The polar bear club

I don’t like thinking about the past very much. For one thing, I did some very ditzy things when I was younger.  My father tried to “run a tight ship” as he put it, but, I managed to get into mischief of one kind or another, and often, unlike my perfect sister Michelle who obeyed my parents most of the time. Her only lapses occurred when I was saddled with “looking after your sister.”

Fiesti and me on the whirligig dad made from a tree sump and a big board.

Fiesti and me on the whirligig dad made from a tree sump and a big board.

When Michelle got into trouble, my parents blamed me…always. Like the time she fell in the creek on the way to school.  When she got back to the house with blood streaming down her leg, Mom immediately assumed it was my fault.  I told her Michelle fell because she was a clod at hopping across the stream on the rocks that allowed the more nimble kid to cross. After that escapade, we had to take the long way to school, the full three-mile walk, no matter what the weather. No more cutting across the golf course, through the woods, behind the factories, or through the field with the raging bull, Mom said.

My parents always knew their perfect child did not dream up trouble. I was the older sister.  I was supposed to set an example for Michelle and my younger brother.

                                                                  —000—

After I became a teen I continued to do stupid things.  I remembered one of them this morning when our pool was freezing cold.  BJ said the cold went right into her replacement joints and I thought I cold feel it in my new hip too.  Carol said “It’s like we’ve joined the Polar Bear club or something.” Turning toward me, she said, “Have you ever done that…taken a polar bear plunge?”  Oh sure I lied, having been in cold water at age 15, but never for charity.

One winter evening, I was on a double date with my friends Helen and Roger, and some guy they brought along for me.  Roger drove his car out to the City Lake, mainly for the purpose of drinking beer and ‘necking’ with Helen. The area was deserted and the police did not patrol there, so it was quiet.  I got bored sitting in the back seat with a guy I didn’t know and whose name I can’t remember, and began to complain about “just sitting around.” Roger said, “Why don’t you go jump in the lake.”  So I did.  What a shock.  It was the coldest cold I ever experienced.  After they fished me out (both boys felt they had to jump in for some reason), Roger drove us to the Milky Way drive-in, where I began to shake and vomit. I learned later I was suffering from hypothermia. My parents never found out. I never told them, and I never went anywhere again with Helen and Roger. And I still hate cold water.

20 thoughts on “The polar bear club

  1. Wow! You were a LOT of fun, Dianne! You actually jumped in the lake???!!!! You must have been REALLY bored. As for the railroad track, my girlfriend Peggy has told me the horrible story of her favorite older brother who was hit by a train when they were kids. It really does happen. Your parents must have had lots of gray hairs from you. I got mine from my son.

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  2. It is amazing we all survived our childhood antics! I have never done the polar bear thing. Hub wanted to do it New Year’s Day, but I said definitely not. I did not want him to have a heart attack.

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  3. I had such boring growing up years compared to yours Diane. Being a policeman’s daughter you’d think I’d have rebelled a bit.but I was constantly told I have to set a good example because of my father’s position in the community. Everybody knew me, it was a small town and I was scared to death of putting a foot wrong. I do remember feeling tired when walking home from school one day. My friend had a bicycle and we only rode double for a little while.. Next thing I knew the old police car came by with its lights flashing behind us. We both got a rollicking for doing something dangerous and the scary thing for me was that I knew both those policemen and they knew I knew. They were my dad’s good friends on the force. If anything was said my Dad didn’t do anything about it, and as exhausted as I would feel from there on, I never once was tempted to ride double again on my friend’s cycle.

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  4. What drama! I relate to your ditzy moments and recall skipping Sunday School and taking a younger friend to the woods – totally forbidden, and thereby totally compelling. She was only about 5 and I was around 8. Not my finest hour. Blessings from Dalamory. http://www.freda.org.uk

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  5. Lol. I can totally relate to you. Although I did not cause as much trouble as you, I had my fair share. Looking back, I laugh at the times I was good and still took the brunt of the punishments. Oh well there is nothing I can do about it now.

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