Friday, February 20, 2009

Traumatizing Stories

Does anyone remember those blue books of stories found in doctor's offices? There is one story in particular that traumatized me as a child so I was doing a little searching on the internet to see if I could find it (morbid curiosity I guess). I did find that some others remembered it and were as traumatized as I and that it was from a series of books called Uncle Arthur's Bedtime Stories.

So the story goes (or how I remember it anyway), there is a boy in the hospital for a tonsillectomy and next to him is a boy who was in a horrible car accident and who knows he's going to die and is scared. The Tonsil boy befriends him and they decide that Car Accident boy should prop his arm up to show Jesus he's ready to go "home" (because apparently Jesus wanders hospital corridors at night looking for this universal sign).

Tonsil boy helps Car Accident boy prop his arm up with pillows and the next morning finds him "gone" with a beautiful smile on his face.

I read this in a waiting room when I was probably 8 or 9ish, because I remember reading it by myself and then being scared to death that I might accidentally sleep with my arm up and Jesus would take me away by mistake. That story haunted me for a long time (and made for a series of long nights in uncomfortable sleeping positions to prevent my arm from popping up unintentionally).

The other story that has traumatized me, but this time as an adult, was Love You Forever. The one where the woman cradles who newborn son and rocks him, and you see the years pass until the son is holding his frail old mom as she nears death. Hoo-boy! Now that's a great children's book (I realize it's a beautiful story and all, it's just WAY too sentimental and tear-jerking for my comfort level).

The first time I read it I was volunteering in the kindergarten class and reading books to a group of children. One of them plunked this gem in my lap and I unknowingly started reading. Well by the time I got near the end I was blubbering and trying desperately to get through it, but none of the kids seemed to notice, they just asked why I kept stopping. Lesson learned there. I've always steered clear of that book from then on.

So, has anyone else been traumatized by these stories? Were there any stories from childhood that really scared you?


Rose said...

I remember that story about the arm, now that you mention it! I don't remember it freaking me out but I could see how it could be scary. Just why are those stories in waiting rooms, anyway?

The second story I have only read recently after my husband brought it home, one of his friends at work thought our daughter would like it. The thing that is creepy is how the mom sneaks in his room, but it is a touching story. I agree that it is really not a children's book though! When I saw the cover I thought it was a potty training book! (there is a picture of a baby next to a toilet playing with the roll)

I don't remember any stories specifically at the moment that were scary. I'm sure there were some, since I have a very active imagination! Maybe it's blocked for a reason.....

LisAway said...

Evie was reading Love You Forever just today! I've always thought that story was a little weird. But I've cried reading it, too. Definitely kind of strange for small children. . .

Holly (2 Kids and Tired) said...

I remember the story about the boy who propped up his arm. I don't know that I was traumatized, but that story always stuck with me. Wasn't there also one about a fire and a man goes in to rescue the children and when he comes out, he realizes he's holding his own children who had been there?

I avoid Love You Forever simply because it makes me bawl like a baby.

Emy5 said...

That first story is scary!

The second, I have read lots of times. I was given the book as a gift. It is kind of repetitive, which makes it sound like a simple kids book, but it is far from that!

John Thornburg said...

I know this is an old post but I am writing something in my blog about the exact same thing! I was scared to fall asleep with my arm up for years thinking that Jesus would mistake the signal and kill me. I read it in a doctor's office too. I always thought I was the only one scared from this book.