Your All-American girl, in happier times.
I was about one and a half years old here. Sometime after this photo was taken, not long before my second birthday, I fell from the top of a very tall slide in a playground — about an eight- or nine-foot drop — and landed right on my head. Because this was back in the dark ages before anyone gave a thought to frivolous things like “child safety regulations,” there was no protective padding under the slide, and the playground was essentially a field of asphalt. No rubber mat, no wood chips, nothing. So I landed head-first on a paved surface.
My mother, who had been with me at the top of the slide, rushed down to me. I was still conscious, but dazed and unresponsive. I wasn’t crying. My parents got me in the car and raced to the hospital. An examination and X-ray revealed a severe concussion and a fractured skull. The doctors kept me in the hospital overnight to monitor me and make sure there was no bleeding or pressure building up in my skull.
Years later, I can still recall certain details of the hospital room in the pediatric ward where I stayed that night. The crib units set up like bunk beds, the small table with a night light on it. I was in the top crib, which was completely enclosed, making it very much like a cage. I remember looking down through the bars of my crib-cage and seeing my mother sitting at the table in the dim orange light.
That hospital room is my earliest memory.