While allowing the mind to drift today, I was brought back to a time that should have been incredibly bad, but has left nothing but sweet memories. It is almost incredible to me now to think back, but I actually remember none of the bad things that no doubt "spun" around me.
When I was about five, maybe six, my family fell on hard times, and I was hit by a car. Now, these events had no relationship to each other, they were just things that happen to anyone. My folks had made some bad financial decisions (my dad drank!), and we found ourselves living in the dinning room of my Maternal Grandparent's house.
To a young boy, this was no hardship. This was adventure. This room was not only where we shared our family holiday dinners, but at night it had always been a spooky room that one had to run through to avoid what inevitably lurked there in the dark. It also contained "The Closet "; a place filled with Victorian clothing and hats no one had worn since the nineteenth century, and my Grandfather's "secret " trunk filled with treasures and ghosts of his adventures. Such a room was no problem for a boy of six. Besides, he had his Brother and Mom and Dad in there with him.
Being poor was not too bad, but sometimes going without the necessities, like a good collection of marbles, was rough on a six year old. One day, completely out of the blue, my Grandfather gave me a dime. I don't know if I had done something cute, or if maybe I had just not done something bad, but I was not going to question my luck. Now, to think of what to do with a whole dime?
A little dime, so much smaller than a nickel, but worth twice as much. An important thing to remember for a six year old. What to get really did not take much thinking; more marbles. Even though I did not play with other kids much, I liked having a huge marble collection. After school today, I would slip down to Woolworth's and get myself a new bag of marbles!
All went well, until the walk home with my new treasure of 25 cat's eyes. While walking across the street from the Catholic School; St. Rafael's, I was stuck in the crosswalk by a speeding car. Now here comes the interesting, and "spiritual " part. I was thrown fifty feet across the street, and landed on the hood of a parked car in front of the Church. This is all part of what I learned from the newspaper reports of the event. I have no actual "memory " of this, most likely simpley flying unconsciously through the air.
Somewhere along the line, a kind woman who was at the Catholic School to pick up her children, picked me off the hood of the parked car and drove me to the hospital, which was, thankfully, near by. Again, I have no memory of this, except for one image that has stayed with me. The woman's son, a boy about twice my age, was sitting at my head as I lay bleeding all over their car. He was looking down with a caring look on his face that I will never forget. It was serene and angelic, and I had, and have no doubt that Love rode in the back seat of that car that day.
I remember very little of the next few hours or days. I have no memory of the pain. The only lasting memories of the event are of my First Grade Teacher, Mrs. Pacheco bringing me a little lead Hopalong Cassidy figure, and lying there, in my Grandparent's dinning room in the dark, with my Brother and Folks listing to Ozzie and Harriet and Archie Andrews on the radio. Of course, I will always remember the charming boy, smiling gently down at one shocked little puppy.
Today, as I was about to write this, it occurred to me how the memories of what would seem a "trying " time, have all become happy, even lovely memories. Although I was lucky to escape with only a few facial cuts, a lot of teeth knocked out, and a limp that stayed with me until my forties, I recovered over a period of weeks, and had terrible nightmares. So I am told, for I have no memory of the headaches, the ear aches, or the nightmares. All I am left with are the things that brought me love. The painful events, like the nightmares, having vanished in the love this all brought to me.
So easy it would be if we could all just live with the memories of Love, discarding the pain and suffering as it arises. All memories of pain and suffering from that event, are memories of those around me, telling my story. I have no memories but of a token present from a teacher who showed me not only that she cared, but that she had some idea who I was. And the memory of the late night radio shows; Ozzie and Harriet were like my story unfolding, only it seemed funnier, but no less loving. And if only, in the midst of tragedy and pain, we can realize the angel who sits with us in the worst of it all, smiling down, silently being One with us.