This is Dec. 26, 1996, and I'm trying to remember stories that are based on what I remember myself and what I remember of what my parents and different people have told me.
The first story is one that I don't like to recall in most ways. It is the time that I was run over by a Model T Ford. I doubt that many people got run over by a Model T, because it made a lot of noise, and it rattled a lot especially on a rough road, you could hear it coming from a long way off.
Previous to Model T days, the road that is now highway 54 was a mud road. When the cars came, the cars could not get through the mud holes on the road, so that they were forced to haul rock to the road. This made a bumpy road, but at least after the cars came, the road became passable.
When I was a child we lived across the road from Grandpa and Grandma Morgan. The mail address was Route 1 Box 23B. We got our mail from the same mailbox as Grandpa's. This mailbox was on our side of the road across the road from Grandpa's, but in 1924, when Grandpa's health failed, we moved to his place.
In the summer of 1925, I was six years old, and like all the boys that I knew of at that time, I went barefoot in the summer. I never remember walking anywhere. I always ran. At that time, the mail was carried by an old time mail carrier, Sam Edde. Sam had started carrying the mail on mud roads on horse back. Later with some improvement on the road, he carried the mail in a buggy. In 1917, he bought his first car, but he continued to keep his horses and buggy for times when the road was too muddy for the car.
Mama had a habit of watching for the mail. When the mail came she would tell me, and I would run out to get it. The one day of the week that we were sure to get mail was Thursday because that was the day when the Index, the county paper, came. She would see the mail carrier coming up the road from the east, and she would holler, "Clifford, here comes the mail." I would run across the road and stand by the mail box until the mail carrier arrived.
It's hard to understand now, with all the traffic on Highway 54, that at that time there were few cars that went by. A good illustration of this fact is that my parents took the first photograph of me as a baby after laying me down on a blanket in the middle of the road. Now you wouldn't dare do something like that.
When Sam drove up, from the east, he would give me the paper, and I would run around the car and back to the house. This particular day, I was unaware that there was a Model T approaching from the west. Sam Edde's car was making a lot of noise, and from where I was standing at the mail box, I couldn't see or hear the other car. Holding the paper with one hand, and going at full speed, I ran directly into the path of the car. I was knocked unconscious, and never was able to remember seeing the Model T.
The first that I remember, I was being held in the arms of a strange man, and I looked around and there was a second man that I had never seen before. The man that was holding me said that he would be glad to take me to the doctor. That scared me, and I started crying. Just about that time, Papa ran up as fast as he could run, and took me in his arms. The talk about going to the doctor had scared me, and Papa decided that I wasn't hurt bad enough to go to the doctor. I did have a few bruises and scratches, but that was all.
When Papa first arrived, he asked, "Did you run over my boy?" The men explained that the boy had run out in front of the car, and that there hadn't been time for them to stop. One man told Papa that they lived at Linn Creek. Linn Creek was the town in Camden County that was covered by the Lake of the Ozarks many years later. Now Linn Creek is at a new location but has the same name. The men went on their way, and as far as I know, Papa never did get their names. After they had left, I saw the newspaper that I had been carrying. One end of it was sort of pulverized from being under a wheel of the car as it came to a stop. I guess I was lucky to be all right. I didn't even have a headache.
My parents were pretty shook up by the accident, and they just wanted to forget it. They didn't tell anyone about it as far as I know. I doubt that some of the neighbors even knew that I'd been run over. This put a stop to me running to the mail box to get ahead of the mail carrier, and I got a lecture on stopping at the road and looking both ways.
Many years later, in 1945, I was returning from a carrier aircraft service unit in the Pacific. After landing in San Francisco, I rode the Santa Fe railroad to Kansas City. When I got to the Union Station, I went to pick up my luggage, but it hadn't arrived. I had my ditty bag with me, and it contained all of the toilet articles like shaving gear and a toothbrush. The sea bag which was missing was packed tightly with a hundred pounds of clothes. I had plenty of clothes at home, and I knew I could pick up the bag when I came back a month later, but I was afraid I would be charged a fee for storage. The baggage man said that he understood my situation because he had a son in the service. He wrote down my name, and said that he would kill the charge when it came in.
I walked out of the Union Station, and at that time, there was no problem for a service man in uniform to hitch a ride. My parents lived between Preston and Hermitage on the Ralph Nevins farm (Ralph's daughter, Kathleen, still owns the farm). I got several rides, and my last ride ended up in Warsaw. I started walking again, and before I got to the bridge over the Osage, a car stopped with an elderly couple in the car, and it was Sam Edde and his wife. Sam was retired then, but when I told him my name, he remembered me. He took me to Preston. I mentioned that I could walk the rest of the way, but he wouldn't let me walk. He took me all the way home. This was the last time that I ever saw Sam Edde, the old mail carrier. I was tempted to ask Sam whether he had ever known about my accident, but I never did.
Many years have passed, but I still remind myself to look both ways before I walk out on the road.
(Typed for the Henthorn/Bolerjack project by Diane (Black) Wilson.)
Email Dick Henthorn: Rhenthorn1@aol.com
Posted: 23 Sep 2009