Thursday, January 13, 2011

Off The Map

Day 13 of my "write a new blog every day for a year" personal challenge.
I realize just how easy this is going to be to write a blog every single day. Because unlike other people, I have years worth of muckery to draw upon.
Today's episode of muckery deals with a story of when I was a little girl and went on a treasure hunt with my sisters. I don't know why, but for some reason this story was rolling around in my Greek noggin today so I just had to share it with you.
Let me set the stage....  I was 8 years old

Ava Aston 8-year old treasure seeker ready to take on the world
My family was living in upstate New York and owned a house that was rumored to be one that Al Capone used to hide out in when he was he was a teenager. He use to take advantage of a new opportunity to make money smuggling illegal alcoholic beverages back into New York City and his home town of Brooklyn during Prohibition.

Al Capone Mug Shot
The house was called The Antler Inn. I am unsure how true all of the stories were. As far as I know it could have just been something the silver-tongued realtor dreamt up to make the property seem more enticing. Whether or not they were true, I remember my Dad animatedly reliving each and every Al Capone story he told to anyone who ever visited our home.
The house was located on a six acre parcel that had a river running just outside the north side of the property line. Near the back edge of that property line, but still part of our property, was an old shed. The shed was built in the late 1800's. Inside the shed was a tunnel that went all the way to the river. One of the stories was that whenever the police would raid the house, Capone and his gang of thugs would grab their moonshine and run to the shed and escape through the tunnel.
I was just a little Greek girl. I did not know anything about who Al Capone was or what a gangster was. I do remember hearing lots of stories about "things" being buried on the property. I did find it odd that whenever my dad was telling the stories about "things" being buried on the property he always whispered the story.   Years later I found out why. He was told there was possibly dead bodies buried on the property. And to think my sisters and I were innocently thinking valuable treasures were buried on the property.
One day my 4 sisters and I went out looking for some buried treasures. We were off the map, it was just the 5 Aston girls and their wild Greek imaginations. We were thinking that maybe something was buried near the shed. So as my sisters were looking around I decided to look inside the shed. Now, we all had been in the shed a million times before and we never found any treasures, so I am not sure what was rolling around my little Greek noggin that day, but I remember I still searched inside the shed just in case.
While I was inside the shed my sister Niki started screaming saying she had found some buried treasure. So I started to run out of the shed to see what she had found, but on my way out I stepped on an old, long, rusty nail. It impaled my foot and went through the bottom of my sneaker, through my foot and out the top of the sneaker. I started screaming. I did not do well then and I do not do well now at the sight of blood. Especially my own blood - just sayin'. I was screaming, but I was not crying. I was tough even at 8 years of age.
I do remember getting a little woozy, but I was still more interested in seeing what buried treasure Niki had found. Turns out it was a pure silver Swan about the size of a coconut. We just knew it was buried treasure and was worth a lot of money.  My sisters wisely decided we needed to go tell Mom that I had a giant railroad spike through my foot (ok, it wasn't an actual rail road spike, but it might as well have been.)
I hobbled back to the house and showed our Mom the nail. Off to the emergency room we went. This by no means was the first or the last trip to the emergency room for me.  Let's just say I got to know Nurse Nancy and Dr. Patrick very well because I saw them so often.
So I was sedated, my foot was sedated and the rusty nail was removed.  My foot was cleaned, the wound was cleaned up, stitched up, bandaged and I was given a tetanus shot. When I woke up Dr. Patrick declared me good-to-go, so I was sent home navigating the way out of the emergency room on my very first pair of crutches.
As we got into the car I looked around and asked my mom, "where is my other sneaker?" She said they had to cut it off of me to get the nail out of my foot. Well... I started crying because I had just lost 1/2 of my very favorite pair of sneakers. The loss of that one sneaker had a profound impact on the rest of my life.
The rest as they say, is sneaker history.

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