Maggie Wilson Author

Historical Non-Fiction in Northern Ontario

Slips, Trips, and Falls: Part 2

When I worked at Bell Canada we attended regular safety meetings. The telephone company maintained a library of health and safety training material in assorted formats. Topics covered the entire range of job descriptions and work environments that might be encountered while employed with the company, but most of them did not apply to those of us who worked in clerical functions.

Because meetings were held on a regular schedule, applicable material was exhausted quickly and before long we were in to re-runs. Every winter we saw the film strip on Driving Safety. We could recite verbatim how to lift properly. Since Slips, Trips, and Falls was the first module in the series on office safety, it was the unit that got the most air time.

I appreciated the intent behind health and safety in the workplace, and though we may have mocked the monthly meetings, I took the information to heart. If I see an elastic band on the floor, I pick it up. I’m also diligent about wiping spills and keeping passage ways well-lit.

My approach to corporate seminars was not much different from my public or Sunday school classes. I paid attention, soaked up the information as if my life depended on it. After all, in some cases it did! You might say I was zealous. Others might say I was a pain in the butt.

All of this good policy, however, has not kept me safe. I’ve had my share of injuries over the years, and most have been slips, trips, and falls. Part 1 of this series described the most recent tumble three years ago when I seriously sprained my ankle doing nothing more elaborate than walking.

My first fall, however, was a doozy.

When I was nine, I had a bedroom to myself. It opened on to a second-storey balcony. We kids sometimes “camped” out if the weather allowed, but for the most part there was no need to venture outside my bedroom.

Cats were in the media in the 60's, too! Click on through for IMDB details.

Cats were in the media in the 60’s, too! Click on through for IMDB details.

One summer evening, the family was getting ready to take in a drive-in movie, The Three Lives of Thomasina. My cousin Judy was staying with us and the excitement level was cranked a notch or three above normal. As we waited for departure time, Judy and I played in the bedroom, but soon found ourselves out on the balcony. We noticed the vinyl wading pool below, partially filled from when Dad watered the newly seeded lawn. When we spit with enough force and volume, the ripples in the water made the cartoon patterns wriggle in an appealing fashion.

Much giggling and tee-heeing. “OOH, that’s a good one! Let me try!” said, Judy.

“OK, my turn!” I said, as I intended to make my next volley world-class. I took a running start from the far side of the balcony, threw myself into the act… and threw myself over the railing.

All I can remember of the downward passage was after the landing when I lifted my head to let out an enormous bellow. Neighbours from several houses away came running to see who was hurt. Mr. White from next door carried me inside and mom called the doctor.

After a brief conference, I was declared fit to see the show.

There was no follow-up appointment. I might have had a headache or some stiffness, but I cannot recall any immediate consequence of the fall, other than a scraped chin from hitting the metal eaves-trough.

As for long-range consequences, there have been plenty.

Of course it could have been much worse. That corner of the yard was normally used to store bikes, yard implements, and the BBQ. That day, however, Dad had moved everything aside to turn the earth in preparation for new grass seed. I had a soft landing.

Thomasina was not the only one blessed with multiple lives.

  ***   ***   ***   ***   ***   ***

I have decided to serialize a piece I feel compelled to write in order to explore an unpleasant exchange with my husband last weekend. One or two more short pieces will complete the  back story. 




Categories: Husband, Personal Growth

Tags: , , , , ,

34 replies

  1. Oh dear! These days you would have been rushed to the ER for every test under the sun. I took a nasty fall from a horse (also at age 9) and never saw a doctor either despite whacking my head soundly.


    • Children sure can bounce, can’t they? That’s an interesting comparison to make about today’s medical response. In those days, we had access to our family doctor 24/7. He might have made house calls, too. Today, you can expect to wait 7 hours to see an intern in the walk-in clinic. If it’s open.


  2. Yikes! How high was the balcony on the second storey from the ground? At least at my house, that would probably be at least a three-meter drop-off.


  3. You do make me laugh, the way you express yourself, making it into a funny story. It could have been catastrophic! I do look forward to further episodes Maggie.


  4. OUCH!!! It’s funny how kids can be so resilient – will pick themselves up and walk away unscathed while an adult doing the same thing would be in traction for weeks! What’s particularly funny is HOW you ended up flying over the railing 🙂


  5. When my sister was young she took a tumble and broke her arm. The next day, my mother enrolled her in Modeling School. To teach her to better “carry herself”. At least you didn’t have to endure that!
    Great story!


