The Bandage   2 comments

Yes, that's a 4"x4" white bandage covering my head wound in our wedding pictures.

Yes, that’s a 4″x4″ white bandage covering my head wound in our wedding pictures.

Yesterday, I posted a picture of our wedding party, taken 36 years ago. A couple of people commented about the bandage on my forehead … and here is that story.

We were going to be married on Saturday, May 13th. Our wedding day also happened to be the day I would graduate from college … but I was skipping that ceremony because we had to get married we wanted to get married on the 13th. Velda was born on a 13th, our first date was on a 13th … we would be married on the 13th.

Our life had a plan from that day. We would leave Columbia, MO in a couple of weeks for Steamboat Springs, CO, where I had secured us jobs working at a summer camp. After that “honeymoon,” we would move to Valencia, CA where I would begin graduate school at the California Institute of the Arts. Velda would get a job as a nurse’s aide, and then go to nursing school.

Good plan.

I had never visited CalArts, so I was understandably anxious about the transition. There was a college fair in St Louis the weekend before our wedding with a CalArts representative in attendance, so I decided to go to the Fair, meet the CalArts rep, and see if I could learn anything to help prepare myself for grad school.

Two of our St Louis friends wanted to go home for the weekend, and I could even stay the night at Sue’s parent’s house. So, Sue, Elsa and I took off for St Louis. Eight days before our wedding. Velda even approved.

Seven days before our wedding, I went to the college fair. I’m sure I learned nothing of consequence. But, I was facing big life changes, and I had a weekend to kill. Me and 2 single ladies. What could go wrong?

Six days before our wedding, it was time to return to Columbia, MO. Sue’s Mom, being a good college Mom, gave Sue a bag of groceries to take back to her apartment in Columbia. The bag went into the hatchback of my new Volkswagen Rabbit, and we set off for home. It was a Sunday afternoon.

Perhaps 30 minutes later, I made one of the worst mistakes of my life. I drove around a tight corner too fast, veered onto the wrong side of the road, and had a head-on collision with a half ton Chevy pickup.

Both my VW Rabbit and the Chevy truck were totaled.

The other driver was fine. Luckily, we all had on our seat belts. Elsa, in the back seat, was fine. I went into the steering wheel (it was 1978, long before air bags), fracturing my sternum and lacerating my forehead. 7 stitches, as I recall. And yes, I had an ER nurse call Velda and tell her that I was in the hospital due to a car accident, six days before our wedding. I was that guy.

Sue had been in the front seat, and seemed to be fine. However, after the ambulance arrived, it was clear that Sue wasn’t OK. She had to go to the hospital. Remember that bag of groceries in the hatchback? We later figured out that Sue had been hit in the back of the head with a pound of frozen hamburger. She apparently suffered a concussion.

Her folks met her in the ER. Sue was now in bad shape. And that is when the apocryphal event happened. Sue had been changed into a hospital gown for her exam. When the ER doctor walked into the room, Sue looked at him, raised her gown over her head, and screamed, “You can’t buy me, you son of a bitch!”

The doctor decided to keep Sue in the hospital overnight for observation.

Why wouldn’t he? Sue’s a cutie. (And, yes, I love the easy puns.)

I thank God that Sue’s “concussion-like symptoms” were gone the next morning. She and I were both discharged from the hospital that day, and we were both at the wedding five days later.

I don’t know about Sue, but I’ve never felt safe around frozen hamburger since.


I Married A City Girl

June 13, 1975

Posted May 14, 2014 by henrymowry in Living Life

Tagged with , , ,

2 responses to “The Bandage

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  1. Happy (belated) anniversary to you and Velda. You must have been awfully happy to smile that big with a broken sternum.

    • It didn’t hurt when I smiled, but you’re right: it would not have stopped me. The odd thing about the broken sternum was that it would pop, like a joint will pop, when I twisted or stretched. Scared me to death at first!

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