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Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

I Was Hit by a Car, First!

Posted July 25, 2007



This is a follow-up to Tuesday's story about getting hit by an airplane.  This is actually a bit more detailed and serious.

I can still feel the cool, moist autumn air on my skin. I was about five years old. But I felt like a veteran warrior of the American frontier. On my head was a brand new Daniel Boone Coon Skin Cap- a gift from my father who had just returned from a business trip.

I was so excited about showing my new headgear to the older kids across the street. North Anderson Street. Morganton. Finally, I could impress them. Finally, I could be accepted as one of them. A cool kid in the neighborhood.

I had an agreement with my parents. No crossing that street without their escort. But today the adrenaline flowed like never before. I'm a big boy and I can conquer the world. No need for parental supervision. I'll just dart across that street and lay claim to the adoration of those arrogant older kids.

That's the last I remember until several hours later. A car driven my a Mr. Hudson plowed into me, The impact shattered his left headlight according to news reports. A young boy lay unconscious on the pavement.

The ambulance came and crews rushed me to Grace Hospital. While in intensive care my mother slipped away next door to Grace Episcopal Church to pray that I would be all right. In those innocent days of low crime the doors of Grace Church were open around the clock for people who might want a moment of private worship.

When my mother returned to the hospital her little boy was sore but awake and wondering what happened. Mr. Hudson was there with some toys that delighted me. I apologized for busting his headlight. I also apologized to my parents for disobeying them and nearly scaring them to death.

My mother gave thanks for that open door at Grace Church. In honor of her love and faith I wrote a song called "Open Door" and put it on the Bragh Adair album "The Hunt.".

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  • oceanchild71 Jul 25, 2007

    Needless to say, I am a lot more careful about watching where I step these days! :)

  • oceanchild71 Jul 25, 2007

    Then, when I was in college, I fell 20 feet down an uncovered manhole that someone had taken the cover from. I sprained the heck out of my ankle and leg and was severely sore for about a week, but otherwise came out not seriously injured.

    In fact, it was a whole circus with rescue crews and such because they wouldn't let me climb back out because I had blacked out for a few moments. The ambulance took me to the ER and when the attending physician came in, she asked me what had happened to me that brought me to the ER. When I told her I had fallen 20 feet down a manhole, she was absolutely stunned for a moment and then said I looked pretty good for having gone through that!

  • oceanchild71 Jul 25, 2007

    When I was 15, I had walked out onto a neighbor's dock (we were renting a house on the sound at the time) and I had made it over the small gap between the bulkhead and the first wooden board with no problems. Coming back, we were examining our catches (crabs caught with chicken necks on a string) and I stepped right into that hole! I fell down straight through until my upper legs (the opening was not very big). I scraped almost all the skin off my legs due to the concrete bulkhead.

  • Sunne Jul 25, 2007

    ...it is still my favorite treat.

  • Sunne Jul 25, 2007

    One summer when I was about 6 years old, I heard the familiar sound of the ice cream truck. Ice cream was my favorite so I went inside to ask my mother for money to buy ice cream. She gave me the money, but with the same lecture as always: DO NOT cross the street, wait until the truck returns and stops on your side of the street. She would sit on the front porch and watch as I waited for the ice cream truck.

    There was a young boy around 9 years old who lived across the street and while I was waiting at the edge of our yard for the ice cream truck, he darted into the street attempting to get to the side where the truck was stopped. A car hit him and he was thrown up in the air and I remember seeing his shoes in the street because I was afraid to look at him.

    Unfortunately, he died and for the next six months I refused to eat ice cream and I dreamed of his death almost nightly. If I had continued to refuse ice cream, I would definitely weigh a bit less today, but it is still my favo

  • Legswilson Jul 25, 2007

    What's next Bill? A boat? I can't wait to hear this one! I'm glad you survived to become the person you are today.

  • bigred841 Jul 25, 2007

    This is crazy Bill...you are the only person that i know that has been hit by both a plane and a car...thats pretty wild stuff...

  • bleslie Jul 25, 2007

    Excellent modern day assessment of the same situation, Stephen. I'm afraid you're right. Morganton was a Mayberry with a little more sophistication.

  • Stephen Jul 25, 2007

    Thanks for the story, Mr. Leslie.

    I can't help but imagine if the same events would take place today...not only would the doors of the church be locked and protected by a security system, but also the parents of the child would probably be quick to press charges. The driver wouldn't likely visit the child in the hospital, much less bring toys. You can forget having the child apologize for damaging the car. The parents would be more likely to teach their child to shoot the bird to the guy whenever he passed by...

    On the other hand, perhaps people will read your blog, and in longing for days gone by, they will be more forgiving of their neighbors...whether they be the neighbors who live next door, or the neighbors who live in the next town.

    I hope for the latter. :)

  • bleslie Jul 25, 2007

    Sorry, here it is:

    I, too, was hit by a car -- at age 7. I go to classrooms and do outreach for my job as a USDA entomologist. I always add how lucky I am to even be there; because the outcome that day could have been bad for me. And -- I remind them just how quickly such an incident can occur. Then we get down to the fun part -- talking about "yucky bugs". Of course, they are not yucky to me -- I love studying insects.

    No planes have hit me -- yet. Perhaps I will see you at BugFest, coming Sept. 15 to a local Museum (NCMNS to be exact).

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