It was a couple of week's before Halloween, and it was tradition for the seniors to have a spook house at the Halloween dance. So we (the seniors) began doing just that. I decided to be the bodyless girl. We used the old gym which was petitioned off by a wall going to the new gym. The new gym was where the dance would be, and the old gym was going to be the spook house. With a lot of thick dark trash bag looking things we made little rooms in there. We set up to do a lot of spookie things! Besides lots of help we had strobe lights, black lights, and lots of props. It was coming together nicely. We had a day where we went through a dry run to see how it would all work out. I sat in a chair with no arms which immediately made me nervous because of my balance. But stubborn me wanted to do this so bad that I would fight it. I probably could have asked for a chair with arms, but oh well. They then put a box with a circle piece cut out for the head over my head. Later they would put a sheet that was bloodied and an axe (not real) stuck in the box. They gave me a water gun so that as people went by I would yell, "My body where's my body and screaming" all while squirting the water gun through the head hole. I was so excited!
At school we celebrated Halloween on the Thursday before the actual day. The day started off well. The seniors had a Halloween costume contest in the morning. A lot of the seniors dressed up. I was at a racecar driver. My brother drove a Modified Odyssey (small race car) for several years. I borrowed his racing suit and helmet. If I remember correctly one of the gals dressed up as the Energizer bunny with a pink suit on and a really big drum. She won!! Everyone who dressed up and wanted to could get together and go to different classes parade around, and let the underclassmen see what you were wearing. I wanted to do it, but knew I would be wore out really quickly. They compromised to let me do a couple of classrooms with them, and then I would return back to my class. It was time to get ready for lunch. The majority of the time I would go to lunch with Tonya. We were in the same class right before lunch so the teacher would let her go get her car, and park it in the faculty parking lot for it was a closer. She would get me and we would try to leave as quickly as we could to beat the rush, and to be first in line to get our lunch that day. I got in her car and off we went. As she was leaving I was putting on my seatbelt. We were discussing where we wanted to go when she pulled out of the parking lot, and all of the sudden there was a loud noise. I hit my jaw on the dashboard pretty hard. At that moment it was like there was no sound coming from anywhere. I did not realize that the passenger front side (my side) was hit, and that the window had shattered till then. I put my hand to my face, and realized that there was blood. I did not feel deep cuts. I spoke and asked Tonya if she was okay. The first thing out of her mouth was, "My poor car!” O NO SHE DIDN’T!! not “I am okay are you okay?" This was her next question, that’s what I thought. She went into the office at school and told them what had happened, and that we were okay, and to call our parent's. My dad did not work very far from the school so he was there quickly and as was Tonya's dad. They had gotten me some wet napkins to see about the cuts on my face. It was nothing major. but would leave scrapes on my face. Because of the jaw my dad took me to the emergency room. My jaw was popping in and out of place, but did not hurt. So they did not do anything about that. They were concerned about the scraping on my face. There was even glass in the pocket of my leather jacket. It had been a while since I had a tetanus shot so they wanted to do that. Needles have always made me nervous even though I had gotten used to them. I saw a cute male ER nurse walking by the room and I told them I would do the shot with no problems if they would get that cute male nurse to hold my hand during the shot! They all laughed, but that is exactly what happened!! I knew what I was doing, LOL! We left the ER, and I went home. Tonya’s car was towed. She got the ticket for the accident but it was noone’s fault. There was a blindspot and she never saw the car coming. To this day my jaw still pops in and out. It gets stuck open sometimes especially when I yawn big. I just have to relax and massage my jaw to pop it back in. It still does not hurt. It could have been worse. It does not end there!
There was no way I was going to miss being at this spook house that evening. I had several phone calls from people inquiring of how I was doing, and that they did not expect me to be there. I told them they were out of their minds, because I was going to be there. I told them I was not hurt, and was ready to scare some folks! This was the first time taking my wheelchair to a school function. That was a big step for me. Everything was going to be in the gym, and that was wheelchair accessible without steps and only one floor. Nobody seemed to look at me differently being in it like I assumed. I arrived early so I could get my face painted. They worked around the side of my cheek with the scrapes to not get make up in those places. In order to get into this spook house it was a maze and you had to crawl on your hands and knees to get in. It was a little tricky for me, but I had help. When you left the spook house it was the same way. I sat in the chair with no arms and held on to the sides so I would not fall over. They put the box with a bloodied sheet and fake axe over my head. This also made me feel a little uneasy. They handed me the water gun, and left the room. I was by myself in the room, and waiting for the first victim! I could hear everyone else getting ready. We had a mad doctor next to me who was pretending to do surgery on someone. They put cooked spaghetti noodles on their stomach like it was their intestines. The other room next to me was a coffin, and a person who would jump out and scare you. We had a girl somehow hanging from a rope like she was hung. As everyone got in place they turned the lights off, put on the strobe lights and block lights. As those of you are aware people with the Ataxia do not have good night vision. All the other lights made me feel kind of dizzy. I stuck it out though, and I was gripping that chair like there was no tomorrow. When my first victim came I started screaming and yelling for my body, and the closer they got I hit them with some water from the water gun! They then took off. It was hard for me to try to balance myself and shoot the gun, so I dropped it on the floor and did not use it any more. After a little bit Bubba came over to tell me it was time for a break. I told him that I was going to need some help out of here. He said that he would tell the others and be back for me. Everyone left and all of the light's went off. I expected to see Bubba at any given moment... in just a second… at any time! I am getting very nervous with my balance in this chair for it is pitch black now. I cannot holler loud enough because the music for the dance next door is way too loud. Where was he? I wondered if my mind was playing tricks on me thinking it had been longer than what I thought. I had heard about five songs at this time. I thought about trying to remove the box from for my head. But I thought about what that might do to my balance to let go of the chair. What if I didn't get the box away from me, and it ended up that my whole body even my head is stuck in the box? If someone came they would have a hard time hearing me muffled in the box along with the dance music, and not see me so I would be in their forever!! I could hear and see two little kids running through the spook house. I told them to go get an adult, and let them know that Stephanie was in the spook house and needed help. They were being typical kids who probably didn’t even hear what I said , looking at me like I was crazy for not leaving. So they just continued running around in there. Finally, Bubba and a couple of other guys came to my rescue! Bubba just kept apologizing and telling me he was sorry. I found out later that as they were in the break room enjoying hot pizza one of the guys saw my wheelchair, and noticed me not in it. In asking where I was Bubba raised up, and said oh crap! Several guys darted to get me. What a nice way to end this story!!
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