Friday, May 10, 2013

No stop sign; advance at your own risk

We lived on eighth south, a steep hill, and tenth east.  We were the second house from the corner.
For a good part of the fifties, there was no stop sign on either street.  Eighth south was busier and because it was a hill, cars came barreling down at high speeds.  Logic would have it that if you were coming from tenth east, you would look up the hill before venturing out.

No stop sign, no logic.

The best part of summer in those years were the car crashes.  You'd hear the screech of breaks and crush of steel and you ran to the corner to see the damage.  Often we kids were playing outside when collisions took place.  Like the time a car was hit turning the corner and a kid rolled out of the back seat.

Thrilling!

And the time a car was sideswiped and ended up with its front wheels in the ditch in front of Garrett's house.

Cool.

Sometimes cars would simply crash politely into each other and someone would climb out of their car with a bloody forehead.

Car crashes were a blood sport.  I never tired of it.

Until I was fifteen, and that was after the city posted a stop sign at tenth east.  A man came to our house and said he had hit a pedestrian.  It was early evening when the setting sun blinded drivers coming down the eighth south hill.  My father looked out and saw fresh doughnuts spread across the street.  He walked with the man straight out in front of our house where the Ford was parked.  Behind the Ford, lay our neighbor from around the corner, Mrs. Keddington.  She had been hit at the corner and knocked two houses down.

"I think she's dead," my father said, when he came into the house to call the police.

I sat on the porch while the police gathered, lights flashing, as the sky darkened.  Only once did I get up to stand next to the ditch.  The emergency workers moved Mrs. Keddington's body to a gurney and I saw her foot fall off her leg.  I went back to the porch.

I haven't been interested much in car accidents since then.



4 comments:

  1. Chapter One of your next novel.

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  2. Holy Cow! Meet Joe Black all over again.

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  3. I loved this story Louise with your confession of watching accidents to "the incident" and how this transformed you. I never tire of reading what twist you put on life.

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