Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Trampoline in St John's Basement

I began attending St John elementary school in 1960, when I was in third grade. My most vivid memory of that school year is about an accident I suffered in the school's basement.

The basement had a large playroom for the younger grades -- I suppose from kindergarten through third grade. On days when the weather was too bad for kids to play outside, the younger grades played there and the older grades played in the gym. Probably none of you readers has any memory of that playroom, but I do because of my accident.

The room was large enough for a lot of little kids to run around in it. When you walked in through the door, there was a trampoline in the near-left corner. Mostly the girls jumped on the trampoline, and so a lot of girls usually were standing around the trampoline.

The boys mostly played games with rubber balls. Beyond the trampoline, at the room's far-left corner, there was a wall area that was defined. Maybe that wall area was recessed or maybe a building column stood in the middle of that wall.

Anyway, one game that the boys played was that a few boys stood along the wall in that area and other boys stood in the middle of the room and threw rubber balls at them. If a ball hit a boy, then that boy was "out".

I was participating in or watching this game, and a rubber ball bounced away and then rolled underneath the trampoline. I ran after the ball and then crawled underneath the trampoline to grab it. Of course, the girl bouncing on the trampoline bounced down onto my head, and the impact knocked my chin down hard onto the floor. My chin was cut, and I bled profusely. The impact on my head hurt more than my chin, though. I was quite stunned by the head impact.

Some adult at the school gave me first aid and called my Mom, who came in her car. Meanwhile, the school janitor picked me up and carried me outside and put me in the car. My Mom drove me to the hospital ward, where a doctor stitched up my cut.

Perhaps the school removed that trampoline from the playroom after my accident, but I don't know. Because of potential liability, I suppose that no school in the country now has a trampoline in a playroom where kids of such a young age can jump on it freely. In those days, though, having a trampoline in that playroom seemed like a good idea to everyone.

I still have a scar on my chin from that accident. It isn't visible now, though, because I wear a beard.

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