We’d been at Olivet Church all afternoon practicing for the Christmas program.
Then we drove to the home of Ethel and Alec Scheurer for our annual
get-together a week before Christmas. Herschel and Marjorie Scheurer were
about our ages, so my brother and I really looked forward to this celebration.
Their brother, John Jay, was younger.
We ate Christmas dinner, visited and sang carols until after 11 p.m. It was a
cold, calm night and as we were driving home on Range Line gravel road, the
Model T car sputtered as if it weren’t getting enough gas. Dad leaned far over
to the right to reach the end of a rod that led to the carburetor. Wham! Bang!
Our two-seated Ford touring car had crashed and turned upside down in the
roadside ditch. Mom was badly hurt and bleeding profusely. Dad shouted, “Jim,
go get Alec and the buggy.” Jim took off running fast.
In the darkness, it was difficult to determine the extent of Mom’s injuries.
Dad sat on the ground, comforting her and gently pressing something over her
face to control the bleeding~. I recall that I wept but stifled the urge to
bawl out loud. I had never seen anyone injured like this. Jim and Dad, who
were in the front seat, were shaken up but not hurt, and my problem began
about an hour later.
It was more than a quarter of a mile back to Scheurer’s, and they didn’t own a
car. Alec hurriedly bundled up, lit a coal oil lantern, harnessed the horse
and hitched it to the buggy. It seemed as if we waited for hours, but finally
we heard the clop-clopping of the horse’s hooves and the crunch of buggy
wheels on gravel. Help had come! Herschel and Marjorie ran along behind the
The lantern light revealed that the bleeding had stopped and my mother had the
most horrible-looking bloody face I had seen in all of my 10 years! Dad and
Alec helped Mom into the buggy, and she leaned on Alec as he drove slowly on
the bumpy gravel road. Dad and us four kids walked behind. My back was aching
and I couldn’t keep up with the others as they followed the buggy. Soon I had
to walk bending forward to ease the pain, and Marjorie walked along with me.
Ethel sponged Mom’s face and put her to bed. We all stayed two nights. The men
studied the wrecked car and determined that the crash was caused by a bent
radius rod. Dad had lost control when he reached to adjust the gas. The right
front wheel dropped into a washed-out place in the road, bending the radius
rod and causing the crash. The wooden bow that held the canvas top in place
splintered and poked Mom in the face in two places. One laceration was in her
forehead above her eye and the other was inside the eye socket. The latter one
could have completely destroyed her eye.
Swelling, bruising and lacerations: What a sight she was the next day! She
treated her wounds with Tincture of iodine, a yellow liquid that stung a lot,
smelled bad and was an old standby to promote healing and prevent infection.
In spite of the fact that the swelling and bruises still distorted her face a
week later, Mom played for the Christmas program as planned. I was well by
What did the ~~doctor do for Mom? Nothing! Iodine healed her, but the forehead
scar lasted for her lifetime.
People didn’t go to the doctor much when I was a kid.