People might look back on 1993 and remember it by one of many significant events. My husband will tell you all about the Great Flood in St. Louis. Many people I grew up with were consumed with excitement over the original Chicago Bulls three-peat. For me, 1993 was characterized by an event that I don’t even remember.
I was a fairly typical Midwestern kid, with a passion for daydreaming and a hatred of cleaning my room. One particular Saturday, I was doing much more of the former when I was supposed to be working on the later. I clearly remember my particular daydream that fine summer afternoon (which I admit is a bit strange). My dad had recently purchased a new fishing boat, and I had boats on the brain. But not little boats good for navigating the waters of the small lake in our neighborhood – big boats. Massive houseboats with all kinds of things contained on them. Skating rinks. Bowling alleys. (I swear at this point I had never heard of a cruise ship.)
What’s funny about the extent to which I recall that particular Saturday morning, is that I have absolutely no recollection of that Saturday afternoon. According to legend, my mom got sick of us dawdling upstairs on such a nice day, and sent my brother and me out on a bike ride to get some fresh air. The details are sketchy – I may have hit a patch of loose gravel, or I may have been showboating as many nine-year-olds do, and rode no-hands past the neighborhood beach. (The most reliable account of the actual fall was from my then-six-year-old brother.) At any rate, I took a big spill right in front of the beach, which I’m sure was not exactly what I had planned. Some kind neighborhood ladies helped me up and offered to take me back home, but being the tough kid that I was, I hopped back on my bike and continued the rest of the way around the lake. Apparently I was not about to let something like a silly fall get between me and my short break from room-cleaning imprisonment.
It was back home, with my mom tending to my scraped-up appendages, that I started to get loopy. Remember Ten-Second-Tom from the movie 50 First Dates? I imagine it was a bit like that.
We repeated the same exchange all the way to the hospital.
“You fell off your bike.”
“Is my bike OK?”
“Don’t worry, honey, nothing happened.”
“Then why am I crying?!?!”
I can only imagine how terrifying that time had to be for my parents. I was enrolled to start at a private gifted school that fall, and suddenly I could barely remember who I was.
Sometime that evening I snapped out of it, right around the time they gave me a tetanus shot and a Tazmanian Devil Band-Aid. I stayed at the hospital that night for observation, and stayed up late playing Zelda on Super Nintendo. I went home the next day, and life went on. My parents saved a note card they had written for me to reference when I got confused:
Your name is Sarah Beth.
Today is [a specific date in the summer], 1993.
You fell off your bike.
The President is Bill Clinton.
Looking back, it’s pretty funny. It’s not like the concussion wiped out all of my memories, but it was certainly selective. I had told them that Ronald Reagan was the President. Reagan had left office five years prior – when I was four years old. The human brain is a complicated and fascinating thing, and I am so lucky to have recovered with no apparent lasting effects.
Lesson 1: Always wear a helmet.