This weeks’ prompt in the 52 Ancestors challenge is Lucky. While it is St. Patrick’s Day and the luck of the Irish brought me my first grandchild 16 short years ago today, after some thought I’ve decided to focus on the lucky day of April 16, 1967. Why this day? Because on that day my grandparents were in a serious car accident and although injured, they quite possibly were lucky to be alive at the end of that day.
I have so many memories of that fateful day; however, I am also lacking so many memories of that day.
I remember thinking that “old people” weren’t supposed to get into car accidents although now that I think about it, those probably are the people who got into car accidents. I don’t specifically remember my grandfather’s driving skills, but I do remember that Grandma wasn’t really a great driver. I’m not sure I’ll ever know exactly what happened with this car accident but I suspect that Grandpa was, at least, partially at fault because there is a memory stashed away of him feeling remorseful that Grandma was injured.
When I looked on Google Maps to see the location of the accident, I was surprised to see just how close the accident site was to the Community Hospital.
If I have my directions correct, Sig would have been traveling in the direction denoted by the red arrow, and Mr. Bare would have been traveling in the direction shown by the green arrow. And as I researched the Community Hospital, I learned it was originally the Burnett Sanitarium (both my parents were born there) and rebuilt at the current location in 1905.
The clear memory I have of this event was visiting my grandmother at home after the accident. At the age of 71 (the article stated she was 72 but this is an error) and with a severely broken leg (I seem to remember her knee cap was shattered), a large two story home would have been quite a challenge for her. Luckily, they had the means to have a hospital bed brought into the home and a nurse (full time, I imagine) to care for her. But where to put the bed? In the dining room, of course! While I don’t have a picture of the bed, I do have a picture of the dining room.
The dining room table and chairs must have been moved out (where did they put that?) and replaced with a hospital bed so Grandma could be home where she felt comfortable. When my dad was growing up, there was a live-in housekeeper so that bedroom, on the first floor, was the perfect place for a nurse to stay so she could be close by during the night if Grandma needed anything.
I don’t remember much else about the event – how long was she in the hospital, how long was her home recovery – but I do remember seeing quite a large scar on her leg after that. And, sadly, about 15 months later Grandpa was gone so whatever lingering affects she might have had, Grandma had to deal with those on her own.
So much of this involved luck – lucky to have survived, lucky to have the means to bring her home so that she was more comfortable, and lucky to not have too much difficulty with her injuries later in life. I’m so glad luck was with them!