It was a beautiful day in Olympia, Washington. There was clear blue skies, the temperature was comfortable, a perfect day for a drive. Dad and Mom decided to load up the children and themselves to take a leisure ride by the country side into the town. Everyone was in there chosen seats in the Old Tin Lizzy also known as Leaping Lena, the ride being a Model T Ford about 20 years old. This 1928 model was known to be jittery and a noisy ride. It was black in color and the floor board in the back had rusted spots leaving small holes. Dad had put a board over the holes. The children were able to see the road go by beneath their feet through the slits in the boards.
As Dad was driving down Bay Harbor Drive, Mom was in the front passenger seat, in the back Henry was sitting by the door behind Dad, in the middle was Janice and behind Mom was Alanna. They were cruising along at about 25 miles per hour, taking in the scenery of the few homes on the street. Traffic was almost nonexistent. For that fact they had not passed by another single car. Dad and Mom were engaged in a conversation as the children talked amongst themselves in the back seat. Henry was talking at Dad, saying that the back door on his side was not completely closed. Dad didn’t hear him over the noisy engine, and Mom had a significant hearing loss and compensated by reading lips, as she had no hearing aid at the time. Please remember that this was in 1949, they were driving a 1928 Model T Ford which did not come with locks on the doors or seatbelts and the car seat was not invented as of yet. Henry being only 5 at the time decided to open the door of the car to close it properly. Problem being that the car was in motion, causing the momentum of the wind against the door to fly open. Having his little hand on the handle he flew out the door and landed in the middle of the street. Janice screamed, “Stop, Henry fell out of the car.” In horror Dad put the car in reverse to get back to Henry, who was laying motionless on the black tar paved road. Dad jumped out of the car and put him in his arms, where he laid unconscious, no tears, and ever so still. Dad came around to Mom’s side of the car and put Henry in Mom’s lap where she held him crying, rocking back and forth. The decision was made to go to Saint Peter’s Hospital where the Doctors could hopefully help their son. The Hospital was at least 20 minutes away and if you floored the Old Tin Lizzy, in it’s hey day it could go up to 40 miles an hour. As the whole family entered the Hospital, it was explained to the attendant what had happened and they took Henry in immediately. The children and the parents were to stay in the waiting room while they x-rayed and examined Henry. It was pins and needles waiting, fearing the worse when the Doctor came out with the news that Henry was suffering from a concussion and a fractured skull. The x-ray showed that the fractured circled his whole skull except for an inch in the very front. It was serious and they would have to keep him hospitalized to watch his progress, in hopes that no complications would arise. Mom insisted and was welcomed to spend the days and nights in the hospital room with her “number one son.” She went home only for brief periods of time while Dad remained by Henry’s side until she could return. During this time Grandma and Grandpa Elhardt were a tremendous help by watching Alanna and Janice during the parents time of being by Henry’s side and while Dad went to work. Unfortunately, a blood clot formed on his brain shortly after he was put in his room. In those days, nothing could be done for blood clots. They did not have nor knew to use blood thinners to try to dissolve the clot. The out look was very grim. Word spread through the families and church people what had happened and to please uphold Henry, their son in prayer. Well, I am happy to report, the prayers were heard and answered as my brother is 75 years of age. We are so blessed that he was healed and God gave us our much-loved brother back restoring his health.
When Henry came back from the hospital, it was a glorious day for the family. Before you knew it life on the farm was back to normal and we could appreciate that once again our family was together.