I was born and spent my early childhood in New York City. My neighborhood was not the stereotypical “inner city” but it was in the city. We had a park down the end of my street, not like the parks here in Tucson, or like elsewhere for that matter, it was just a city park. No baseball, football or soccer fields, in fact no fields, not even any grass. It had basketball courts which doubled as a hockey rink. It had about seven trees, a sand lot, a four inch deep wading pool, swings hung by chains with metal seats, see-saws with wooden seats and a piece of rubber to soften the let-down blow, quite a few benches, a “park house” where the grounds supervisor’s office was, and the “monkey bars” or climbing bars. The entire park was surrounded by an 18 ft chain link fence.
The monkey bars were made of 1 inch pipes, approximately four feet long, shaped into a square and laid out in a design with 8 squares on the bottom, 6 on top of that, then 4 etc. ending up with one on top of this pyramid that stood about 12 feet high. It was a sign of accomplishment if one could climb to the very top of the structure, stand on the very last row of pipes, and touch the limb of one of the trees which was planted there to shade the bars from the sun (indeed they got very hot in the summer, as did the swings).
I was attempting this feat in winter. I was wearing a snowsuit which will make its presence felt a little later. I scaled the beast up all the way to the summit and stood on the top square one foot on either side of the four foot square and my shoes, which were caked with snow, slipped. I came down fast and hard. My legs up by my arms, I fell down all 12 feet to the pavement down below. Needless to say I screamed and cried. The park supervisor carried me into his office and tried to make me walk (which the jury is still out on if it was a good thing or bad thing). He ran to the park’s gate to the police call box which was mounted on a telephone pole and summoned help. I was taken to the hospital and my mother called. One of the doctor’s main concerns was that I may have sterilized myself, which proved not to be the case many years later, thanks in no small part to the snow suit
That Easter I got my first suit with long pants. As I came to find out, this was because three months down the line I was still black and blue from my waist to my toes. So this, and many other instances like this, makes me smile inwardly when I go to the doctor and he says I should be more careful or I could fall and hurt myself.