Senior Nation Moments: Broken Bones by Bernie Starken

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Today while having lunch with Peara, we were discussing his fractured foot. He says,“You have had firsthand knowledge with broken bones, you should write an article for the Heron’s Beak.” Here goes.

I have broken sixteen bones in my 82 years of living. The first seven breaks happened when I was a senior in high school in 1951. While my boyfriend and I were dating, he would pick me up in his red convertible. On this bright November Sunday afternoon, we were going to go road hunting for pheasants. As we were driving on the country roads, the noise of the car and the gravel would startle the pheasants hiding in the tall grasses. The convertible was traveling about 10 miles an hour as we watched the ditches. Just as we crossed into an intersection, a car came over the rise traveling very fast. As I spoke to tell my friend “to speed up, there is a car coming on our right,” he looked to the left and the incoming car T-boned the convertible, leaving an impression of his headlight on our front fender and the second head-light on the passenger door where I was sitting.

The convertible flew in the air and landed upside down in the ditch across the road. As the car turned over in the air, my friend fell out the driver’s door, landed in the field, and had a minor cut on his head. I was trapped under the dash-board in an upside-down convertible which was dripping battery acid.

In 1951, there were no emergency services or cell phones. A farm house sat on the corner of the intersection, and they alerted the hospital. Help came in the form of a hearse as that was the only type of automobile that could carry a person in a lying position. I was placed on the platform where the caskets were transported. I recall as we traveled to the hospital, the swaying tassels that hung over the windows.

I spent seven weeks in the hospital healing the fractured skull, the imbedded glass in my face, floating bone chips in my neck, broken clavicle and the four fractures in my pelvis. Due to my youth and a good physician, I healed rapidly. In January 1952, I rejoined my senior class and in 1953 married the boyfriend.

Bernie Starken is a resident of Heron Point in Chestertown

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