Forest Hills, where I grew up, was famous for its tennis stadium but not for its forest or its hills. The closest we got to a hill was a natural rise and dip in the terrain something like a lump in mashed potatoes. We called it the Toilet Bowl, roughly the size and shape of a football field with a rise on three sides empting into a flat valley and an end zone that led straight into the Grand Central Parkway.
January would have prompted my mother to urge three sweaters under a hooded mackinaw, gloves and galoshes on me knowing as she did that drafts led to chills which meant the grippe at best, or pneumonia at worst or God-forbid-twice-as-bad, the dreaded double pneumonia.
So it was that I trudged off with my Flexible Flier to meet two friends at the Toilet Bowl. They were similarly weighted down. I suggested we take the slope on my sled in our version of a triple-decker sandwich. I was on the bottom with Frankie in the middle and Stanley on top.
Frankie was already obese at age twelve as I can testify to. Steering was like navigating through a vat of Russian dressing slobbered on what was my slice of rye bread.The flier wasn't flexible enough I misguided us smack into a bush …or was it the bush that came at us traveling around twenty miles an hour. I recall looking up at Stanley as he orbited overhead. Frankie never got air-borne but did get a souvenir splinter in his forehead. I came away with a mere bloody nose. Stanley nosed-dived into a cushion of snow.
None of us ended up on the Grand Central Parkway or if we did the past 65 years have been an after-life. Had I been run over by a truck I expect my three sweaters might have saved me but my mother would have killed me anyway.
After that I only went down into the Toilet Bowl on solo trips or metaphorically on some downhill days.