She’s calling! No Mom, please, don’t call the Doctor. , please!
She never listens to me, never ever.
Sitting at the round maple dining table holding that yellow receiver of our wall phone in her hand . It’s over stretched curly cord hanging nearly to the floor. Right in front of the big picture window she sits, again. It’s her perch . She sits looking over the rear yard and up the street. Every day, sometimes for hours talking on that phone!
I love Mom but I don’t trust her. I want to, but I can’t. When I told her about these ugly things growing on my left foot she promised me she wouldn’t touch them. She knows how awfully sensitive my feet and lower legs are to touch. But she had to touch it anyway. To hold my leg and touch them just as soon as she saw the six ugly things growing on the bottom of my left foot.
These ugly things look like a family of spiders! Reddish brown and even hairy, but hard like stones. A couple of them had grown huge. About the size of a quarter! They have been growing there for a while, I didn’t tell anyone. Now I had to, walking, rather limping was getting hard to hide. Once I tried to pick at them when there were only a couple, and they were smaller. Just in case they were stones. Stones that I may have stepped on. They weren’t and I screamed.
Mom had made other promises too. She promised us when we moved into our last house. A small three Bedroom bungalow in Bay View. It.set up high on a hill which made cutting the grass to hard for me to do. Mom was going to make the house over for us and maybe put a terrace in the front yard. Then it would be easier to mow and it would be real pretty. She promised us we would stay there for a long time! Years even. If we just accepted the move nicely, again!
It’s March and I am only eleven years old, and I won’t be 12 until July. And I have lived in 10 houses since I was born! I am the oldest child still at home. There are seven of us altogether, the oldest three girls were married now and moved out. My one and only brother Jerry is in the Air Force. The older girls and their husbands were expected to help us move, whenever. Rumor had it recently that my brother in laws were furious at all this moving around. We all had heard the same promise to us when we moved here. According to Mom and Dad we had to move out now because they had fixed up the Bay View house so special the owner wanted to move back in to it with his family. Broken promises littered my life. There was no terrace either.
So now we had moved into a little yellow 4 bedroom Cape Cod with white trim and shutters. The house is cute and is on the corner of Holt and 83rd St. In the Southwest corner of Milwaukee. A nice suburban neighborhood with a pond katty corner across the street.
The Bay View house we only lived in for 9 months. We can’t live like normal people Dad told us because he works two jobs to support us already and Mom gets us a break on the rent where we live by fixing the places up real pretty for the owners. My parents started doing this shortly after the war. It made sense since all 9 of us were home then. Today things are different its 1956. Someone would come buy our house or the landlord had somebody to live in it that would pay more rent than we could afford. It wasn’t fair but it was what it was my Granny would say. No matter what I didn’t trust the promises my parents gave us, not anymore.
It seems I was born broken too. When I was just four I had to go to the hospital due to a hearing problem. I was partially deaf. I had to have surgery. Apparently some glands , Adenoids were growing so big that my ear drums were being covered Mom and that darn Doctor said the surgery wouldn’t hurt! Wrong again! It hurt me like the dickens!. I can still smell the ether when I think about it. To make matters worse no one came to see me after the day of surgery. I felt alone and scared that whole time! They were right about getting Popsicles, but that was all, so I don’t trust what they say anymore.
When I was 10 (just last year) The Doctor put me in another hospital, for six weeks!. Almost all last summer vacation I had to lay in a hospital bed in a hospital that smelled to me like ether! My legs and toes had hurt, and I was having headaches. I was achy of all over. Mom said it was just growing pains cause I was getting pretty tall .I grew about 2 inches that year . I was now almost 5’8″. So growing pains made sense to me, even though my younger sisters hadn’t got them. The sister just 11 months younger than me was almost 5’7″. (Her name is Jacqueline. Jacky for short). Well Dr. Wonder (the doctors name,) had Mom bring me into his office for an exam cause I was running a low grade fever. He insisted that I had to go to the hospital that same day. I heard him tell Mom my heart was enlarged on the xray, and he heard a murmur in there. He decided I had Rhuematic fever.
Again with the promises. “Honey you will have Lots of company and presents. I’ll get you a bunch of books and magazines to read, a coloring tablet and new colored pencils! You won’t be gone long and you will be ok.”Mom said.” We’ll all come visit , even Granny.” . She just wanted me to stop crying.
