The Day I Almost Hanged Myself


My seventh grade teacher had this great idea for his students to reenact events out of history. Needless to say, I was ecstatic. My friends and I chose John Brown and the raid on Harper’s Ferry, and thus we began conspiring. We would go to a friend’s house, because she had horses. I’d bring the guns—toy ones. We fished out old clothes and cowboy hats from our closets and wrote the script. I would be John Brown. Then we had his fiance we might have added her for dramatic effect, I can’t remember. Then there was a few slaves, some Brown’s people, and the sheriff.

The day of filming had come. We were excited. We were the only ones who had the real thing. Real horses, real cowboy clothes, real action… Everyone else had construction paper cutouts and cardboard props. Decked out in leather chaps, a pistol in my dad’s leather holster, and a cowboy hat, I was ready to play the part. The film was rolling. We got on our horses and rode into town. We raided, the sheriff stopped us. After a nice shoot out with plastic water guns and a toy rifle, John Brown was caught.

They dragged me away to our makeshift hangmen’s gallows. We had it planned out perfect. My friend’s mom would video the top half of me while they tied the noose around my neck, my hands behind my back while I would stand on a five-gallon pail. Then, stop the film, take off the noose, put it around my waist, and then start filming the bottom of half. The sheriff would kick the pail out from under my feet and viola, our very own hanging. The viewers would see my feet kicking, and then go still. It was perfect! And in case something went wrong, we had others hold the rope, and they could release it from the tree. See, we had thought of everything.

Well, the reenactment went great until we got to the hanging part. While the mom was videotaping the noose getting placed around my neck, a friend was playing the part of Brown’s lovely fiance  She was crying—no wailing. She fell at my feet, protesting my innocent death and accidentally knocked the five-gallon pail out from under my feet. The noose did as it should. I grabbed the rope and held on tight. Unfortunately, the rope got stuck in the tree. They all scrabbled to free it, and I was saved. 🙂

Life is full of adventure, especially when we were kids. We all have stories, some good, some not so good, some we can look back and laugh. Do you have one you’d like to share? Please do!


2 thoughts on “The Day I Almost Hanged Myself

  1. James Mbewe says:

    I am glad you survived, I don’t know what I would do without you…wait a minute, that was before we were married…

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