Usually you think of multi-car wrecks happening in Austin or Houston or Dallas. Like a pile up on the freeway.
A little known or remembered fact is there was a wreck that happened right in Marble Falls, Texas that involved 13 vehicles back in the spring of 1970. I was involved. It was my senior year and I only went to school in the mornings and worked at a local car dealership in the afternoon. This one afternoon things weren’t to busy at the car lot so I ran home and grabbed a small trailer mounted air compressor and headed to Kingsland to drill a few holes for dynamite in some rock where a guy was attempting to put in a septic system.
When I got back to the street where most kids leaving school pulled out onto FM 1431, there wasn’t a red light, so cars would just make a run for it when there was an opening my classmate Mary Alice pulled directly out in front of me. I was driving a 66 model El Camino.
The front of the El Camino hit dead center on the drivers door of her car. I was going about 35 or 40 MPH but with the air compressor on behind, it knock her across the car. No one wore seat belts back then. It shoved the door about a quarter of the way across to the other side. The impact broke her pelvis and ruptured her spleen.
Her car continued to travel on across the road curving to the left and went through the middle of the car lot. Yes the one I worked at. When her car came to a complete stop, it had came into contact with 11 other cars. Counting both of our cars made it 13 damaged vehicles.
Mary Alice spent several weeks in the hospital but was able to walk across the stage (on crutches), to a standing ovation, to receive her diploma with the rest of us, the 1970 MFHS graduates.
To this day if Mary Alice needs anything, I’ll drop what I’m doing to go help her. I guess I still feel guilty and thankful at the same time. She and my wife were close friends from early childhood and she is one of our treasured friends for life.
After The Big Wreck
I’m not sure if it was because of the wreck or just because, but Mary Alice has always been the classmate that Madeline and I have held the closest and been the most constant friend throughout the past 48!years since moving on from high school. She has spent many holiday feasts with us and watched our sons grow up and them have kids. Our sons think of her as the crazy old aunt (said in an endearing way).
She has the ability to talk about any subject and talk she can do.
A few years ago was driving to northwest Arkansas to the funeral of one of my Aunts. Madeline flew there, met me and we rode back together. On my journey there that evening, I was in downtown Dallas in rush hour traffic when my phone rang. I don’t remember exactly why she called but it probably had something to do with the recent death of our classmate Carroll Ray Lewis.
When I drove up at my hotel in Greenville, probably an hour and a half later I had to break off the conversation so I could check in.
I’m sure we talked about dozen’s of different things. When she talks it’s like a barrage of machine gun fire.
Since she still resists Facebook, she was unaware of The Angora Chronicles. Hearing the name and the premise for for the group she launched into several stories, one being about her ownership of some Angora goats when she was small. They lived on a farm at Fairland. They had goats. Her daddy told her she could have any of the orphans to raise as her own. She thought that meant any orphans so over time she made it around to the neighboring farms to tell them that she would be taking their orphans, because her daddy said so. They gladly would bring them to her, thinking her approach was cute and who needs to be bottle feeding baby goats. Over time she amassed a pretty nice herd.
When they sold the farm and moved to town, the goats were all sold and the money put away in a savings account and mostly forgotten about.
Just before heading off to The University of Texas, they ran across the long before forgotten savings passbook. She used that money to help pay her way through school. That and several other ways she parlayed some meager funds into enough to get by on. Something she has carried with her through life.
I encouraged her to get on FB and share her many rich stories with us, but to date she hasn’t. Maybe with some encouragement one day she will write some out and email them to me (at least she does email and text) so I can put them on here.
Oh did I mention that as vocal as I may be on matters of politics, when she and I talk, I let her have the floor and I set back and just listen. There is nothing that reinforces my belief and commitment to the conservative cause better than listening to a UT educated liberal talk.
Back in the fall of 1972 she came to spend the night with Madeline and me, while the Nixon / McGoven race was hot and heavy. Madeline finally went to bed, leaving the two of us sitting in the living room arguing over politics. That was truly a political battle royale. I don’t remember for sure but it’s possible we never slept that night.
But over the years I decided she would never be a convert, so it was better for me to listen and not talk. She is the only person that has that effect on me. To cause me to go silent.
BTW: did I mention that the Tea Party is the ONLY radical faction today in an otherwise sane political system. That almost caused me to launch into what would have caused me to have to drive all the way into Arkansas before stopping for the night. But for some reason, I was already exhausted by the time I arrived in Greenville.