09 May 2006

Memory Lane ... A Day Late and A Dollar Short

My BrickFriend blew new life into his old tradition yesterday with a post about memories from his kindergarten year. That was intriguing because I only have one memory from kindergarten. It is of being hit by a car. So ... here's that story. I'll tell it now because we (in our blog circle) are all breathlessly (and I use that word purposefully) awaiting word of the AwakeChildren's entrance into the world.

We lived in the outskirts of Topeka, Kansas when I was in kindergarten. Or it might have been Manahattan. In any case, my dad worked for the Menninger Foundation and we lived in a house at the top one of the few hills in Kansas. It also happened to be outside of the school bus routes in 1966. So in order to save money, time and resources for one little kindergartner going a half day, it was decided that the janitor would pick me up in the morning and the principal would bring me home at lunch time. This worked very well all year long.

Sometimes my mother would be out shopping and would stop in to pick me up. She called ahead of time and would let the school know and then I'd wait for her in the office. I remember that the janitor had an old black dusty truck. I think the interior might have been red. The principal had a newer green truck and the interior was tan.

That year on the first Saturday in May I turned 6. I had a party. My best friend, Ryan Peake and his little brother Darren, brought gifts with pennies taped to the top. That's all I remember about the party or turning 6.

On Monday I went to school as usual with the janitor. When it came time to go home, I started out with the principal. But my mother had apparently been out shopping, and she and the principal saw each other on the road. So they stopped. Here is what I remember. I got out of the truck. I walked down into the little ditch next to the road. I walked behind the truck and out into the road. I don't remember anything else until I woke up in the hospital in an oxygen tent covered with Raggedy Anns and Andys. My mother saw the whole thing. I was hit by a 1967 midnight blue Mustang. My head hit the hood, then I hit the pavement. I was dragged for about 60 feet under the car. My right femur was broken, both collar bones, a rib, I bit off the end of my tongue and lots of abrasions. It's pretty likely that I have my seizure disorder as a result of this accident. But since my parents didn't know to ask for an EEG at the time, we'll never really know for sure.

I spent about four and a half weeks in the hospital in traction. The guy who hit me (he was 18 at the time) brought me a Skipper doll. I was thrilled. It had "life like arms and legs." This meant the plastic was sort of rubbery instead of hard plastic. I also got to watch TV in the hospital and order my own food. Still, it got pretty boring after a while. My face was pretty much one big abrasion and my mother said that the first place to heal was the track of my tears. I still have scars on my knees and one on my right hand that I use to tell my left from my right.

When they released me from the hospital, they were worried that I might have a growth spurt so they didn't put a cast on the leg. Two days later I fell on the 18" of concrete that we had on our property and rebroke it! So back to the hospital for a cast. By this time, we were in the middle of tornado season in Kansas. One day we had to go to the basement for a long time while there was a tornado watch. All I had was a blue crayon. So I colored the cast blue.

The very best thing about it all, was that my parents rented a television so that I would have something to do while I was recuperating. I got to watch The Lone Ranger and The Three Stooges. My brothers and I used to play the Three Stooges. I was always Moe. We didn't get a television after that until I was eleven.

A couple of months after that we moved back east.


Blogger Schuyler said...

Ugh. My head is spinning thinking about a 6 year old you getting hit by a car. I'm glad it didn't kill you.

5/09/2006 05:22:00 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

Oh you're poor mother! I think if I had witnessed that happening to my child... well, I don't think my sanity would have survived. And of course, poor you! How awful that must have been. How fast was that kid going? I'm glad he got you a Skipper doll, but gesh, it should have been gold plated!

It's funny, but you don't really say what happened to the kid. however, I got the feeling from your post, that nothing too much did happen to him. I wonder how that compares to the concequeses these days.

5/09/2006 05:29:00 PM  
Blogger aBhantiarna Solas said...

It's funny, but I don't really know what happened to him. The accident really wasn't his fault. He couldn't/didn't see me until it was too late because I walked behind the truck and didn't "Stop ... Look ... Listen" before I crossed the road. I was and still am, quite impulsive.

I do know that my parents were sort of forced to sue the school system to pay for my medical expenses because of the transportation issues. When I was 8 or 9, my mother and I flew back to Kansas to testify at the trial. I remember that I read the story of Elsa the Lioness during the trial. I was a witness, but all I was asked was for my identity and my age at the time of the accident. It was very anticlimatic. I was awarded a small sum plus the payment of my expenses ... which was all my parents wanted anyway.

5/09/2006 05:41:00 PM  
Blogger aBhantiarna Solas said...

Oh yeah ... and I don't know how my mother survived that. One thing she remembers is that the principal wouldn't let her touch me because he knew that there was a possibility of a spinal cord injury. She said the worst thing was not being able to pick me up. She also said that I was concious the whole time until I got to the hospital and they put me under to set the leg, etc. But I don't remember any of that. My brothers also saw the whole thing, and they don't remember anything either.

You can imagine my parents' shock and dismay when LightHusband bought me a 1967 midnight blue Mustang for Christmas in 1989!! He knew the story, but not the color or the year until after he bought the car. Oops!! I didn't know either.

5/09/2006 05:47:00 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

Oh what a conicedence! I'm sure your parents were more than "shocked and dismayed." I'd have been damn near hysterical!

5/10/2006 03:42:00 AM  
Blogger kate said...

Wow, Sonja. What a wild story. You were dragged... Somehow, that strikes me as more horrifying than being hit, even.
There's something almost romantic about things happening in Kansas. Maybe because it's such a clean slate, in terms of (in my imagination) nothing there. Not that a child getting badly inuured is romantic in any way... I'm just blabbering on, as usual.

5/10/2006 11:02:00 AM  
Blogger Schuyler said...

I was going to say that I can totally picture what happened down to the details of the state of the car (I would bet that he was braking hard) but then I went to a session at the SAE Government-Industry Meeting on Pedestrian Safety this morning and learned that femur fractures don't really happen in accidents with passenger cars, so never mind.

5/10/2006 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

Quote: I would bet that he was braking hard) but then I went to a session at the SAE Government-Industry Meeting on Pedestrian Safety this morning and learned that femur fractures don't really happen in accidents with passenger cars, so never mind

Oh, don't you just love all that text book stuff. If I had a penny for everytime I've discovered what I learned in training was wrong... I wouldn't need to work nor go to the stupid training thingies.

5/10/2006 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger aBhantiarna Solas said...

Well ... remember ... I was 6 and it may be that automobiles and safety have changed just a little in 39 years. The car bumper hit me right at mid-thigh ... so it's entirely plausible that it caused the break ... when you consider that the bumper on a 1967 Mustang was all metal and came to a rounded point. There was a lot of force behind it. Today's cars wouldn't cause a femur (especially an adult femur) to break ... but back then it was a different story.

5/10/2006 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

Oh man, I really wanted to turn my nose up at industry training programs ;-)

5/10/2006 01:52:00 PM  

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