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Memories: The Tomboy Life And A Few Broken Bones…

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“A broken bone can heal, but the wound a word opens can fester forever.”  Jessamyn West

Memories: The Tomboy Life And A Few Broken Bones... A fractured tibia is not fun...

Back in the day, when I was a little girl, I was a daredevil tomboy. I climbed trees, chased cats and dogs, and thought nothing of racing a car down the street.  Were you a bit of a Tomboy as a child? Did you climb the occasional tree and compete in racing matches with the neighbor’s dog? Yes, yes, me too! I bet you also agree that if it weren’t for the grace of God and our parental admonishments, many of us would have been seriously maimed for life … or even dead. I have to admit that I was one bold young girl and always up for a dare which my cousins were eager to provide.

Back then, TV was not a priority at all. We went to school, did our homework, read a comic or a few pages in a book and then spent the rest of the afternoon gallivanting around the neighborhood playing games and being a nuisance… at least, that’s what some people said. We played hide and seek, pseudo shot-put tossing, hurdles, tree climbing and occasionally a version of pole vaulting… yes, that sport.

When I read the Plinky prompt, I was reminded of a post from my blogger blog and I winced and flashed back to the day, at age 7, when I broke my left leg on a stupid dare. Yes, I was an idiot in need of a wake-up call and that nasty little event taught me a sound lesson; do not imitate an Olympic athlete if you have had no prior training…

“I’ve always been like that. I was a tomboy when I was a kid, so I was always playing baseball and basketball and football and stuff as a kid with the boys.” Catherine Bell

Memories: The Tomboy Life And A Few Broken Bones... Yes... I did try a version of pole-vaulting...

Some Background
I loved the outdoors growing up and once my family moved back to Lagos, I had cousins and the children of our new family friends around to play with. We played typical childhood games and sports; ball games, card games, chasing each other up and down the street, ring-around-the-roses and other inventive creative theater that popped into our heads.

We also entertained each other by horsing around and getting the neighbor’s dog to compete in the equivalent of a 100 meter dash with us. The dog was smart and played along but sometimes, if we overtook him, he would get aggressive and snip at our ankles. He didn’t like to lose! This is pole-vaulting and I did my version of it…

The Day of the Accident
On that fateful day, I was with my usual crew; a group of girls and boys who loved sports and thought they had Olympic potential. I say that now but back then, we just loved to push ourselves to our physical limits and show off how strong we were. Mind you, there was no violence involved. We simply raced each other, climbed trees, jumped fences and yes… that pole vault incident.

There was a six foot concrete wall that separated our side by side two family duplex home from the next door neighbors’. On my side of the wall, lived my family in one duplex, and an American diplomatic family next door. We shared a common backyard and since they had an older child (a daughter I recall), they gave us full rein to play on their side of the backyard.

The neighbors on the other side of the wall didn’t like nosy or noisy children and would often threaten to throw buckets of water at us. We didn’t like them either and playing by the wall was our way to make them mad. The day of the accident, we fashioned a pole from a branch that had snapped off a nearby tree. The goal was NOT to vault over the neighbors wall but up to the edge and then bounce off the wall… yeah, really dumb and dangerous. A couple of kids tried it and had shaky landings but no one was hurt.  More Below… 😉

“To live in this world, you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.” Mary Oliver

Memories: The Tomboy Life And A Few Broken Bones... Those tomboy years...

The Actual Accident
When it was my turn, I figured why stop, just vault over the wall, land on the other side and then run back into the yard. I sprang forward with tree pole in hand, vaulted into the air, heard the tree branch snap in two, and went hurtling across the wall, landing back in my yard as I, flailing arms and legs, attempted to break my fall with my left leg. I heard a loud snap and fell backwards in excruciating pain. I had fractured my femur and broken my tibia in my left leg in half. I screamed so loudly; half the street came running over. An ambulance was called and I spent the next six months in an itchy full leg cast.

Every few weeks or so, I hobbled over to the hospital with my mom to have my leg massaged and my cast adjusted or replaced. It wasn’t fun at all. At least, when I fell off a tree and broke my arm, my friends drew pictures and wrote silly notes on my arm cast. My leg cast was heavy, painful, and a constant irritant. I couldn’t go out and play and I even had to miss school a few times.

I learned my lesson alright and in case you’ve forgotten… Yep! Do not imitate an Olympic pole vault athlete if you have had no prior training…  Oh yeah, and do catch the wonderful award winning French movie Tomboy2011 when you can. What are your thoughts? What bones did you break as a child? What’s your broken bone story? Do share! Thank you. :-)

This post was inspired by a prompt from Plinky: What’s the worst injury you’ve ever sustained? What happened?

