Grandma Says..

Observations and views from a different set of eyes

The Day My Heart Stopped

on February 11, 2013

1948Nash-Coupe

I’ll never forget that day.  It was snowing, I was driving my 1952 Nash Rambler and I was heading home with my car filled with groceries and my two sons.  I wasn’t worried about driving in the snow, my Rambler was built like a tank and handled great in bad weather.  I loved that car.  I had bought it for $100.00 from a little old woman who really did drive it only to church and back for 25 years.  It looked like the cars used in old “Gangster” movies, sporting a “bubble top” and running boards.  Think Bonnie and Clyde’s ride and you’ve got a pretty good idea of what it looked like!

My 8-year-old was busy in the back of the car, going through the paper sacks, looking for his favorite cookies while my 4-year-old was next to me in the passenger seat, happily jumping up and down in an effort to drive his mother up a wall.  I was turning a corner and started to reach for my rambunctious little man to settle him down.  He was standing on the seat and took one last jump; he hit the door handle with his butt, and as I watched in disbelief, he flew out of the car.

I remember screaming.  I remember pulling the car over to the side of the road and turning off the ignition.  I remember thinking that I couldn’t just jump out with the car running since I still had a son in the back of the car.  I remember someone beeping and pointing in the direction behind me.  My heart stopped, I couldn’t breath, and I couldn’t look back.  Fear had me frozen to my seat.

After what seemed like an eternity, but was actually a few seconds, my heart started beating again. I drew a breath; I  jumped out of my car and start running towards my son who was lying in the road inches away from the wheels of the car that had turned behind me.  I fell to my knees when he sat up, then wobbled to his feet and starting running towards me, sobbing.  I scooped him up and examined him from head to toe with shaking hands and a rapid heartbeat.

He escaped with some scratches, which came from sliding against the running boards of the car, and no other injuries.  The driver of the car that almost hit him looked like he was going to have his own cardiac episode, and I quickly let him know that my son would be fine.  I carried my son back to the car, putting him in the back seat while I had my other son climb into the front one.  Shaking, I started the car and headed for home, while grateful tears filled my eyes.

Now, I believe that there were three major reasons my son was saved from the claws of death.  First, he wore a thick snowsuit which provided padding that softened the blow of landing on the road.  Second, the running boards on the Nash slowed his descent and prevented him from rolling directly into the path of the car in back of me.  And, last but not least, the driver of the other car had good reflexes and was able to stop in time to keep from running over my son.  If all these factors had not come into play, I believe the outcome would have been devastating.

After arriving home and getting my sons and the groceries into the house, I sat on the couch and held my sons.  I held them for a very, very long time as I stared out the window at my Nash Rambler and blessed those running boards.

Authors Note:  This episode happened in the early 70’s, before seat belts, child proof door locks and reliable car seats for children.  Thank goodness, this would not happen to a parent these days; at least I hope not.

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10 responses to “The Day My Heart Stopped

  1. Jess says:

    Oh my god! I would add divine intervention to the list of reasons why that wasn’t worse than it was! My son recently pulled the latch on the back door of the car while we were doing 70 mph on the NJ Turnpike. Luckily, a safety feature is that one pull at the handle won’t open the door, and all the lights on the dashboard warned us that the door was touched, so we pulled over and reclosed it. That was scary enough for me. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Gwen says:

    Wow – what a story!

  3. Shel says:

    My heart stopped for a minute there with you! My son once opened a car door while we were traveling down the interstate. He had recently switched seats with his older sister, and we had failed to activate his child lock (a mistake I never made again). Luckily he was strapped in his car seat and we were able to pull over immediately. That was horrifying enough. Bless you and the driver behind you…and thank goodness for the factors that kept your son safe.

  4. Jean Heys says:

    Oh My Goodness! Heartstopping, for sure!!

    Once, driving on a major highway, probably at 65 to 75 mph, a back window rolled down with no warning. Our beloved boxer, wiggling around, trying to get comfy, had laid her head or her paw, not sure which, on the window control and in doing so nearly gave me a heart attack. It also ended well, thank heavens.
    The stuff of nightmares though.

  5. mewhoami says:

    Oh my! I can only imagine how absolutely terrifying that must have been for you. Just the thought of what you may see when exiting the car would be so frightening. Thankfully it all ended well. I too fell out of a moving van once while helping my parents with a paper route. It’s scary at the moment, but always an interesting story to tell.

  6. Sallyann says:

    Written from within indeed ! You gave me goosebumps. 🙂

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