A Story From My Grandmother

My mom’s mom died when I was five. My memories of her are vague, and I often wonder what I remember versus what I know from the stories I’ve heard.

She was tall–six feet. She had red hair that has now been passed down two generations. She loved to laugh, to push hard on the gas pedal and made the most amazing chocolate chip cookies.

She was the wife of a farmer and tough as nails.

One of the things I didn’t know about my grandma was that she liked to write stories. My mom and I were recently digging through some old family photographs when we came across a couple of hand-written stories my grandma had put on paper to enter into a contest. I got to see the handwriting of this woman who I hardly knew but who forms such a vital piece of my heritage.

I thought I’d share one of those stories with you. It puts a smile on my face to think of my grandma putting pen to paper in 1956 and now having her words published for the world to read. I hope you enjoy a little glimpse into the life of an Oklahoma housewife.

The Day I Was a Widow for a Few Seconds

Last summer, one Saturday in July, we made plans to meet friends for boating and a picnic a few miles from our home.

We arose to a calm, warm Saturday and proceeded with our plans. We fixed a picnic lunch and serviced our boat.

While my daughter and I got ready for church, my husband decided to go out to our steel granary, which was a few yards from the house, and check the wheat for heat. The wheat had been up in the granary from the harvest a few weeks before. He put a ladder next to the granary and started to climb to the top. He was carrying a long, iron rod, which he always put through a small door down into the wheat.

He had just put one end of the iron rod into the wheat when a gust of wind caught the other end of the rod and blew it against the high-line above, which carried 7200 volts. The voltage went down the rod, into my husband’s hands and on down through his body, coming out his stomach. With his weight being over 200 pounds, he was knocked off the ladder to the ground, 14 feet below. When the voltage hit him, his heart stopped beating, but when he hit the ground, the impact started it again.

When he came to, he tried to stand but couldn’t. So he crawled towards the house until he managed to get on his feet.

Our daughter heard him calling us, and she ran to the door. He was in shock but was able to tell us what happened.

We rushed him to the hospital, which was a long fifteen miles that day. His hands had third-degree burns and for a moment we thought this was all the burns he had. A small hole was in his shirt just above the waistline, about the size of a pea. When we took his shirt off, his undershirt had a hole the size of a cup and a deep third degree burn was staring at us. We removed his trousers immediately, which had pinhead-size holes just above the knees. Everywhere there was a hole, there was a burned place on his legs, the size of a nickel.

The doctor said he was hurt bad, and it would take a few days to know how much skin grafting would have to be done.

My husband has a lot of will-power and decided immediately this would not get him down. By morning, he was out of shock completely, was moving his hands as usual and was very hungry.

He had very good care and by Wednesday the doctor let him come home with several instructions.

It has been almost a year since this accident happened. There is a scar on his stomach and legs, but his hands don’t show a scar of any kind. His was a miracle because he didn’t have to have any skin grafting.

We know someone higher up was looking over us that day and it’s a lot nicer to be a widow for a few seconds than for ever.

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