After Words… This was supposed to be a short nutshell version about how I almost lost my right leg. I didn’t know how to make it fit the nutshell. Whether the writing was only therapeutic for me, or someone will read it that needs to read it, I extend no apologies for the length.
Several Spark Friends have requested the “Leg Story”. I thought I had blogged it before but can find only allusions here and there.
The Back Story
I graduated High School June 3, 1970. I couldn’t make up my mind between nursing school and beauty school, so I got my first job was making a little money, and enjoying life hanging out with my long-time friends.
There were three of us, me, Max, and Patty Lee. We did most everything together. Max had a cool convertible and we loved to just ride around looking for something fun to do. We spent most every weekend at a Roller Rink in a nearby town where there was also a pavilion with a juke box and dancing. There were also ponds stocked for fishing in the summer time.
Sunday, September 13, Max was supposed to pick us up to go to some boat races in a nearby town, but for some reason she didn’t show up. Pat and I were bored sitting around so I asked my Aunt to borrow her car, and after some stern admonitions from my Dad about driving rules and curfews we were off.
The Roller Rink and park were very busy and parking was scarce. I ended up having to park behind the building next to the stream. No big deal. Lots of friends parked there too. We had a nice time skating and dancing for a few hours then decided to go to a near- by sub shop for something to eat. This was allowed by my Daddy’s rules that were set before we left home.
The sub shop was dead. We had 2 hours to kill before curfew. (Although it took me years to piece together what actually happened that night, I have always very clearly remembered speaking these words). “Let’s go to Williamsport.”
This was NOT allowed by my Daddy’s rules. I knew it, she knew it, but neither of us was going to tattle. How would anyone find out as long as we were home on time?
Here’s the nutshell version.
I was an inexperienced driver, driving on an unfamiliar highway with my 15 year old BFF in the car with me. I don’t remember leaving the city. The accident happened about 20 miles away. The next thing I remember is waking up in a hospital room wondering why I can’t remember anything and thinking I must be dreaming. Every time I opened my eyes I would look at the room door to see if it was still there. If I saw the number on the door I was still dreaming, and I would go back to sleep. I later realized I didn’t want to wake up and find out the horrible tragedy was real.
These are the facts that were told to me when I finally regained consciousness.
While the car was parked beside the stream, a young man who was a friend put a garter snake in the car as a practical joke. I’m sure there was no malice intended but he didn’t think about what could happen. The theory is one of us saw the snake and I took my eyes off the road just as we were topping a hill on a sharp curve. I hit a stone bridge and plunged about 20 feet down an embankment. It took more than two hours to get us out of the car. I, the driver of the car was lying on the shelf at the back windshield with my head out through the back passenger window. Pat was on the floor under the steering wheel.
We were both still breathing, but our injuries were extensive. One of the Drs. Actually told my Mom to quit wringing her hankie and go home and accept the fact that if I lived I would be nothing more than a vegetable. (How cruel) but he was one of a team that saved my life.
Sadly Pat never regained consciousness.
I sometimes still hear her call my name in my sleep.
Now, nearly 41 years later, I still weep as I write this. It never leaves me. Not a day in my life goes by that I don’t think of it. The repercussions of that wrong choice are with me every day.
I feel it in my leg when it pains me and in my jaw when it dislocates.
I see it in the scars on my face and body, and hear it in my deaf right ear.
I don’t dwell on it. I’ve been forgiven by God and those people that matter, and I’ve forgiven myself, but the reminders will always be there.
Today is my day for sharing previous blogs. Here is a link to a blog with a profound video about seat belts.
This link is for a blog I wrote last fall that has a reference to Patty Lee.