    • … yow! There’s maternal instinct, and then… well, enough said.
      In hindsight, it does surprise me to recall that I was not scolded. No loss of privilege, no teasing… life as usual. Including popcorn at the drive-in!


  6. That must have been terrifying for you and for your cousin. Probably changed how you felt about your bedroom and balcony as well as that awful falling sensation. They do have repercussions even if not physical. I’m so sorry innocent fun ended up in such a scary incident.

    Your timing on posting these mishaps is interesting to me because I’ve considered needing to do this about my previous accidents to see if “writing it out” will help me get over the fear lingering from my most recent.


    • I very clearly remember the horrified look on my cousin’s face when everyone gathered outside to attend to me. It was some time before I ventured out on the balcony again, you are absolutely correct. Though, I did overcome the aversion, eventually.

      I understand your qualms, I think, about riding. We do not bounce back like we did as children. A friend talked to me about his fears about bike riding. He had ridden Moab a couple of times without incident and wondered if he wasn’t toying with fate. He decided he wouldn’t press his luck and did not book a trip to Utah this year. I guess he forgot that conversation. He just returned from riding in the Andes. Intact. At the risk of generalizing, guys approach fear differently, I think. Good luck with your inquiry!


      • Thanks, Maggie. Your comments are very helpful. Moab is the kind of place I might have ridden once – safely – then said “never again”. I bet you are right about most men.

        It IS the bouncing back that gets harder. In fact, right now I’m having an a ha moment. After all previous crashes, I haven’t been afraid because I’ve been willing to risk another accident in order to continue the joy of riding. THIS time, i don’t feel like I can afford another accident and I don’t see how I can give up the joy of riding. I have to pick one or the other. There’s no such thing as “just ride a safe distance, not a long distance.” My friend broke her pelvis crashing on her own tiny curb! I’ll get my bike out this week. If it’s too unnerving for me, i might look into a recumbent bike.

        Thanks for listening!


  7. Ouch! Glad for the soft landing! This post makes me want to tie my kids down today 😉 LOL


  8. I had a similar experience when my dad was building a porch. I woke from a nap and went out to see him and fell off the edge. No hospital visit in my case either. It’s a wonder we survived childhood.


  9. I feel guilty for laughing but blame the storyteller. Beautifully told.


  10. Kids will always do silly things that frighten the lives out of their parents. My eldest sister bit her tongue nearly in half; my second-eldest sneaked into the woodshed and, picking up an axe, managed to lift it backwards onto her nose (blunt end, I mean): my third sister, out illegally exploring a self-made sand cave, had it fall in on her and her friend; I left my finger in the door-jamb while the door was being closed and had an interestingly-shaped finger for a while … But I can understand that this one has left you with a very unwanted legacy, Maggie …


  11. All of those, especially the door-jamb make me weak in the knees. Yikes!
    You understand correctly, M-R.


  12. Ouch! That could have been nasty. Interesting that your dad had moved the stuff.


    • Hi Frankie – great to hear from you!
      Every time I tell the story I get a “woo-woo” feeling that there was some divine intervention. There are other parallels too, that I just realized when I researched the movie Thomasina… still too early to write about those!


  13. That’s crazy! Did anyone think it was intentional?


  14. So many thoughts:
    – Happy coincidence. Grateful we have Maggie, thanks to it.
    – Divine intervention? I believe in God, but don’t think the children who were killed by similar falls where dads or moms were gonna move the sharp implements the NEXT day were loved any less by God, so in my belief system, no.
    – Had there been video, today’s youth would laugh at the fail. That bothers me very much.
    – My own boys. Toddlers, 2 and 3, on our balcony, starting to climb up just as I walked out:
    “Don’t worry, Gray. It’s grass. Grass is SOFT.”


    • Thanks, OB. I’m glad to be around too!
      Yeah, the video thing: it troubles me too. I was reading a piece in the paper the other day about sitcoms and the nature of comedy today compared to ten or twenty years ago. That is, it is considerably more harsh and aggressive.


  15. Loved your story, Maggie – can picture your flight! I too had a porch off the bedroom my mother allowed me to paint dark brown, but I just went out there to sneak a smoke. Nothing as exciting as your dive!



  1. Lazy Bones: Slips, Trips, and Falls Part 3 | The Zombies Ate My Brains
  2. Slips, Trips, and Falls Part Four | The Zombies Ate My Brains
  3. Wide World of Sports – The Zombies Ate My Brains

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