Old Mack’s Tales

March 25, 2013


Filed under: Uncategorized — Ron McKinney aka "OldMack" @ 12:08 am


Crossing the street was nothing new; I crossed it many times every day to play in those vacant lots opposite our house.  One of the other boys had brought the packing crate in which something very large had been shipped from back east to a store in San Diego; the crate, was made of thin plywood stapled to long, narrow boards.  The empty box wasn’t too heavy; four of us lugged it from the sidewalk to the center of the vast vacant lot where we installed it in the midst of beaten-down weeds and declared it our Club House, No Girls Allowed.  I had been crossing the street to play in the club house when it happened.

I remember dropping something which lodged in the groove between one of the streetcar tracks and the pavement.  That’s about all I remembered when I first woke up in the County Hospital.  I recognized the place.  It hadn’t been so long since I got over the sickness called scarlet fever and diptheria.  In addition to being bruised and sore all over I was humiliated and angry when I found myself in a bed enclosed all round by metal bars like a baby’s crib.

It was later, after the hospital was done with me, that my mother told me that I’d been struck by a car.  People talk about kids being run over by cars; apparently the car hadn’t actually run over me.  Mother said she saw the whole thing and that when hit by the car I’d flown into the air, sailed over the roof of the car, and landed in the street behind it, where I just lay.  Mother thought I was dead, she said, but she didn’t see any blood and then I groaned and moved a hand or a leg or something, so she scooped me up and put me into the back seat of the car which had hit me and she told the driver how to get to the County Hospital.

When mother and the driver came to get me out of the hospital and take me home, I sat on the back seat beside a stack of gift-wrapped packages.  While I’d been stuck in that baby’s crib, being told to HUSH by every nurse who came by, mother and the driver had become good friends and they had gone shopping together at Ward’s toy department and bought presents for me.

I thought their presents were neat.  The Gene Autry cap pistol and real leather holster were great, even though caps were hard to get and firing them irritated our neighbors.

For some time after the incident I dreamed of flying.  I would fly from the street in front of our house, soar over the vacant lots and our club house and sail right over the city and out over the bay to the Naval Air Station on North Island and land in the midst of fighters and sea planes as gracefully as a gull.  Flying home again I’d circle over Balboa Park to make the caged Condors envious and then land in my bed.


Blog at WordPress.com.