest.
I had always been adventurous, riding the big roller coasters at amusement parks when I was only four-year-old, so I took several turns as well. Then my Mom (in an attempt to swing out the farthest) started getting people to give her a boost, so she could swing farther.
I took a boosted turn, and I felt my hands start to slip down the grapevine while I was out over the valley. I’ll admit it, it scared me.
When I got back to the bank, I told everyone that my hands were slipping and that I didn’t want to do it anymore. Of course, because I was “a child” they didn’t think anything of it.
Mom was determined to swing the furthest, so she climbed up on my grandfather’s shoulders so she could get even more distance. I told her “mom be careful, I could feel myself slipping.”
Our lives changed dramatically that day. Mom didn’t make it back to the bank. On the swing back, and in the middle of that valley, she slipped off the grapevine.
She fell about 30 feet. Rolled down the hill bouncing off trees, and finally came to a stop with her body wrapped around another tree.
The party was indeed over, we all raced down the hill calling out to her. She was barely conscious when she landed…
I ran to call the ambulance…
Her boyfriend ran to the new trailer. He was going through it trying to rip a door off its hinges to carry her out on. However, he couldn’t get one pried loose…
The ambulance finally arrived and carted her off to the hospital. She was awake screaming in pain by then.
She ended up breaking her back in four places and crushing her tailbone. Mom lost that good job. She lost that new trailer, and her boyfriend who didn’t want to be tethered to a disabled woman with no job.
This was the start of another downward spiral…
Please read the next phase of my story at http://www.gabigrace.net/the-aftermath/