Positive Motivation Tip: Find your playful path and proceed with caution…

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All Photos Fractured tibiaPole Vault, Tomboy2011, via Wikipedia…

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

42 Comments leave one →
  1. 18/09/2011 12:31 am

    I didn’t break a bone but I got a nice little gash on my forehead.
    Like you, we used to create our own entertainment, especially during the long summer holidays.
    My grandfather was building a barn or some sort of structure that was raised from the ground. Once he and the workmen left, my cousins and I sprang into action. We had a delicious idea: we’d jump from one plank of the foundation to the next.
    When my turn came, I fell short and hit my head. I got up, brushed myself off and started laughing to hide my embarrassment and my anger at failing. Then I saw the blood and started to wail.
    My grandfather came running in, saw me and yelled for my mother. I was taken to the hospital and given 6 stitches. My head was bandaged for some weeks and I couldn’t have my hair washed.
    For years, I still had the scar but I think it’s faded now.

    • 18/09/2011 12:35 am

      Oh dear… It sounds like a nasty gash there. Yeah, we were a bit nuts and thankfully, we didn’t kill ourselves. TY Marcia! 🙂

  2. 18/09/2011 1:16 am

    I am glad you survived all of this. What hurts us makes us stronger. I cut my foot on glass when I was four. Wow, what an amazing experience even as a tomboy as I was too! I loved to climb trees and then jump down from high places. So, knock on wood, no broken bones. Great post thanks for sharing such a real experience.

    • 18/09/2011 4:37 am

      Thank you Jackie… Of course, I no longer climb trees or do all the crazy stuff, but those were fun times… TY! 🙂

  3. 18/09/2011 4:33 am

    Never broke anything – too scared to do anything that might lead to broken bones 🙂

    • 18/09/2011 4:38 am

      Good for you Tilly! You’ve made up for it with your humor. 🙂

  4. 18/09/2011 7:23 am

    we are all human beings who managed to overcome somehow – once I was in danger, aged 7, as I had climbed up a long stairway in a ruined house and found no way back because many steps were missing (bombs of the WW II in Germany); fireman’s rescue team with a long ladder – very expensive for my parents to pay; aged 15 I swam in the river Rhine between big ships very dangerous; aged 22 me and my girl friend tried to cross a lake in the night; romantic, the moonlight, the silence; but it was very cold and my girl friend got weak; after we’ve been saved I decided to take care of myself …

    • 18/09/2011 10:46 pm

      Oh my God! You were very lucky that you were saved multiple times… Yes, childhood was a dangerous time for those of us who were very adventurous… Thanks to God we are all okay. 🙂

  5. 18/09/2011 8:36 am

    No serious borken bones for me, put a smashed pinkie when a bunch of kids decided to see how hard we could smash pool balls across a pool table, my finger got smashed instead. I STILL like to climb trees, silly I know 🙂 Our biggest job as parents when our children are young is to keep them from killing themselves 🙂

    • 18/09/2011 10:49 pm

      Our biggest job as parents when our children are young is to keep them from killing themselves 🙂 So true and our parents did a good job of it. That smashed finger must have hurt like hell. You still climb trees? For real? Good for you! 🙂

  6. 18/09/2011 8:46 am

    I had no serious injuries as a child, but I did get a broken arm-skating on the cement and I had a tumble. I think of some of the crazy things I did as a child, its a wonder I survived !! Good post ElizOF ! 🙂

    • 18/09/2011 10:50 pm

      Yep I feel the same way… We thought we were just playing and having fun, but some of our games were plain out dangerous and probably stupid. TY for your comment. 🙂

  7. 18/09/2011 8:20 am

    TY Eliz, you inspired me to write on failure.

    • 18/09/2011 10:47 pm

      TY too! I will check it out real soon. 🙂

  8. 18/09/2011 11:22 am

    Ouch. I could almost here the crack myself

    • 18/09/2011 10:51 pm

      Yes, it was quite loud… Thankfully, I learned after that… 🙂

  9. 18/09/2011 11:29 am

    I was a bit of a priss as a child. I never broke a bone until I became an adult, but I went through more eye glasses than I can’t count. I have to admit, some of them were broken on purpose because I wanted new frames.
    You were quite the dare devil! Great story Elizabeth.

    • 18/09/2011 10:52 pm

      😆 I laughed loudly when I read that some of those frames were broken on purpose… You were a dare devil too, Barb, you just didn’t break any bones. TY for your comment. 🙂

  10. 18/09/2011 1:07 pm

    wow..thats quite a story. glad you survived!

