I remember when I was 10 years old that I was jealous of my next-door neighbor who got to be in a gymnastic class. I loved watching the Summer Olympics and I was enthralled with the floor exercises. I wanted to jump and tumble and do somersaults and handsprings. I can’t begin to tell you how excited I was when Beverly said she would show me some moves. She suggested I start with something easy like cartwheels and headstands. It wasn’t long before I doing cartwheels all over the yard. Headstands were a little harder for me.
One Saturday morning I got up early to practice my headstands against the side of the house outside. I did it over and over again and I was feeling pretty good about myself. Saturdays were my favorite days. I would get up just before the sun came up, fix myself a bowl of Rice Krispies and 2 pieces of toast. Then I would take my little red step stool outside and sit in the grass, making a table of the stool and eating my breakfast without being bothered by my sister. I loved listening to the turtle doves, the sound of them cooing still today takes me back to my Saturday breakfast ritual. About the time I finished, my dad was beginning his weekend yard cleaning. So, I went to the other side of the house to continue practicing. As usual, my mother was standing looking out the window, watching every move I made. As long as I could remember she did this anytime my sister or I went out in the yard. I decided to do a headstand but this time not against the wall. I got the momentum going and up I went. My legs actually went straight up and I was doing it with no help. Then I lost my balance and my body fell backward but my head stayed straight. I had the worse pain in my neck as I stood up and that was the last thing I remembered. When I finally opened my eyes, my dad was holding a wet towel against my head. This was the first time I had ever fainted.
My mother had seen the whole thing from the window and had rushed outside yelling for my dad to help me. Once I got my bearings I was able to walk into the house. My dad had to make a trip to the hardware store so my mother insisted that it would be good for me to go with him. I have to admit it felt good to ride with the windows down and feel the air on my face. My dad wasn’t much of a talker so we rode in silence. I don’t recall what I was looking at but all of a sudden I heard tires squealing and brakes locking and I felt my dad’s arm fly out in front of me pushing me back into my seat. When I looked up I saw a vehicle directly in front of us, facing us and another one with a large dent in its side sitting on my dad’s side of the car. My dad got out and rushed around and got me out of the car and told me not to move. He ran to the car in front of us. The man inside had his head resting face down on the steering wheel. My dad lifted his head up and his forehead was cut badly from one side to the other. Blood was gushing out everywhere. I saw my dad take his shirt off and place it on the man’s head. The next thing I knew I opened my eyes and a man and women I didn’t know were holding a cup of water over my head, slowly dripping it on my head. I had fainted again! The couple didn’t let me look in the direction of the accident, they just kept telling me everything was alright. After a while my dad came and got me, thanking these kind people for caring for me. As he carried me to the car I remember a few very vivid sights, The first was we had not been involved in the accident. Apparently, my dad was able to brake quickly enough that we were not hit. Second, I saw that you could maybe place an adult size hand between our car and the one facing us. It stopped that short of us. Third, all the people who were in the accident were gone but their cars were there. And fourth, there was a head size hole in the window of the car in front of us. It is strange how those things have stuck with me all these years.
We never made it to the hardware store. My dad turned around and we went straight home. My mother and sister freaked when we got out of the car. My dad only had on a white A-shirt and it was stained red from the blood. He had left his overshirt at the scene of the accident. After everything calmed down I spent the rest of the day sitting quietly, reading a book. and being thankful that we were alive. I have fainted maybe 6 times total in my life. But I have never fainted twice in one day again!
I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.