Today marks a significant anniversary of our Aunt Brenda’s passing, after battling an extremely extensive illness.
I feel it appropriate to share my favourite Aunt Brenda story today.
I am reminded of her every time I look at my knee… and this is why.
Aunt Brenda was a Nurse.
I learned from an early age that whatever ailment, ouch or pain you had, she was the one to go to.
One day at school (I think this was grade 3 or 4) some jerk kid pushed me on the asphalt and I ripped open my knee. Because we didn’t have a nurse at school, my teacher told me to go to the secretary’s office (I still to this day, have no idea why this seemed like a good idea).
When I approached the secretary’s office and entered, she immediately told me to back up because I was bleeding on her carpet. She was also frantically fanning her hands… and blowing on her finger nails.
Let’s just backtrack for a second.
I’m standing in the doorway of the school secretary’s office in my brand new teal Umbro shorts, bleeding everywhere realizing my secretary has wet nails because she was painting them and I happened to interrupt her. Say What!?
Anyway, she asked me what I wanted (face palm) and all I could say was the word: “Band-Aid” (meanwhile I probably needed stitches or something slightly bigger than a Band-Aid…maybe some gauze?!)
After much deliberation (and hand fanning), she was agreeable to me coming back in and opening her top desk drawer to get a Band-Aid while being “extra careful not to bleed everywhere”. After unsuccessfully not finding what I was looking for (there was an ass-load of nail polish in that drawer) I had to go back out in the hall and “wait”.
I waited…and waited…and waited – blood running down my leg, pooling into my sock. *gag*
After waiting for what seemed eternity, I had decided the secretary forgot about me and my hemorrhaging knee and it was time to take matters into my own hands.
SO I LEFT.
Yes. I left school. I didn’t tell anyone… I’m sure if they were really concerned they could have followed my trail of blood all the way to Blaquier Street. Come to think of it, I probably was a bit loopy with all the blood I had lost and this wasn’t the wisest decision.
Conveniently my Aunt Brenda and Uncle Tom lived across the street from my school, so I high tailed it over there (which was more like a woozy limp, dragging my leg across the playground).
I must have woken her up, because I remember Aunt Brenda opening the door and looking sleepy. Thinking back, she probably was on nights. Immediately looking at me and my now red stained leg – blood gushing everywhere, she pulled me into the house and swiftly into the bathroom… to the bath tub to be exact.
There were no questions.
Here, Nurse Brenda cleaned me up, stopped the bleeding and picked out every piece of gravel embedded in my knee. This entire process involved rubbing alcohol, tweezers, gauze and lots of ointment. Each movement and action was explained (I’m fairly certain this was the art of distraction), and it was then I realized a single Band-Aid wouldn’t have helped me at all.
I had in fact, made the right decision to seek treatment elsewhere.
After everything was said and done, I was patched and cleaned up…with new socks (Aunt Brenda’s). She did warn me; the cut was pretty deep and I eventually would have a scar…at least I think that’s what she said. By this time she was starting to sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher and apparently my complexion was starting to match the gauze wrapped around my knee.
She decided I needed to eat something and stat.
She positioned me on the couch, with a blanket with my leg propped up on many pillows and was given the remote to the TV. A TV which had SATELITE (yes, that was a big deal back then) where I watched the Nickelodeon channel and scarfed down a sandwich (with no crust) and guzzled down orange juice.
I really have no idea how long I had been there… until we both heard the school bell chime for afternoon recess.
And this is kind of how our conversation went:
AB: “how did this happen?”
Me: “________ pushed me on the basketball court”
AB: “Hmm…Did you push him back!!?”
Me: *insert confused/surprised blank blinking stare*
(I totally wish I did push him back!)
AB: “Who helped you get here!?”
Me: *insert confused blank blinking stare with cocked head and frowny face*
AB: “Alex, which teacher let you leave!?”
Me: *crickets chirping*
AB: (in a very calm voice) “Alex. Did you leave and not tell anyone?”
Never in my life, have I seen anyone fly from where they were sitting. In one instantaneous swoop she grabbed the phone, flipped through the phonebook and dialed the school.
This is what I remember hearing:
“Yes. This is Brenda Golden. I am calling about Alexandra Frankow. I’m her Aunt.
… B-R-E-N-D-A. *pause* G-O-L-D-E-N…
Ohhhh… she was totally talking to the school secretary, who was more than likely high on nail polish fumes. She literally had to spell out her name to the poor fool.
AB: “yes, I have Alex with me right now.
* Remember the scene from Uncle Buck where John Candy can’t get a word in edgewise with his girlfriend on the phone? This is exactly what it was like*
No, she is in fact not out in the hallway.”
(me: Ha ha ha ha… I would truly have waited for eternity…. In a pool of blood)
“yes that is correct. She is at my home where I had to perform first aid”.
“NO. She walked here”
“I’M A NURSE” (this was a firm authoritative tone)
“Yes. Can you please connect me to the principal?
Yes. The Principal. I’ll hold.”
*a very long stretch of time went by*
Minutes later I could hear muffled talking. She must have stepped into the hallway to continue the conversation with the principal.
Because I have the attention span of a gnat, I continued watching Ren and Stimpy in all its unsupervised glory.
After a long phone call, she returned to the living room, looking flustered (a rarity).
AB: “Ok. Time to go back to school. I have called your mom to let her know what happened. Do you feel ok? Can you walk?”
After answering many questions, her double checking my dressing and helping me put my shoes back on, we were off – walking back to school…together.
I never knew what happened after she walked me back to my classroom; I never had the chance to ask.
I do however remember that same week; a metal first aid kit was fastened to the wall in the secretary’s office. And I have a pretty good feeling Nurse Brenda had something to do with it.
ps. I do have a scar, and reminds me of my aunt and my first day playing hooky from school. Freaking worth it.
Alex, what a wonderful memory. And a story well told.
Thank you so much! XO