Too Many Deaths Summer of 1988
June 6, 1988 we went to my parents to celebrate my mother’s birthday. I forgot if it was before or after we took our new van to Virginia and Washington D.C. I tend to think it was before however, school normally lets out for the summer the last days of May or early June, so we might not have had the time to do our whistle stop tour before June the 6th.
While at my parents I gave my mother a ride in the new van. While out, she gave me a lecture about not coming around often enough. She said she doubt if my father had that much longer to live and I needed to visit him more often. She was crying.
After the dinner and the Mama blew out her candles and a bit socializing we left. Although we both have Marietta addresses we live almost 15 miles apart.
On the way home on a main thoroughfare we were held up because of an accident. As we slowly rode by the wreck we saw one saw was pretty much demolished. It was at the intersection of Cobb Parkway and Bells Ferry Road, a place where there had been several wrecks – people trying to beat the light on a left turn.
At that time, my co-workers and I reported to work at midnight. Our official reporting time was 2am but most days we reported two hours early, the bulk mail was generally backed up and we had to work over about two hours a day to try to keep up with it all.
The telephone rang and I answered. A person said she was calling for Joe W. She said that night Joe’s three children were killed in an accident.
It is understandably that someone would call in for Joe. Joe was a deaf mute. He was mentioned in my blog entry about Vince Desantes.
As the work day progressed we got more of the details from someone, maybe the same person, who called back to tell more of the details. Joe’s wife was driving their station wagon and tried to make a left hand turn at the corner of Bells Ferry Road and Cobb Parkway. The wreck we rode by earlier.
In a day or so I went to the funeral home. Joe didn’t know what hit him. Three small pretty caskets were lined up in order. It was very emotional.
I wasn’t there at Joe’s house – everybody brought food over, but a female co-worker told me at one point Joe wanted to get away from everybody and went to the back yard to be alone – and there he saw all the kids toys and started picking them up. Very very sad.
I think there may have been a question if the kids had their seatbelts on or not. My first cousin, who was the chief forensic person for the Sheriff’s department said his wife can claim all the wants, she did not have the kids in seatbelts. For reasons unknown to me the county decided not to prosecute the mother for neglect, I guess they felt she had been through enough.
Less than a month later, on July 3, 1988, on a Sunday morning, the telephone rang. It was Anna’s sister-in-law Thelma. She said, “Eddie, something terrible has happened to Tommy! Yesterday he was swimming and he went under the water and didn’t come up!” Tommy was Anna’s brother.
Tommy was one of the founding members of a deer hunting club at Lake Juliette just north of Macon. Tommy operated heavy equipment as a profession. He help make Lake Juliette for Georgia Power.
He was drinking beer. He went swimming with his clothes on. He was swimming alongside a friend who was oaring a boat at the same time. They were laughing and joking. And his friend made a comment and Tommy didn’t reply. His friend looked over around and he was not there.
Divers searched and searched. He was not to be found. The lake he made took him.
That was in July of 1988. His body surfaced October 1989.
It was all terrible, but that Sunday morning we had to get word to Anna’s parents who were in church. This time they was visiting her mother’s sister Methodist Church in downtown Marietta. Anna called her cousin who lived near the church and he went and got them out of church to tell them the bad news.
Less than two weeks later Daddy died. He died on July 14, 1988. Lately, Daddy would get contrary and refuse to take his medicine. Mama would call me and I would go over and talk him into taking his medicine.
I didn’t blame him for not wanting to take his medicine. I had wondered whether I should talk him into taking his medicine or let nature takes its course. He was a diabetic in his last years. The doctors would prescribe something which would make his feet and legs swell up.. then they would prescribe something that would counter-act the feet swelling and something else would go wrong, his whole body would turn red… and it went on and on.
On July the 14th Mama called me and said she thought he was dying and he would not let them call an ambulance. I told her to just call one – call 911. She was the kind of woman that let the man make all the decisions – or pretended to anyway. She wouldn’t call. I went over and he was acting very sluggish. I suggested I drive him to the ER, which he said Okay.
I drove him to the ER. They said his heart was about to slow down to nothing.
After my sisters and mother got there the doctors told us the options… either machines or let nature take its course. We elected to let nature take its course. He died a few hours later. Within a couple of minutes after he died we and an aunt went in to see him. He was lying there with his mouth stretched opened… probably nature was trying to find and suck in one more bit of oxygen. I asked the nurse standing there to please close his mouth, it took away his dignity.
At the time Rocky was at a Boy Scout camp, Camp Woodward, north of Blairsville, in the north Georgia mountains. We went called the emergency number and told somebody to get word for Rocky to pack up there was a death in the family, but don’t tell him about the death, it would be better if we told him ourselves, we said.
We drove up and arrived about 10pm. We told Rocky and he was upset. He and his grandpa were buddies. Adam was upset too. Adam was either at his other grandparents or at his friend's place next door when we drove to the Scout camp.
We buried Daddy on July the 16th. And later that day I went out and bought a new Schwinn Bike. What deep rooted psychological warp was I in to do that? Actually, it can be easily be explained.