New Drapes


In the mid 60’s I moved to Kenora and rented an older house for my family. High on the priority list was the purchase and hanging of the living room drapes. Starting a new job complicated my life so hanging drapes “was not very high on my “to do list”

Once the new drapes arrived the pressure on me increased, so one Saturday morning I took on the challenge.  After gathering my tools I realized that I would need a stepladder. The woman I rented the house from lived next door and had a teen age son who I was not impressed with.

A quick visit next door produced a new step ladder and a long proud dissertation from the teen ager who had just finished building the stepladder in shop class. It was a typical five foot stepladder, all freshly painted and it appeared strongly built.  I soon had it home and set up.

Anyone who had ever hung drapes knows that installing  the hardware is the hard part.  I was busy measuring and screwing the hardware in place when one of our new neighbors down the  block decided to come and visit. She and  my wife (1st marriage) sat talking in the kitchen and then decided to inspect the new drapes.  I was instructed to hold a section of the drapes high into proper place. To do so I sat on the top of the stepladder, holding the drapes in a perfect position.

What happened next was hard to follow. The ladder suddenly split in half, with one pair of legs going north and the other pair going south. I landed on my right side on my hip which hit the top step of the ladder, which was now lying on its side.  I was aware of a lot of noise and screaming and a sever pain in my hip.

As I crawled off the  debris and over to the couch I was almost certain my leg was fractured near the hip. I can remember someone asking me it if was hurt and if they should call an ambulance.  I kept saying, “just give me a moment to gather  my wits”

Eventually the worst of the pain subsided and I realized nothing was broken. I stayed on the couch for a couple of hours then managed to survey all the damage and figured out what had taken place. The hinge for the new ladder had been jury rigged out of some soft heavy wire rather than a commercial hinge. The feet of the ladder slid on the hardwood floor with the result the poor hinge simply pulled out of the holes and the ladder collapsed.

As I fell, the section of the drape I was holding hit the floor first and was under the ladder when it hit the floor, resulting in two large rips in the new faboric.

The south pair of legs skidded across the floor and struck a record player and sent it flying, before punching a hole in the living room sheetrock wall.

The north pair of legs went north across the room and sheered off a leg of a large TV.  The top of the TV was home to a number of china figurines which slid off and onto the floor. Before hitting the floor they bounced off my head which was in their path. The scene was strewn with smashed china, sheetrock, a TV leg and abused curtains. As I lay on the couch, waiting for the pain to subside, my wife stepped forward and said,

“I suppose this means you won’t be putting up the drapes today?”

3 thoughts on “New Drapes

  1. Loved this story….reminded me of the time I went up in the deer stand for Dick to cut a limb down…..brand new deer stand built by Dick. when I wasn’t able to cut the limb, he came up and the deer stand fell apart and we both fell down. Luckily he was there to splint and haul me back to the cabin in the jeep. I remember saying to him….”Just let me lay here while I think about what to do.” Those stories about people crawling out of the woods with broken legs are myths….I would have still been there “thinking about it.” I am still holding out for the ability to sue….thirty years ago!

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  2. Ouch and Ouch again. The shop class instructor was partially at fault. He should have been observant enough to tell the student, who probably knew nothing about carpentry, that the ladder needed a proper hinge.

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