    • 18/09/2011 10:53 pm

      Yes, TY! I’m glad I survived that nasty accident. 🙂

  11. 18/09/2011 1:24 pm

    You recount that so vividly – what a great memory! Once you told the story, I remember when I was a kid and once I ended up with crutches from a bad ankle sprain but I cannot even remember how it happened other than I was outside and it somehow involved bike racing… You just remind me how important it is to keep an eye on the kid! He’s a daredevil too…

    • 18/09/2011 10:54 pm

      You are doing a great job with your little one… We were all lucky to have vigilant parents when growing up… I was always looking for some entertainment. 🙂

  12. 18/09/2011 2:59 pm

    I never broke a thing, but it doesn’t mean I didn’t “run with the pack.” I hung upside down on the monkey bars, watched my brother climb palm trees, and sped down a stony, cracked hill on my bike–without holding on. Those were the days–one hardly sees children at play like this anymore. sigh

    • 18/09/2011 10:56 pm

      Those were the days… yes, memory lane here we come… Like you, I noticed the change when I had my own kids panda we had to schedule play-dates and drive around for play-dates and such… it sure has changed. 🙂

  13. 19/09/2011 12:07 am

    I was a tomboy as well! That’s part of why I’m only now learning to cook; my mom found me so frightfully unfeminine, she didn’t want to waste either of our time by putting me in the kitchen.

    I never broke a bone, but I did get stitches in my head three times–once from a fluke accidence and the other two times for my off-the-bed gymnastics. I did sprain an elbow jumping off a very tall tree repeatedly, all in the name of training to be Wonder Woman. :p

    My brother? He got the broken bone jumping out of a window pretending to be Superman. I don’t think either of us necessarily learned, all of which leads me to hope Li’l D learns a little faster!

    • 21/09/2011 4:03 am

      Oh boy! that head banger sounds pretty brutal, thankfully, we all survived. 🙂

  14. 19/09/2011 2:20 am

    I was definitely a tomboy. But I didn’t have the balance to be a dare devil unfortunately.

    I never understood my sister who was all girly.

    • 21/09/2011 4:04 am

      😆 My sister was into dolls and design and I would have none of it… I did change later on… but it took time and work… 🙂

  15. 19/09/2011 7:03 am

    What’s on my mind while I was reading your post–ouch, ouch, ouch! Oh my goodness, Elizabeth! You broke an arm and you also experienced breaking your femur! You are a daredevil as a child haha!

    I didn’t break any bone, but my tongue got wounded from hitting the edge of the stairs when I tried climbing when I was less than 4 years old. I remember my dad’s Tshirt painted with my blood as he panicked and used it to stop my tongue from bleeding. Thinking about that still scares me up to now!

    • 21/09/2011 4:05 am

      Oh, now that sounds scary… I never like the sight of blood; even though I had my share of spills. We survived alright. 🙂

  16. 19/09/2011 4:45 pm

    I am sure your mother felt a bit like I did over the gas stove, only a lot worse! Broken bones and an ambulance….. yikes! I find it iteresting that when you commented on that article of mine, you didn’t think of your mother’s horror over this incident! 😆

    I never broke and arm or a leg and it seems you broke at least both!

    • 21/09/2011 4:07 am

      We weren’t allowed in my mother’s kitchen Robyn, so I couldn’t make that reference… . She was afraid we’d hurt ourselves and she was right because my little brother did. 🙂

  17. 19/09/2011 5:30 pm

    I was in second grade in Marion, Louisiana. Out on the play ground at recess, the eternal dare was to swing as high as the top bar of the swing set–very high. Only the boys ever got that high, and they could only do that by standing up in the swing to “pump” back and forth to get momentum and height. We had all been warned not to do it, and in fact the dare was even more tantalizing because we had to attempt the feat when teachers’ weren’t looking. One day I had my chance. I was bound and determined to match the boys. I stood up and began pumping back and forth, going higher and higher, skirt flying in the breeze. Even when I heard teachers yelling in the distance, I kept going higher. I was too close now to let anything stop me. I reached the height of the bar and in my jubilation let go of the swing with one hand to wave, lost my balance and unable to hold on with one hand went flying through the air and landed with a thud on my right arm. Not knowing it was broken, my teacher kept me at school for the rest of the day even though I was in agonizing pain. When I arrived home my mother, a hospital lab technician, took one look at my arm and rushed me to the hospital where I was xrayed, and my arm put in a cast. I never stood up in a swing again, nor did I stop competing with the boys!

    • 21/09/2011 4:09 am

      My goodness what a story and you had the guts to wave while you were in mid air! I love your story and you should have a post on the experience. 🙂

  18. Skip permalink
    19/09/2011 10:47 pm

    I broker my femur and it was not fun. I got a lot of information on They have other stories from fellow sufferers. Good stuff!

    • 22/09/2011 5:54 am

      Thanks for stopping by to share information on that site… It is very handy. Fortunately, I have not broken any bones as an adult. TY! 🙂

  19. 20/09/2011 12:43 am

    I believe you already read my story about how I broke my fibula in my right leg….I was NEVER a Daredevil, athletic or the least bit of a risk taker. I was just unlucky.
    This sounds extremely painful! 🙁 OUCH!

    • 21/09/2011 4:11 am

      Yes, I read about your fall and how you coped… You were brave! Broken bones are not in great supply. 🙂

    • 22/09/2011 5:55 am

      It was extremely painful … and yes, I read your post on the accident. I’m glad you made a speedy recovery. TY! 🙂


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