Here is where the good Lord comes in big time, it was on a Saturday July 18th 1964 at 7:45am and I was heading for work down NE. Third when I came to the traffic lights at Third and Buchanan I started timing the lights in other words catching them as soon as they turned green. When I got to the intersection at NE. Third and Taylor it turned green and I started across I looked to my right and saw a truck that was not going to stop, he hit me on the passenger side we did not have seat belts back then and I guess it was a good thing for I was thrown thru the cloth top out to the pavement the car and the truck scooped me up and we landed up against a house on the South West corner of the intersection and the car and the truck was on top of me. The reason that this was a good thing the car was twisted almost in half and the wooden covered dash was splintered in toward the driver’s seat, also they did not have air bags in those days.
I remember that I was having trouble breathing, some men who work at Plains Creamery came running across to where we were one of them dug some dirt out from under me letting me drop down a little and I started breathing better. I remember filling for my legs and I could feel that they were there, and I turned my head to the left and I could see that it was about five or six inches from a cement step going up to the house that had
stopped us. Looking at the picture on the right you can see that the back bumper is right over my chest. The other picture is one my dad took at the Police accedent hold yard.
I guess I kept going in out of consciousness I remember some one starting the truck and felling the vibration all over my body. I did not know why they needed to start the truck until later; it was because they had to build up air to release the brakes on the tractor. They had to use two wreckers to lift and move the tractor and trailer off of the car. Then they could lift the car off of me and take me to the hospital. I remember when we left the scene of the accident and I could feel the ambulance heading down the road thin I passed out and did not come to for several days.
I felt sorry for mom and dad, Richard called my house and told mom that I was not at work and was wondering if I had over slept, mom told him that I had already left for work and that I should already be there. Mom called dad at work which by the way was at Plains Creamery, and told him she was concerned about me because I had not made it to work. When dad went to his car he saw the wreck there on the corner but did not recognize the car, he got in his car and headed toward home hoping to find that I might have run out of gas and was walking toward work. He got all the way home and did not see me so he headed back toward my work, when he reached Plains Creamery and started across the intersection that is when he recognized that it was my car in the wreck, but by that time I was already heading for the hospital. He went over where everyone was at and they told him I was alive and that they were taking me to the North West Texas Hospital, (Which then it was located down on Sixth Street). I was out for three days and when I came to I was in a room with my leg in traction there was a metal pin through my leg and that was what the traction was fastened to it, and also a metal rod the full length of my femur bone to help the compound break to heal, Both ankles had half cast on them for both were broken and the skin had been rubbed off so they had to take some skin of my thighs and graft it to my ankles.
Mom and dad along with several other relatives were their waiting for me to come too, and I remember the scarred look on moms face but she was so happy to see my eyes come open. I asked mom how bad was it and I was told that I had eleven broken bones and a punctured lung. She told me I was lucky to be alive and at first the doctors had told them that I probably would not live, and if I did I probably would not be able to walk.
One day I was sleeping and woke up with this terrible pain from the traction pulling on my leg, my right foot had fallen over the edge of the bed, I was hollering for help I did not have the strength to get it back up on the bed, luckily my Aunt Selma was standing right out side the room and heard me, she came running in and lifted my leg back into the bed. She talked with me and let me know that her and a lot of other people were praying for me and had been ever since the wreck.
I had not had a cigarette for several weeks and really did not miss them until I got a room-mate that smoked, he would light one up and it would smell so good so one day I asked if I could have one and bam the first drag of the cigarette I was hooked again.
Richard came to see me and brought Charlotte with him, when she walked into the room I could not keep my eyes off of her, mom ran over to the bed and covered me up I guess the covers weren’t covering every thing. We talked for a while and I told her that I had missed her and I thank I told her that I was stupid for acting so childish that night when I sped away from her house.
I was in traction for six weeks and in the hospital for two months. When I went home I was in a wheel chair, I remember getting into a car for the first time and mom drove me home, it was so scary that car seemed so big and every thing seemed so close. I was told that I need to get some sun on my legs so I would lie in the floor by the front door to get the sun to hit me. Mom would take me to rehab at the new hospital High Plains Baptist on the out skirts of town.
Even though I was in the wheel chair Richard let me come back to work at the parking garage, I could punch the tickets for the customers and take their money. I remember how nice every one was and they would push me around down town, and to the bath room when needed. I started getting purity good handling my chair I could do wheel stands and all kinds of goofy stuff which I am sure could have hurt me again.
After about six weeks in the chair and doing the rehab I graduated to crutches, it took me a little bit to get use to them but at least it did give me a little bit more freedom. I found out from Richard that Charlotte was home from college for Christmas, I got up the nerve to call her for a date, Praise the Lord she said yes. You know it is funny I can not remember when I got to start driving a car but I do remember going to pick her up at her house on Buchanan, walking up those stairs on her front porch trying to balance on crutches and she met me at the door. We dated every night until she had to go back to Albuquerque to school. By the time she came back home for the summer in May I was off of my crutches and what I consider in Good health.
We were dating hot and heavy every night and most of the weekend. I kept asking her to marry me and she kept putting it off, till one day in June she called me at work and asked me if I was serious about getting married of course I said yes, ever since thin I tease her that she asked me to marry her. We first said we would wait four years then by August 22nd we got married.
- My First New Car (harbin77.wordpress.com)