The Hazards of Running Wild!
Bicycle Crashes, Nail Juks and other Misfortunes.
Who wore shoes?
You usually had two pairs – one were nice brown leather Clarks, with leather soles that were very slippery when wet, that were worn to school (and had to be kept perfectly polished to avoid a punishment of writing 'lines' from a prefect or school master or mistress) and the other pair were tennis shoes for sports.
The rest of the time you were barefoot!
Feet get pretty tough and resilient after being barefoot for a year or ten!
But the time would always come when you connected with 'a piece of Bubadus' and ended up with a nasty stubbed toe, or like when Roger Edgehill almost took off a big toe after an argument with an iron landmark hidden in the sand above the highwater mark.
Nail juks were another common hazard
and sometimes it didn't even matter if you did have your shoes on – once while playing 'kick the can' I 'get juk' through the rubber sole of my tennis shoe and couldn't pull the nail out because the rubber held it too tightly – had to take the shoe off instead – I expect it hurt quite a bit, but I can't remember that now.
Falling out of trees or colliding with objects was also common
– my brother got a 2 stitch gash on the back of his head from going backwards out of one of the Peterkin's cordia trees onto hard McAdam driveway; another time he rounded a corner of Granny's house and hit up with the corner of an open shutter – more stitches!
Bicycles were our transportation and there was always room for trouble.
One of the benefits of having an older brother was that I got to tag along on adventures that were a bit beyond my years.
We used to go on rides all over the area and one of my first bigger ones when I was eight, on my brand new 26 inch Raleigh (too big for me at the time) was out to St. Barnabas Church beyond the Pine (7 mile ride) – this meant walking up the very steep Rendezvous Hill.
And hills you went up you must come down – the big boys would only hold brakes for the first part down the hill and then reach awesome speed down the rest – well I thought I could do the same and picked up a nasty front wheel speed wobble and went airborn over the handlebars and landed on my chin and right arm – road rash fuh days!
When I stood up I couldn't find my bike – after what seemed an eternity I found it in the top of the dunk tree at the side of the road – the others had come back to see how I was and had to pull it out for me as I couldn't reach it. John swapped his smaller Raleigh with me and on the way back home a bus was stopped at the bus stop near Garden Gap #2 - I put my foot out to rest on the curb and slipped and upside down in the concrete open drainage ditch - shock was probably setting in!
The next day in Prep 3 at Harrison's College I was telling the tale of my bandages.