Monday, July 22, 2013

The Attack of the Killer Caterpillar

not a killer caterpillar, just a regular one

I lived in Texas until I was about nine.  We moved a few times that I don't really remember, but for my elementary school years we lived in an idyllic neighborhood.  We had a playground down the street, a fenced in backyard with a cool sandbox my dad had built, and friends just across the street. My one friend, Michelle lived diagonally from my house and I seem to recall we each had unlimited access to each others houses.

One afternoon, I went with Michelle to her grandparent's house.  I don't recall a whole lot about that trip.  I don't actually remember if it was a common occurrence or a one time deal.  I don't even really remember why I was there with her that day, but this I do remember:

For some reason we decided to play a game we called "attack of the killer caterpillar."  It involved me wearing a pillowcase on my head and crawling around on the floor trying to catch Michelle. We were probably 7 or 8.  It sounded fun!

So here I am crawling around the floor at my best friend's grandparent's house, screaming and giggling and reaching out wildly for an arm or an ankle or something!  And Michelle crawled into the guest room.  Now remember, this is not a house I was intimately familiar with.  And I also had a pillowcase on my head.  I was following the sounds of her giggles and screams and I lunged out to grab her.  Instead of Michelle, I came into contact with the dresser.  The corner of the dresser to be exact.  Right on my forehead.

I split my head open pretty good; right through my right eyebrow.  I don't remember it hurting too terribly, but I was quite bloody (as head injuries tend to be, says the mom and former day care worker).  We found Michelle's grandmother and explained what had happened.  She got me mostly cleaned up and tried to call my parents.  She had a feeling I was going to need stitches.

My older brother, John answered the phone.  He had to have been around 15 or 16 at the time.  I told him that I had gotten hurt and I need to talk to Mommy or Daddy.  He said he would get them and he put the phone down.  And then...{crickets}.

He never came back to the phone.  Back in the day of land line phones, this was a terrible thing!  We waited for a while and then hung up. We tried calling back, but only got busy signals. Michelle's grandmother didn't have permission to take me to the hospital or doctor's office.  I had no other way to get in touch with my parents,  So I sat there at the kitchen table eating cookies and holding a washcloth to my forehead to control the bleeding.

I don't remember the rest of the story (not because of the head injury; just a faulty memory).  I don't know how I got home or what happened when I did.  I probably should have gotten stitches, because I did end up with a pretty nice scar right through my eyebrow.  Those are sexy, right?

This story comes to mind whenever I get my eyebrows waxed.  Usually I point it out to the stylist while I'm explaining how I want them done.  The memory prompts a smile from me.  Last time I went in I had Frances with me. I ended up telling the story to her.  She giggled quite a bit.  She has since asked to play "attack of the killer caterpillar" several times.

I started thinking of this story again because my friend Ilene wrote a post about scars over at Tamara's blog.  Her story is more poignant, while mine is just funny.  But it got me thinking, and coupled with Frances' reaction (and some 3am insomnia) I thought it was a story worth writing down.

Also, if you happen to know a Michelle Beach who grew up outside of Dallas, Texas in the 80s, I'd love to reconnect and hear the story from her memory.  Ken and I actually visited with her 12 years ago on our honeymoon.  I seem to recall that she was engaged at the time.  This was before the time of Facebook, so I've since lost track.  Her mom, Mary Ellen remarried, so I have no last names to go on in a search.  It's a long stretch, but the internet has been known to do wondrous things, so I thought I'd give it a try.

I'll also call out my brother to give his account of the story.  I'm pretty sure he reads here, so spill it John! What happened that day?

How about you?  Do you have any scar stories worth sharing?  Childhood friends you want to find?  Forgetful brothers you want to tattle on??  Tell me a story on the comments or on your own blog and post a link.



  1. I am so touched that my post inspired yours! Ironically, I have a scar above my right eyebrow which I did take stitches for as a kid, I was following around in our bathroom and split my head open on the corner of the counter.

  2. How totally cool would it be if this led you to Michelle...oh my Gosh, I SO hope someone knows her!! Had a total flashback when reading this to the days of just putting the phone down and never coming back and then the DREADED busy signal! Great story!-Ashley

    1. I would *love* to find her!! KNow anyone in Texas!?!? :)

  3. I'm also touched to be included in this blog. I have a scar next to my left eyebrow from taking a spill down the porch stairs when I was three. My daughter has a scar on her right cheek from being bitten by a dog. It was at one point the worst thing of my life. That's why I felt so connected to Ilene when I saw what she was writing on my blog. It's three years later and it's there but it's actually pretty adorable, and that's if you notice it at all. My husband and I see it. Other people generally don't.
    What a story - I'm curious to hear your brother's point of view!!

    1. There's something about scars that really make you remember how you got them. I'm sorry about Scarlet's scar, but I'm glad she's ok after the dog bite. I've put the call out to my brother, so hopefully he'll chime in!

  4. I really want to know what happened with your brother telling your parents! One scar I have is when I was playing on my uncle's porch and fell over on a pile of bricks (he is a mason). I cut my ankle bad. I had to get almost 50 stitches, 26 on the inside of the skin and the remaining on the outside. Very painful. I was around 8 or 9 when this happened.

    1. Oh wow, Britton! That's a lot of stitches!!

  5. I hope you find her, Rabia!
    I am very clumsy, so I have my share of scars - as well as some broken and mended bones - over the years and stories to go with them.

  6. I read that post on Tameras blog as well. It was quite a touching post. I have a scar on my chin from running away from a wasp when I was about 9 and since that day I've been afraid to even go near one even if its dead. :)

  7. Sorry I don't remember this. I hope that isn't how the phone call happened - that was pretty rotten of me.

    As for scars, I may have one on my head (the spot is covered by hair for the moment) from when I sat up under a desk. I remember bleeding like a stuck pig from that.
    My favorite is the one on my lip from the wreck that totaled my (my dad's) 1969 Ford Falcon. I bit the steering wheel when some stupid kid in a Camero blew through a stop sign. I had my seatbelt on, but no the shoulder belt strap.


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