I was in Lakeview hospital for 6 weeks! Almost Every day except weekends the nurses would come with big needles and take blood out of me. They put fat needles in my veins with liquid running into me from a bottle that looked like pickles should be in it. Every time I wanted to get up I had to get unhooked from the tubes coming out of the bottle. I had to call for a nurse, to unhook me. They often tried to ignore me! I had to go potty a lot with water running in me. So I told the nurses if they didn’t want to come when I called to go potty I would just wet the bed, cause I wasn’t faking! Then they could clean that mess up! It was a kind of contest, that was the only fun I had in all six weeks. Family did come see me and I did get some flowers from Granny, from her garden but they died really quick. The family that did come only came once. Mom or Dad came once a week! I was on bed rest only! I hated the bed pan and refused it.t I really hated that I believed what Mom and the others told me to get me here! ” oh it will be fun!” I would never trust anyone ever again. Except God cause He doesn’t ever lie or break promises
I am assuming today the nurse at Dr. Wonders office had told Mom he would call her back when he could. That made our phone taboo to everyone until the Doctor called back. I kept begging Mom not to talk to him , I promised” that I would try to use Jerry’s (my brother ) old crutches”. I could still walk to the bus stop and go to school. I wouldn’t complain again, really!”. She ignored me. With seven kids Ignoring was something you would get really good at.
The phone started to ring and I jumped startled out of my chair. When I was startled I bumped my sore foot and let out a warhoop.
I hobbled to my bedroom that was just down the hall from the dinette where Mom was 0n the phone. The stupid yellow wall phone with its droopy cord. I didn’t want to hear Mom’s conversation, but I still could. I heard her say a lot of OK’s, and yes and tomorrow morning is fine! Once she asked if something was really necessary, apparently it was because there was another OK right after that. The long pauses were the worst. Then the phone was hung up. A few minutes later Mom walked into my room and sat next to me. I had a double bed with a pretty white chenille bedspread. Soft with little blue and red roses all over it. Pale green walls. There were oak hardwood floors in here and a white throw rug by my bed side. I had put one of my bed pillows down on the rug so I could rest my sore foot on something soft. Mom said, ” we have to go to his office tomorrow morning at 10:30. He will look at your foot, he thinks it’s Plantar s Warts. He agrees they are painful.” So I asked Mom,” is he going to put my foot in a cast, like he did my arm when I fell off the monkey bars ?” She just sat there, pretty quiet and just nodded no. So I started to cry. Certain that Dr. Wonder would have to cut my foot off.! I asked Mom about that, and she shook her head no again, and then she gave me a hug. She never gives hugs! This must be bad. So now I was hideously crying. I hate ugly crying but I couldn’t help it. I was so scared! Mom spoke next and said, ” Dr. Wonder says he may have to burn them out. These things have long roots, so he has to burn deep to kill them. Or they could come back”. Mom, ” no. I don’t want my feet touched you know I can’t. And not with fire!” She then smiled and said,” no he will burn them with chemicals and electricity”. “You’ll be as good as new in a couple of weeks, maybe less if you heal fast,” Mom added. Then I lost it. I really yelled” no, I’m not…. going”! “You can’t make me I don’t trust you or him, no I won’t go! I just can’t”. I was slobbering and looking grotesque. Mom stood up, all 5’2″ of her, with her dark hair pulled back in a low braided bun, and said,” watch your attitude young lady!” then nothing was spoken for what seemed like a long time. She used her yellow apron to wipe my face and said,” You can eat supper in your room if you want..” We’ll get you a TV table, don’t spill on the bedding”. Then she left and went to the kitchen.
I crawled into my bed, clothes and all. My eyes were swollen with only narrow slits to see out of. Pretty soon my head was aching too. Jacky walked in and sat on the side of my bed, and asked,”are you ok?” I answered,’ no’. She said, ‘ok’ and left the room. Shortly I got up and headed for the bathroom. Carefully and trying to find a way to walk without pain. Why me? Why always me?
