I managed to break my right arm twice before I turned 10, and I was to blame both times.
We lived in Indianapolis in the late ’50’s, so I would have been around 3 at the time. Half of our basement was finished: It had some tall cabinets (about 8 feet) at one end, with a shorter (about 6 feet) cabinet in the middle, and the floor was finished in hexagonal tile. I used to climb up on the shorter cabinet and from there up to the top of one of the taller ones and stay up there for a while before climbing back down.
Now, before you ask: I don’t remember exactly how I was able to do this. When you’re 3 years old, you do a lot of things and can’t explain how (and more importantly, why) you did them. Anyway…
One day I was in the basement with one of the kids in the neighborhood, and we were climbing the cabinets. I got to the top first, and when he tried to get up on the cabinet himself, he knocked me off. (I’m sure it was an accident, though there’s an apocryphal story that I stood up there and declared "I’M SUPERMAN!" and my friend wanted to see if I could fly.) Anyway, I fell 8 feet, landed on my right arm and broke it. I spent a couple of months in a cast.
The second time, I was in first grade. Jim, Kip, and I were horsing around shortly before bed, which involved running around the apartment. We were told on several occasions not to run around the apartment, and of course we ignored it, because we were kids and thus very stupid. On one of the trips, I slipped on a throw rug and went down on my arm. Hard.
My parents were, of course, very angry with me, not only because I had disobeyed them and maimed myself in the process, but because they had better things to do than sit at the Emergency Room at St. Francis Hospital on a Tuesday night, which, as everybody knows, was when The Red Skelton Show was on TV.
I loike to think that was the reason my parents never had any more kids…