Way, way back in the mists of pre-history, in the Internet sense of the term at least, my parents enrolled me at the William Penn Center. I’m pretty sure I started there in 1974, when I was about to turn four years old. Go ahead, do the math and find out how old I am – I’ll wait…
OK, that’s out of the way. Oh, while I’m at it: Hey, you kids – get off my lawn!
OK, I’m done now. Anyway, like Matt, I remember a lot of things from that time of my life. Sometimes I feel like I remember more of the first half of my life than the latter half. One of the first things that comes to mind when I think of this school is a scary incident that happened. Now, it’s not scary like a parent would think of it – no one tried to coax me into a white, windowless van or anything. But, to a four-year-old, it made quite an impression.
My mom and a few other parents would take turns driving us to and from school every day. Back in the 1970s, this was no big deal – you didn’t need notes from every parent every morning with fingerprints, DNA samples and whatnot. What a different, less-paranoid time it was, right?
So, on this particular day, my mom was the chauffeur. I remember sitting in the back seat with one or two of my classmates. Again, back at the time, we didn’t need car seats. As a matter of fact, we didn’t even need to wear our seat belts! Weird – that just came back to me. So, we were sitting in the back seat, two kids were in the front seat(!), and we pulled up to the drop-off.
My mom got out of the car, went to the passenger side, and opened the door. She looked at me in the back seat and told me, “Now, Mark, you stay in here. I’m going to let you out at the next door.” She let the two kids out who were in the front seat, popped the latch on the seat to lean it forward, and let the other kids out. Four-year-old me, forgetting what Mom just said, leaned toward the door, stretched out my hand to get out and…
SLAM! Just as my mom swung the door shut, my hand was against the edge. The door shut – right on my hand. Immediately I began yelling, scared out of my mind, and tried to yank my hand out of the door. In a panic, I kept yanking my hand, but it was stuck firmly. I remember my hand being stuck for like ten minutes. Of course, it really was more like three seconds.
My mom heard me panicking, and opened the door. I pulled my hand back and looked at it – no damage. I wiggled my fingers – no pain. I was fortunate that my mom didn’t slam the door shut, she only pushed it slowly enough so it would close.
Crying from the panic, I remember my mom looking at my hand. “It doesn’t hurt? You can move your fingers? Well, you’re lucky – you could have broken your hand.”
“What does that mean?”
“Oh, don’t worry about it now. But why did you do that?”
“I was trying to get out! I thought you forgot about me!”
“What?! Mark, I told you to stay in! You have to get out at the other door.”
“…. Oh,” I mumbled.
I did remember that, now that she reminded me. Well, no harm done, right? But I’ll tell you this much – I don’t put my hand near a car door until I’m sure that it’s not closing now.