I hobbled to the bathroom. At first I just sat there crying quietly. How long I don’t know. And then I began to think and remember stories I had heard from Mom and Granny about miracles and angels. I recalled some of my Sunday school lessons and decided to pray. At first I was sitting on the toilet I decided that was probably inappropriate so I closed the lid and knelt down in front of it. I prayed, nothing special. Except the Lords Prayer is what I started with, then I just talked to Jesus about everything. Told Him what was going on, how touchy my legs and feet were and how scared I was. I told him how I was sorry but didn’t trust anybody anymore, except Him. I even asked Him if it would be ok if He just would send an angel for me tonight and take me home by Him. I begged Him to take me home tonight, I knew in heaven I wouldn’t hurt anymore, or have a murmur or get sick. I knew he raised Lazarus from the dead .I told God that I didn’t expect anything so grand. I just didn’t want to go through anymore of this broken world with all my broken parts. But if He didn’t want me to come to His house yet I would try to understand. I was crying again/ Eventually said good night to God and I hope to see you soon! Jacky was knocking on the bathroom door and told me Mom wanted to know what I was doing in there so long. She also said my supper had gotten cold. Which was ok with me since my tummy was to sick to eat anyway. I rinsed out a cold wash cloth for my eyes and hobbled back to my bed. Still clothed I crawled in it.
Since it was March it got dark early and dusk had come and gone while I was in the bathroom. When Jacky walked past my door with the phone in her hand heading to the bathroom I asked her to shut off my light and close the door, please. She did, then I heard the bathroom door close. I eventually fell asleep, it took a while but that cold wash cloth helped a lot.
The next thing I knew it was morning and I was still here! Jesus had decided not to come to get me or even to send an angel!. The next thought was that today is the day, the day I dread. Mom had said 10:30. I had no idea what time it was now but I heard my sisters in the kitchen and bathroom getting ready for school. Jacky and Darlene left about 7:30. Darlene to 3rd grade and Jacky to 5th, they walked together. I was in 7th at Walker Junior high. I had to take a bus. It picks me up on the corner on 84th st and Morgan, about a two block walk. I laid there awhile wishing I was still asleep. I prayed some more and cried too. Quieter now.
Not sure exactly how much longer I had laid there, but eventually I threw my blankets back and swung my legs off the side of the bed. There I sat not wanting to stand up, the right foot on the floor the left one about an inch or two above it. Finally, I needed to move, I needed to hobble to the bathroom. The house sounded quiet. It was a sunny day, The window shades had not been pulled down in my room last night so my room was quite bright. Any other day it would be considered cheery. My windows faced east and North so I got the sunrise.
I prepared myself to stand up. I stood up and stood there for a few long seconds, both feet on the hardwood floor, no bed pillow. Still standing there, then it hit me.
Something wasn’t right. Oh no, now what?
My foot didn’t hurt, neither of them! So I plunked myself down on the bed again! Stymied! Then I stood up again, a little more brusquely this time. Nothing. So I did the unthinkable I stomped that foot on the floor. Hard. Again….nothing. Now I began to shake, I don’t know why, fear, nerves, whatever. I sat down again. This time I lifted my left leg, turned it and rested it over on the right leg, so I could see the bottom of it. I looked and I stared for a pretty long time. The warts were a different color and there was no hair on them. The hair was on the floor where I stomped my foot. So I decided to touch them, I did and no pain. So I started poking on them and around them and still no pain! As I continued to poke and prod one of the middle size ones above my toe line. Closer to the ball of the foot, fell out! Unto the floor and it had a pitch black tail hanging on it! There was no blood in the hole where it was. All fresh new skin and no hole where the root had been lodged. I began to scream.” MOM!! MOM?? MOM hurry,” Mom ….all the while poking around on the others now also. Within a few seconds I had a handful of black, very black spidery looking warts with attached rat tail looking roots, and no blood. With the one I picked up from the floor I had all six in my hand. Mom opened my door and asked what in the blazes was going on, what was all the yelling about? I handed her the warts, then showed her my foot! We both just stood there in awe.
She knew right away that God had intervened. That’s when I told her about my praying and begging, while we stood there on that hardwood floor together hugging and crying and rocking and praising! Thanking our Lord. It was such a wonderful feeling, knowing God heard me and helped me. I was so filled with an unexplainable joy, that I still can’t find words for.
Then Mom said, ‘ this will be fun telling the doctor why were not coming in today, but first you should call Granny she’s been worrying. And so I did. She was joyful but not as surprised or shocked as most of the others were, including Dr. Wonder.!
I learned to trust God, that we all make mistakes and are not dependable. But He is!
Psalm 107:19 ” Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them from their distress.