The Jaw Breaker Caper
This is one of my earliest memories, much of it told to me years after the fact. How can a memory be told to anyone? This way, let me explain. When I was about 4 or 5, my oldest brother David was entrusted by our mother to walk me and our other brother Arnold, up to the store two houses away from our place. The little grocery store occupied the west end of the Thompson’s Tavern building which our Grandfather, “Pappy” had built. David had been given some coins to pay for 1-treat for each of us that we were to pick out for ourselves. David had been told to not allow us to buy what were known as “jaw-breakers”, which were considered to be dangerous to youngsters, since they were round, hard candy about the same diameter as a child’s windpipe. Well, we were all making our purchase decisions and brother David had long since forgotten mother’s admonition…no jaw-breakers. It was first thing I saw and I grabbed one and went to the counter where David produced the payment and away we went out the door, each with his own treat. We weren’t supposed to open them until we got back, also immediately forgotten. As we ran back home, I stuffed the jaw-breaker in my mouth and ran after my older brothers. Here’s where the memory got refreshed years later…the jaw-breaker got sucked right into my windpipe and I passed out in front of our yard. When David and Arnold got back, mom shrieked, “where’s Sammy”! David and Arnold had no idea, so mom ran out of the house, onto the walk and saw me lying face-down in the gravel outside the fence. When she got to me, I was blue in the face. She picked me up by my feet, held me upside down and pounded on my back until I ejected the jaw-breaker. I regained consciousness soon thereafter, where upon our mother spotted the offending jaw-breaker, grabbed it and threw it as far as she could, right through a pane of glass in Bergin’s greenhouse across the street (mom was a softball pitcher and a good one!). So, through the years, the full-story has been incrementally revealed to me, sometimes with variations or anecdotes and always with mirth and great frivolity, at least that’s my memory of it!
Sam R. Sampson 02.13.2018