Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Weekly Anamnesis # 36

"Crap," I thought, "I'm going to be late!" I slammed the car door shut and yelled a distracted "Bye!" to my dad. My backpack was bouncing as I ran over the trodden snow-covered ground.

It was January of 1989 and I was in the 6th grade (shh...all you oldies). January is historically a bleak month in Utah. The temperature was bitterly frigid and any snowfall we got was dry and didn't make good snowmen or snowballs. January is the month of crunchy, feet-high snow drifts. As a kid, I'd get dressed to play outside, only to have my face stinging from the chill within minutes. January was mostly spent indoors, for me.

I lived 2 blocks up the road from my elementary school, so normally I walked with my friends. This day, however, I had to be there early. I was a part of Scera Park Singers, a school choir made up of 5th and 6th graders. We were having a before-school practice for some reason. Mrs. Greeves (the mean 5th grade teacher!!) was the director and we all did what we could to avoid her wrath. She literally looked like a witch. She was olive-skinned with piercing green eyes, salt and pepper hair, and very sharp features. I used to imagine the different models of brooms she must've kept at her house.

Being late meant that you didn't get to sing, simple as that. Missed practice and you missed performance too. That knowledge drove my strides as I raced the clock to get there on time. But there it was, the gym door, and I was almost there! No sooner had I relaxed my run than I misstepped on the craterous snow beneath my feet. I landed smack on my right arm, in the snow. It hurt! My fingers felt jammed and I couldn't wiggle them very well. "Oh well, I have to go sing," I told myself, and I stood up, brushed myself off and made it to the gym in the nick of time.

Throughout rehearsal I gradually got movement back in all fingers except my right pinky. It was starting to look funny too. It was kind of purplish, and it was the same thickness as my ring finger. I was starting to worry a bit. I didn't dare raise my hand and interrupt Mrs. Greeves, so I waited until my regular class started. My teacher was dear Mr. Kelly, and because he was genuinely concerned for me, he sent me to the office. So I called my dad at work.

"Dad?" I sniffled. I could never call home sick without crying buckets. "I think something is wrong with my pinky. Mr. Kelly thinks I need to see a doctor."

Dad was always the one who could get away from work to deal with my problems, so soon he was back at the same curb, this time picking me up. And this time I walked across the courtyard.

It turned out that I broke my pinky on the growth plate, right at the first metacarpal joint. Because of this, even though the fracture was small, the doctor put a cast on my arm. I couldn't move my wrist at all. For six weeks I taught myself how to write with my left hand, which I can still do fairly well to this day.


Joseph's Left One said...

Your description of the weather, the teacher, and your feelings is perfect. Really nicely done.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

I like your story. Great descriptions! What's up with mean 5th grade teachers? Mine was Miss Tubman.....


Rebecca said...

My 5th grade teacher was FANTASTIC. One of my all-time favorites. Mean teachers suck. Especially ones that are so mean you're afraid to tell them that your finger is PURPLE AND SWOLLEN.

MattMan said...

Some things are more fun when purple and swollen -- pinkies are not among them. ;) Sorry, couldn't resist.

Great story taking us through the feel of what that morning was like!