all I want for Christmas is my two front teeth

I just got new front teeth. Well temporaries anyway. New teeth will come on December 23rd. My front teeth actually have a history. When I was 12, I was riding my bicycle, and well, klutz that I have always been, I braked really fast, and threw myself over the handlebars and bit the ground, breaking the teeth. Which in 1961 meant I had to have the dreaded root canal done on them. Since we were in the army, my dentist was the same dentist that dealt with GI’s, and that should give you an idea about his demeanor towards children, and chair side manner. Needless to say, it was traumatic and painful, and resulted in two large front teeth that had a overbite, which in turn meant I could never have conventional braces to straighten my teeth or fix the overbite. My mother, who did not suffer imperfections lightly, took me to a German dentist who made a contraption for me to wear that in essence brought the jaw forward to compensate for the severe overbite that I had. So now of course I have the jaw of a snake, and it pops out every once in awhile, and is a recipient of TMJ, but I digress……

Fast forward to 2009. I am visiting Chicago with a dear friend over the week in November that has the elections in it, as well as Teacher’s Convention. Good little teacher that I was, I always did something directly related to my art teaching job at the beginning of the week, and then came home in time to actually teach classes at the Convention at the end of the week. Chicago is full of great architecture, and has a world renown art museum. I had never visited Chicago, and neither had my retired history teacher friend. We mapped out our intentions for the three days, and set about accomplishing our goals. One of our anticipated visits was visiting Oak Park, Ill, and touring Frank Lloyd Wright’s studio, taking a walking tour of the houses in the area, then taking mass transit to the University of Chicago to see the Robbie House which is on Campus. The first part of the day went exactly as planned, until we got off the “L” as indicated by our guidebook to get to the University of Chicago. When we got off we both said “uh-oh, we ain’t in Kansas anymore, Dorothy”, when we realized that we were in a questionable area with about 1 mile to walk through to get to the University of Chicago. Not to worry, everyone was very friendly, although probably a bit perplexed to see two older women hustling along through their neighborhood at a good clip. As we are power walking and talking we see the University in the horizon and feel confident we would make the last tour of the Robbie House which was set for 3:00. Unfortunately what was seemingly 1 mile ended up being closer to 2, and the more we walked it didn’t seem the University was getting any closer. Finally at 2:45 we made the perimeter of the college. In an effort to get to the house, we pick up the pace, passing an emergency call box along the way. About 2 minutes from the museum, I trip on the sidewalk, and yup, you guessed it, fall on my teeth once again. Not only did I break a tooth, I broke my Frank Lloyd Wright marionette, Mon Dieu!! My friend looks at me, and I can tell from her face she is getting woosey because I know I am bleeding like a stuck pig. I take charge and tell her to go back to the emergency call box, tell them where we are, and come back. In the meantime, I make sure that I gush onto the sidewalk, and not on my clothes. In less than 20 minutes a female cop shows up, closely followed by a fire engine. Everyone is concerned that I was just mugged (see, our concerns about the neighborhood were not without warrant). After I explain that I am a klutz, and that we were running to make an appointment, they wanted to take me to the hospital. I quickly said that I didn’t want to go because it wouldn’t be in the same neighborhood as my hotel, and that would confuse everything, and that I thought I would be fine if I could just clean up and go back to the hotel. Now here’s the weird part. The paramedics gave me wet paper towels to clean myself up. I always thought that they did that, but nope, I administered to myself. The female cop asked if she could drive us to the nearest bus station, and of course we said yes. While in the car she wanted to know if I wanted to pass O’Bama’s house, and I said I preferred just to go back to the hotel to help stem the bleeding. I eventually got back to the hotel, froze my extra chamomile tea bags that I carry with me, and used them to keep the swelling down. And, the next day, our touring continued, fat lip, and broken tooth be damned!

Of course when I did get home, I had to teach my puppetry classes at the convention with a fat lip and broken tooth. And by the time I got to the doctor and dentist there was a little infection, because as the doctor said “they don’t keep the sidewalks that clean in Chicago”.

So I had to wait a year for the trauma to pass in my tooth and gums to get new teeth….so hence the picture of me with my new temporaries. Notice they are whiter than my yellowish teeth…the permanent ones will match my good old yellow ones. But that said, they are the most beautiful front teeth I have ever owned.

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