Scene4-International Magazine of Arts and Culture
Claudine Jones-Scene4 Magazine

Claudine Jones

Custardize your sins

Welcome to the joys of getting old: I've been trying to think of the number of times that I've made it through a show without getting hurt. That unearthed a bunch of memories.

I'm trying to think of the first time I remember really getting hurt and that would be probably when I was two and I was on the sidewalk I can tell you that it was in Texas because that's where I lived when I was two. I don't know how I know that it was a milk bottle I just remember somebody saying that; it must have been my mother she would have been the one who was with me—I don't remember any blood but milk bottles are pretty thick glass it must have been broken on the sidewalk tossed off in the dirt to the left I think, I remember very chilly light must have been winter which makes sense cuz I was born in February. So here I am looking down at my wrist, scar runs from the wrist across that line that goes from one side to the other and on into my palm inch and a half or so, a funny bump at the beginning and then it gets skinny going towards my palm.

The next one involves my brother: this was when we were already in California and so I was turning the corner towards 4 years old; we were living in Richmond in the old Navy housing 1-bedroom apartment on the ground floor and a big old water tank out in the what passed for front yard, not a whole lot of grass mostly just kind of scrubby dried up stuff trying to be lawn, nobody ever watered it or anything, and so here's my brother and he's telling me that if I climb up this nasty old piece of wood up to the top of the water tank about I don't know 4, 5 feet up—once I'm up there I can ride down the piece of wood and we'll go straight to Santa Claus, but it flips up and a nail smacks me right in the forehead,  my first memory of the emergency room; doctor gave me a shot in the forehead, I guess anesthetic local anesthetic and put a stitch to close the wound and gave me a lollipop; still have that scar too.

Can't get through this without mentioning the Park--where I learned to swing  not on the usual type of swing, not even buckets, they put us on little metal horses that swung to and fro--and that was spelled not nickel like the money which I always thought isn't it funny to name a park after money anyway just the name was exciting so if anybody ever said hey want to go to Nichols Park we, that is my brother and I we're always up for it,  the problem is that we're on the driveway and that's why they call them accidents, my father clearly did not mean to but he inadvertently smashed my thumb in the car door when we are trying to get in. Boy that was bad that was really bad although I didn't break anything I do still have I want to say a touch of arthritis or something in that thumb my left thumb; my mother got out of one of her scarves to make a sling, had dark blue background and little white design on it like maybe little tiny fleur-de-lys or something and so I wandered around with my arm in a sling for the rest of the day feeling sorry for myself and probably got ice cream but there's nothing for it my nail turned kind of deep pink and then went black and a few days later it came off.

I'm going to fast forward through all of the childhood diseases, that same apartment in Richmond, having chicken pox and being on a skinny little bed writhing with discomfort and sweat and my mother coming in and putting a cold rag on my forehead and telling me not to scratch; I still have scars from chicken pox too. Or measles and I know I had rubella as well.

When we moved into the housing tract where they were building nice houses for returning soldiers we get to pick out the lot and the style of house and we went out there and we saw where our house was going to be built and there was a little flag in the dirt, there's probably a whole bunch of little flags going all around the periphery of our lot, I don't remember that part, but then when we moved in they had named all the streets, it was called Canterbury Village and our street was Cobblestone of course there were no cobblestones but you get the idea. And there was a creek but it wasn't really, mostly like just a trickle where we could go down  and look for crawdads hanging out in there hiding in the rocks.  When we moved in they had put in sidewalks of course but there was no protection at all so you went up to the edge there was no Cyclone Fence or anything so sure I went down there with my tricycle and scooted up right to the edge and looked over and boom fell right down onto the rocks; there was a lot of crying involved but I didn't actually have to get taken in for broken bones or anything, I got over it.

Well this is fun, the next thing I remember is one time walking home from kindergarten and being all by myself that's just the way things were, a little dog came up to me and I remember reaching out and thinking oh aren't you cute and next thing I know this tiny little thing gives a way ferocious growl and snaps me on the wrist, broke the skin there was blood just a little bit not a whole lot. I went home and told my mom and they call the police believe it or not, and they came into the living room and they looked at my wrist and they didn't seem to be terribly worried about rabies or anything but the cop really did put an effort into trying to find the dog, he walked up and down the street, went around the corner, I don't think they ever found it but at least they tried. The companion to this incident of course is the time I was walking home a little farther up the way almost home by a half a block and the neighbor's dog was stalking me and I got scared I ran and that was a bad thing to do cuz he caught up with me and snapped at my heel and my shoe came off and I kept running but I did have a bite on my achilles tendon and that might be when the cops came actually I think I may be conflating two incidences cuz I don't think the cops came twice although it makes more sense cuz this time it was a neighbor's dog and they did find the dog and it did have its shots.

This is fun. Next we come to Mt Diablo when my mother and father and my older brother and my parents'  best friends and their son; we're up there having a picnic and of course us kids decided to go wandering off and I think we decided to take a shortcut or something because either somebody was calling us to come and eat or wondering where we were or something but we decided instead of going around the path that we would go straight down the hill. Big mistake, it was one of those times that I try to describe to other people to see if they had the same experience when you're running and you run so fast that your legs get carried away with you and you can't stop cuz that's exactly what happened I started out slow picked up a little bit of speed slipped in the gravel and simply could not stop, my hips were rotating like some kind of mechanical toy giving it the Supreme effort to put the brakes on and there was no response like the braking fluid was gone, somebody had clipped the tubes whatever that's called hydraulics so there you are, I was running so hard and I lost control and landed flat on my face. I don't think there was so much crying involved this time but I did have gravel embedded in my face, it must be in my upper lip they tried to wash it out but I still have this scar right smack in the middle of the divot on your upper lip whatever that's called and they didn't get all the gravel out; it's a little faded grey discolored mark.

And if you want to go on with the lip theme the next thing we have is Fast Forward several years and I'm no longer living in the Bay Area we've moved to Sacramento, and I'm at a picnic with school friends that's actually a school function and there a lot of mothers there who are probably volunteering to help with food and that sort of thing and Janet diBacco's elegant mom who liked to eat potato chips with her tongue so that she wouldn't touch her lipstick was sitting there at a picnic table, and I don't remember why but Janet and I weren't paying attention and with all of the running around we went face-to-face and Janet following in the footsteps of her mother's large mouth and teeth managed to gash me in the lip just to the left of my previous gravel incident. Got two stitches for that one and the doctor was a real piece of work he was such a fumbler I remember my mother standing there next to the examining table very anxious but unable to stop him, that anesthetic needle was worse than the injury wow talk about ham-handed professional technique.

And I don't think it was a whole lot longer because we are still living in the same house I must have healed from that injury, but it makes sense my reaction to the next injury was hysteria, and my mother told me that I should calm down but I didn't, screamed I didn't curse cuz I just wasn't equipped with those kind of words yet but I I really was hysterical and that's because I got my yes third injury on my upper lip and it was my freaking baby brother who threw one of his metal toy cars at me in a fit of temper and smacked me right in the lip on the opposing side from Janet diBacco's teeth mark I still have that Scar and it still pisses me off. Stupid brother.

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Actor/Singer/Dancer Claudine Jones has worked steadily in Bay Area joints for a number of decades.
She writes a monthly column and is
a Senior Writer for Scene4.
For more of her commentary and articles, check the Archives.

©2018 Claudine Jones
©2018 Publication Scene4 Magazine




March 2018

Volume 18 Issue 10

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