The gang ran towards our car to greet me as we pulled up to the curb on Seward Avenue. The hill on the side of our building was the one every kid used for sledding after a heavy snow. The grass was mobbed with kids riding sleds, building snowmen, and enjoying nonstop snowball fights. The end of the sled path from the top of the hill was right outside our apartment window, and kids from other buildings came to ride on our hill. It was good to be home.
I was being prompted by Gumby to take the sled he was holding and take a ride down the hill. I looked at Dad for the okay, and he nodded his head with a yes, but added, “Be careful of your eye.” As I was on the top of the hill down on my knees ready to push off down the hill, my brother, Billy, asked if he could ride on top of me on the way down. His request was not some new idea that he had come up with. Kids were always catching a ride downhill on someone’s back, but what occurred next, I believe, was a record setter in our neighborhood sledding adventures.
After Billy hopped on my back and we pushed off, Gumby screaming with laughter ran and jumped on top of Billy. Tommy T. with his Tarzan scream jumped on top of Gumby. Brian, hollering a pile-on scream, jumped on top of Tommy. Then Robbie joined in and jumped on top of Brian. There we were—a stack of six pancakes with me on the bottom of the pile being squeezed to death while everyone was laughing and hollering in sequence.
As the balancing act continued picking up more speed, we traveled down the hill, and with all the pressure on top of me, I couldn’t steer the sled any longer; my only concern was being able to breathe. Kids were screaming as they jumped out of our path. We were headed straight ahead like a runaway freight train into a snow bank at the bottom of the hill. BAM! As we slammed into the snow bank, bodies went flying everywhere with screams of wild laughter, and the groaning was louder than before.
As everyone was getting up covered in snow from head to toe, Gumby looked at me and let out a loud screeching sound “YIKES!” The patch which covered my eye flew off after crashing into the snow bank, and I was now exposed for the hideous one-eyed monster I had pictured myself to be back in the hospital bathroom mirror. I took off running with an apprehensive trail of onlookers, following right behind me into my apartment. Dad patched me back up in no time, and I was as good as new.