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Honda Civic

Image by FotoSleuth via Flickr

Yesterday I was in our work lunch room getting some of my La Rubia Yerba Mate to put in my Bodum French Press. I obviously was distracted because as I went to put the package back in the cupboard, I bashed my forehead into the corner of the cupboard door.

Instantly, my mind flashed back to the worst car accident I have ever been in.

I was in a horrible car accident in the late 70s as a kid. I had just turned 8 years old. I was in Grade 2. The day started out better than most. My parents had taken me to Sears and bought me a couple of really cool toys! They were little robot men for my battery powered robot.

My memory of the evening is foggy. The accident happened just as I was going to sleep on the drive home.  We were driving in a small 70’s Honda Civic, and the speeding vehicle that hit us was a Suburban type van. Back in those days, there were only lap belts in the backs of cars. On impact, my head shot forward, and my forehead bashed into the metal on the back of the front passenger seat. My scalp was ripped back in a crescent shape. To put it mildly, there was a lot of blood! I recall looking into the rearview mirror and screaming that I was going to be scarred for life!

I don’t remember too much after that, but a couple of things stood out. At some point I remember police officers and some residents wrapping gauze around my head to try and stop the bleeding. I lost quite a lot of blood I guess, as I got a blood transfusion later on that night. Pretty dramatic stuff.

Being a kid, one thing that I thought was really cool was that the police officer let me sit in the front driver seat of his car with all the lights blazing. As I had lost a lot of blood, and probably had a concussion, the lights and all the buttons in the police car were surreal. I recall thinking that I was torn as to whether it was all a dream or not.

I remember the drive to the hospital in the back of the ambulance, and though I couldn’t see out of the back, I was sitting down, not lying down, and I was trying to figure out how fast we were driving down the highway! I remember asking if we were going as fast as a race car. Though I was stunned, it was quite fun for an 8 year old to be a part of.

All of my family lived, though we have some permanent scars to this day. My mom and sister got banged up pretty badly as well.

I haven’t thought about the accident in probably 10 years. At least in detail. It all came flooding back in the moment yesterday. For years after the accident(about 15 years), I couldn’t feel my forehead along the scar tissue. I used to be able to smash things into my head at parties(like beer cans), and couldn’t feel a thing. Not a shock, it didn’t impress the girls…

Another thing that I recalled yesterday, was a particular anxiety that comes across me whenever I am out and have bought anything new. There is always a bit of worry that something bad is going to happen on the way home. It is a physiological response that comes over me, and after a few minutes I clue in and realize that I lost those 2 little toys in the car accident all those years ago, and am unconsciously worried that the new item I just bought would have the same fate.That usually enough to know that it’s just an un-substantiated fear, and I calm down.

I remember my Grade 2 classmates writing me get well cards, and some of the kids bringing me cookies and other treats.I also remember after getting the stitches out, and going back to school. It only took a few weeks for the teasing to start. I was affectionately known by a few cruel kids as “scar-face”.

For the next 10 to 15 years, every time I got warm from exercise or the temperature was hot out, my scar would get darker pink than the rest of my complextion. The inevitable question would arrise, “What happened to your forehead?”. Come to think of it, maybe that is why I hate the heat so much? It has been about 5 years since the last time I was asked about it. I think that as I age, my wrinkles will start taking over and no one will notice it.

Have you ever had one of those moments where some unexpected memory came back to you? What happened that caused this memory? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear about it…

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