By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Young, wild and free
Patty Leon new

Did you ever do crazy things when you were younger that makes you wonder how you ever made it to adulthood alive?

I was a bit of a thrill seeker, albeit not too drastic, but nonetheless, I did some things that make me wonder how I’ve lived this long and also wonder what the heck I was thinking.

Like that one time, while on a family vacation in the Florida Keys, I leaped off a high diving platform poised 33 feet above the pool. I was only around seven or eight years old when I made that jump on my brother’s dare. I practically gave my parents a heart attack, but I just hit the water feet first and started swimming, much to their relief. And after the fourth or fifth jump my parents were no longer concerned and in fact, egging me on!

Or the times my friends and I would jump over a high fence and walk across the 10-foot high, suspended drain pipe, so we could jump into the canal and cool off during hot Florida summers. And we would do this often.

Or the times when I lived in Kendall, Fla., and wanted to go to the Redlands and Homestead but it was too far to get their by bicycle (It was about 15 miles and I was still just a kid, maybe in my early to mid-teens). I would ride my bike to the railroad tracks by the canal, lock my bike to a tree in the woods and jump on an empty railcar. The train always slowed down as it went over the canal crossing giving me time to jump on board. I remember the first time I did this I freaked out because I had no clue if the train stopped or slowed down enough for me to jump off once it got to Homestead. Or what kind of trouble I would get into if they saw me riding on the train. As it turned out there was another canal crossing in Homestead about a block away from my destination, where I did jump off, safely. I also didn’t know what time the next train, going in the opposite direction, would appear for me to make it back home. So instead of going to my destination, I panicked and waited for the train home and jumped on it at the first chance I got.

By the time I got to my bike I was freaked out but also felt exhilarated and knew I would try it again. I studied the timings of the trains and on more than one occasion I went to Homestead via a train jump so I could visit my favorite curio shops and Coral Castle. It’s kind of cool thinking back on it now. I got to ride on Henry Flagler’s Florida East Coast Railway system without anyone catching on (Not even my parents knew about this. They would have killed me)!

I got away with this for quite a while. I think the only reason I stopped is because my older brother got his driver’s license and, at first, he would drive me to Homestead and drop me off while he ran around with hid friends. It was his way of getting my parents’ car, until he got his own vehicle.

Or that one time that I rode my bicycle down a steep slope on the side of the Interstate. I thought I was being pretty cool getting on my pink Huffy Girl’s Thunder BMX, bike. Those were the ones that looked like a mini motorcycle and had an awesome banana seat. I walked the bike up that steep slope, turned it around and jumped on the seat and DOWN I WENT!

Needless to say I only did that once for a variety of reasons but mostly because I wrecked the bike and had enough bumps, bruises and cuts on my arms and legs to remind me just how stupid that stunt was. There was no escaping my Dad’s wrath when I had to explain why the bicycle was destroyed and why I looked the way I did.

I did eventually get a new bicycle, but never attempted that trick again. The steepest slope I went down from then on was our driveway.

There is a saying that goes something like…if you are going to be dumb you better be tough. I guess I was one TOUGH YOUNG LADY, and man did I have a lot of stupid fun!


Sign up for our e-newsletters