Monday, February 18, 2013

Scars and Coming Home

Remember that scene from Jaws, when Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw start showing off their shark bites? And Roy Scheider looks at his tiny nick and decides not to talk about it after all?

I have two scars on my face that I got when I was five. It was the sixties, and I was riding home with Frankie, my boyfriend at the time. We had a torrid relationship going - I used to wear dress up clothes to show off for him, and in return he gave me a small glass bear. 

As it was the sixties, the ride home was in the back of a huge Rambler Marlin, the kind with a long, sloping window where you could look out of the back. Frankie, his sister, and I all sat there and made faces at the traffic behind us. 

Seat belts? Not at all. We weren't even in seats. We lay on our stomachs and propped our chins in our fists. It was springtime in Arizona and the day was already sweltering, and Frankie's mom, who was driving at the time, had promised us a few runs through the hose.

Life was good, until the mom blew a stop sign. Another car hit us, and there was a short, loud Bang! I looked down and thought, That's strange; my white shirt has red polka dots now. 

I don't remember much after that, beyond a woman's voice, screaming. Kids' head injuries bleed a lot, and I was no exception. 
Image courtesy of

My mother didn't let me ride in Frankie's car any more, and eventually we moved to the east coast.

That incident is immortalized by two scars: one right in the center of my forehead, so I look as though I'm always frowning, and another that bisects my lip. Neither injury was life-threatening, and they were almost worth running through the hose in sweltering Tucson. 

My daughter's own perfect face will one day acquire its own scars. Maybe she'll trip in dance class or bite the pitch in soccer. But she won't get them in the back of a Marlin.


Hart Johnson said...

My teeth went through just under my lower lip when I was 10. I did a cherry drop off a trapeze bar at a playground... I was used to cherry dropping of bars that stood still, so I totally wasn't prepared for it to fly back in my face...

Then there are a couple acne scars... but I'd rather not talk about those...

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