October 26 1961

In her October 12th letter, Cyn promised to write Carol a follow-up, telling about the overnight guests they had while she was trying to make herself a new silk dress, the Thanksgiving weekend, and the Gander’s new cottage they had visited. Alas, we will never know the details! Accidents will happen.

Thursday
26th Oct.?

Dearest Mummy,
I am sorry that I have been awhile in writing to you but I have a real good excuse this time! You know how we have a joke that every 2 years I pay a visit to the Civic Hospital – well this year I thought I missed it, but no such thing – it was just waiting around the corner for me & here I am sitting in bed surrounded by lovely flowers, candies & get well cards!
And of all things, what do you think is the matter? A nice selection of broken ribs! I am all taped up but Dr. Kastner is taking off the tape tomorrow & says I am doing very well & will be home next week sometime.
I took Charlie down to the school at 8:30 on Sat. a.m. to go to a show for the Cubs and then on the way home I turned to go into our driveway at the top of the hill and a panel truck coming from Montreal way slammed right into the side of the car. He was right off the road on the shoulder & going very fast & of course my main feeling was amazement & surprise. I was thrown out of the door on the driver’s side & rolled under the car but wasn’t touched. I was so lucky especially that little Charlie wasn’t in the car as the whole side is demolished. Also, that we had safety glass as my hair & all my clothes were just impregnated with little crumbs of glass, but I only got one tiny little scratch on my hand. I have 8 or 9 broken ribs but no other damage at all & Dr. K. says Someone was looking after me. He says I’ll be home in a week & I am doing fine so don’t worry & I will write soon again. The children & Cec send love-
With lots from
Cyn.

As I said in the essay that opened this project [Family Letters] distressing events that occur are minimized in the letters that follow because no one wants to upset their mother, and the writer has obviously survived the crisis! Cyn’s car accident was seriously upsetting for the whole family but Carol, far away in St. Vincent, couldn’t do anything but worry about her daughter, so Cyn gives the facts here, emphasizes the recovery, and doesn’t mention the pain or the emotions she must have gone through. Certainly both Charlie and I, aged 8 & 10 at the time, remember it- Charlie because she was hurt after driving him, so it was partly his fault! and Linda because I was there, dressed for my ballet class in tights and leotard waiting for my turn to be driven to my Saturday activity, when two of our neighbours carried my mother in, groaning with pain! My father was sleeping in, and I rushed to wake him as they jostled her up the stairs and laid her on the sofa. What a rude awakening for him. Cars in those days had no seatbelts, and obviously ‘not moving the crash victim’ was unknown or ignored, perhaps because she’d crawled out from under the car on her own, but I can’t help thinking now that she was lucky they didn’t cause a punctured lung. I was removed to a neighbour’s house at a distance, so I have no memory of ambulances, police, or crashed cars, only of the girls at the friends’ being curious and Charlie turning up in the afternoon, and I presume Cec collected us later with the news that Mummy was in hospital but would be all right.

Years later when new housing developments had been built further east and the houses at the top of the hill on the Montreal Road were demolished, Mrs Cardinal’s replaced by a strip mall on one side of the highway, and a dental service surrounded by parking on the site where we had lived, the road was widened into 4 lanes and they somehow flattened the hill, so that it sloped more gently and visibility was better, with turning lanes that made left turns safer. Not that Cyn didn’t have a few more accidents turning left… when she was older… and they might have been her fault then… but she was never injured as badly, thank goodness.

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