I grew up on a country road two miles out of the 'city' of Mosinee. The road hugged the banks of the Wisconsin River and we sat on a couple acres with an ample front and backyard. Our backyard meshed in with a large pine forest which gave way to fields and the River itself. This space allowed my imagination to run wild and I felt as though I had the world at my beck and call. I could climb trees, explore the wild brush (one year I discovered wild black raspberries), the base of an abandoned silo, and so much else.
The backyard itself had a metal swingset, a patio with a large oak tree growing out of the middle of it, and a rarely used sandbox that someone somewhat unwisely thought to place under a cluster of four tall pine trees thus making it more of a pine needle box than a sand box. Later, I would be the one to mow all that grass but I seem to remember rather enjoying it especially the year we got a riding lawnmower.
I'll get to an 'adventure' I had on the swingset in another post, and the sandbox holds no stories (sadly) but the patio was the focal point of my first big childhood emergency - the day I drank gasoline.
This patio was made up of these pinkish rectangular tiles, and on the patio sat a rusted lawnchair and a semi rusted grill. I don't remember the family using it very much, so it was kind of a big occasion when my dad would fire it up. I remember it being a particularly hot summer day and I was doing my thing - I had playmates with kids from the road, but I always felt a little silly sharing my 'pretend' with them especially since it would include me creating a TV schedule of all the shows I liked the most. I dreamt that I could create one station where all the best stuff was on..... I created a logo and everything and would do promos in my head. I was very much a child of the TV generation.
Anyway, on this particular day, I had been running around and, as is normal on a hot summer day, got thirsty. Dad was grilling and I noticed that he had a bottle of 7Up on the little shelf on the side of the grill. I saw him step away and figured he wouldn't mind if I "snuck" a swig of his soda.
That's when it hit me that what I had just drunk was gasoline.
For some reason, rather than having a can of lighter fluid, my dad poured some gas into an empty bottle of 7Up. I never did find out why but there it was, bubbling around in my stomach.
In a moment of blind panic, I tore across the gravel driveway that circled the house and raced in through the back door of the house and into the kitchen where everyone was making conversation.
Once they found out what had happened, my mom grabbed me and we dashed off to the car. The Mosinee clinic was, at the time, just over the bridge in a tiny office on the main street.
My mom suffered from some nervous conditions, but on that day and in that moment, she was calm, cool, and focused on getting me to the doctor's office.
Someone had called ahead and once we arrived, they rushed me in and got me into a tiny room. Soon, plastic tubes were being inserted up into my nose. I could feel them snaking down the back of my throat.
And then they started to pump.
Well, it all came up fairly quickly as tears wear streaming down my face.
Afterwards, we went next door to Mueller's Drug Store and mom let me pick out a coloring book. I chose one with an owl dressed as a sheriff (how I remember that, I'll never know).
In later years, when my sister and brother would tease me about it, I would point out that the gasoline was in the 7Up bottle, but they'd come back with 'yeah, but you drank it TWICE!"
I cannot argue with that, unfortunately! LOL