Saturday, August 18, 2012

1966 and then 1969

The year was 1966.

The turmoil of the decade ascended with Vietnam drafts increasing, rioting in across our largest cities and increased use of drugs. We saw the first artificial heart implant, pampers hit the shelves and the Vatican allowed Catholics to eat meat on Fridays.

For one young couple, much of this was beyond their day-to-day survival except for maybe the pampers availability.

She was 17 and he was 18 when they married in 1964. She was a dark haired beauty and he just wanted to make her happy. They had a 10 month old daughter born in 1965.

"Statistics Defied By Young Couple" was the headline in 1966 under Happenings in Society. The article sites that 50% of marriages end in divorce with a bride under 20. Not this couple. They were quoted "You read a lot about young people not being able to accept responsibility. That's not true." The couple attribute their successful marriage to practicality.

This couple did defy statistics. She finished high school and he was a assistant manager at a grocery store. He was enrolled for college courses in the Fall. They bought a 3 bedroom house. And a new car. They planned and had another baby in 1968. They had dreams.
The year was 1969.

The dreams literally crashed. The young mother and her two babies were in a car accident on a Texas highway. The 22 year old woman who had defied statistics did not survive that day. The 4 year old girl was pulled from the mangled Volkswagen bug with the top shaved off by the underside of a diesel truck - the trucker was helpless to stop the car as he watched it the run under his load. The local preacher stopped to help. He knew this young family and asked if they found a baby boy too? The police went back to the car and found the 15 month old toddler in the backseat floor board. Some say it was a miracle the children survived.

Lives left behind were changed forever. The loss is noticed for the lifetimes of many. Still noticed today.


  1. Ronda, Reading this brought back a flood of memories of that fateful day. One I will never forget. Just this morning, I was telling our granddaughter, Laura, about Cheryl's accident and it felt very strange to come online and see your post. What a lovely tribute, you have written. Your Mom was a beautiful person and it seems so unfair that her life ended so soon. Aunt Wanda

    1. Thank you Aunt Wanda. It has always felt like your family was a strong connection to her for me. I know how much you loved her. All of you have been there for us and I am so thankful. I think you so often. One funny way is when I comb my hair daily. I start at the bottom and work my way up to the scalp like you taught me :) Something a mother teaches a daughter ...

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  3. Rhonda, I too remember that fateful day and believed then, as I believe now that the two of you are miracle children who were meant to make a difference.. and a difference the two of you have made. Our family is so very proud of both of you and when each time I reflect back, I feel a sense of bitterness that you did not have the opportunity to grow with the fun loving, spirited, and beautiful mother God gave to you. Life takes many twists and turns and you were given a bad penny early on but instead of letting that bad penny stay tarnished, you polished and polished until the penny began to shine and carved out a new life and now have a beautiful family and a great career. We love you dearly! Kim

    1. Kim,
      Such thoughtful and meaningful words for Ronnie & me. Thank you, thank you. I actually look at Ronnie & his family & his service in the military and I am so, so proud of him. He is such an amazing man and he really had it tough - lots of bad pennies thrown his way growing up.

      Inspiration and learning comes in many of ways. Sometimes people do not even know what kind of influence they have had on others. Your sweet family has touched us at different points and special ways throughout the years. Little things like eating honey sandwiches and drinking cold, cold water from a green glass jug. Normal everyday experiences take on bigger proportions when a child's life is generally unstable ...

  4. I knew better than to misspell your name. So Sorry. I was horrified after I posted. So sorry!