Sunday, September 30, 2007

Bicycle Accidents Across the Decades

Today, my Mom opened up the Daily Urinal to find the following piece in the "100 Years Ago" section of the "Old Home Town" feature.
From the Lawrence Daily World for Sept. 30, 1907: “As Claire H**** was going to school this afternoon on his bicycle he collided on the corner between the city library and Central Hotel with W.W. Everett’s automobile. Claire was badly bruised but probably escaped death by catching hold of the car. …
Clair H**** (note the misspelling of his first name) was my grandfather. In 1907, he would have been sixteen. Dad says he never mentioned the incident, but it has to be him. There just aren't that many male "Clair H****'s out there."

OK, but here's the creepy part. MY bicycle accident in which a car "buzzed" me, causing me to fall with my full weight onto my left elbow and beginning an excruciating year of surgery, physical therapy, and insurance headaches--that happend in 1997, ten years ago this past June. So Grandpa and I were three months shy of 90 years apart in our encounters with horseless carriages. How weird is that?

All I have to say to the W.W. Everetts of the world is above and to the left. OK, that's about not opening your door when a cyclist is going by, but the spirit's there. I am happy to report that ten years after my own accident, I have full flexion and extension in the left elbow. If my grandfather had been similarly hurt, I expect he would have had a stiff arm all his life. Although traumatic, the injury might have kept him out of World War I. Funny how these things work out.


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