Janet Harlow is killed in a car accident; she leaves behind 2 boys.
| Chapter One
Recently divorce, Janet Harlow, a 33 year-old mother of two boys, Bobby age 11 and Tommy age 14, for the first time since she was married she was employed. While feeling she is on top of the world right now, Janet bought a new car, which illustrates her new found freedom, and demonstrates her single-handed success. While standing there with her hand on her hip, Janet said, in a sarcastic tone, “No small accomplishment,” she was smiling, but continued, “for 1953.”
“Now c’mon boys,” she said,” just walk slowly and make sure y’all don’t peek.”
After a few more steps, and bumping into a wall, they were looking at her brand new 1951 pearl white and aquamarine Chevy Bel Air Low-Rider. “It’s a car,” one of them said. Nevertheless, (within minutes) they were out the door and lawlessly racing down the highway – they swerved a few times but recovered just in a nick of time.
While letting her hair down, Janet yelled, “This is better than any darn-o’ man!” She took her beach hat off, flung it straight out the window. Next, she lit a cigarette and put her sunglasses on. She exhaled a big puff of smoke like blowing through a straw, and yelled things, sexual things, at a passing jeep with three guys in bathing suits and beach towels.
Last, she was screaming frantically, “I am free at last.” While speeding almost twenty-five miles to fast, she lost control of the car. It was racing directly toward the side rail by the time she looked.
It’s worth noting, that Janet was treated for anxiety and depression for almost three years. She never did well under pressure, and often ran for her tranquilizers when she felt her stress level increased.
Unfortunately, in this moment Janet panicked. She was in a ‘do or die’ situation, which left no room for error. But, realizing she hit the gas by mistake, Janet screamed a loud, “Noooooo!”
Also, her fear of dying just shot through the roof, while they soared with the full force of a 454 engine –it was grinding so loudly, just like a mechanical demon destined for destruction. For an instance she knew that they were going to die. Also, during the last fractions of time, Janet yelled, “Get down boys and remember your momma loves you.”
Suddenly, their car hit; it was the hardest and loudest thump ever. In fact, it was so hard that the car over-turned two times. Windows exploded, and glass shattered everywhere; it was flying into the boys’ face and eyes. While it was slicing and cutting into their flesh, they were tossed about from the left to the right and back again. Unexpectedly, a large metal object punched right through the floor, and part of the front seat was crushed against their legs; needless to say, they were trapped.
Then, when the car did stop rolling over on its roof, it slid about 200 yards on the passenger side. Afterwards, it just stopped and there was a dead calm about this place for a few moments. However, that 1951 pearl white and aquamarine Bel Air Low-Rider was not so pretty any more.
Furthermore, Janet Harlow was thrown across the front seat, the back of her head was bleeding, which was caused when her head was smashed into the driver side window, and her left cheek bone was caved inward, when she was thrust into the steering wheel. She never had time to scream-out, because it was two quick and violently forceful actions. Now, it was obvious, Janet Harlow was dead.
Suddenly, when a woman saw Janet’s face, she screamed, the highest and loudest sound to be heard for a country mile, because she realized that Janet was seriously injured; perhaps, she was killed. She saw the blood on the back of Janet’s head and the damage to her cheek, but when she saw Janet’s eyes, staring into empty space and not blinking one time – she trembled in despair.
Within minutes, a crowd gathered and brought with them a pulsating mumbling chatter. Two onlookers calmed the screaming woman, but it took fifteen minutes before the emergency people began to arrive. As soon as they did, the mumbling was pushed to the background even further until the only voices heard were those of the firemen, the ambulance people, and the only policeman there. Even the boys were not conscious any longer.
The police officer, whom I’ll call John, looked over at the crowd; specifically, to a tall man with a bushy beard and long black hair. “JB, do you still have the hearse over by your place?”
“Yes I do, nothing until later-on at 3:45,” he replied. “You want me to run her over (to his funeral parlor)?”
John’s voice lowered in sadness, “Yea, she is no longer with us. I’m going to talk to some of these folks and see what I can find out here, then I’ll stop over on my way back to the station.”
John, spent about ten minutes talking to the crowd and writing a lot of things in his flip notepad. Then the ambulance took the two boys, and John dispersed the crowd.
Afterwards, a dreadful silence is all that remained; indeed, it was an eerie tranquility, it was as though, nature just held her breath and the Earth just paused for a respectful moment. Perhaps, even the Gods looked down in remorse, then they shed a tear before they too closed their eyes in sadness. It began to rain.
A lot of the folks talked about that day for a very long time, some even stopped into the police; occasionally, and asked about the boys and donated money or clothes. The baptist church on McCarthy Drive, held a Sunday service in memory of Janet; also, they held two monthly bake sales to help the boys.
Like all things though; eventually, that died down to a whisper and the stampede was no more. The church stayed the course though, they took a collection for the boys the first Sunday of every month; however, even the bake sales were down to one quarterly event,
Nevertheless, on Christmas morning the Women’s Auxiliary took the boys from the hospital to their mother’s grave-side. They placed a wreath on her grave and sang several church hymns, the loudest of them was ‘Just Another Walk With Thee;’ in addition to, Janet’s favorite Christmas songs, ‘Holly Jolly Christmas,’ and ‘Oh, Christmas Tree.’ One of the women, Miss Shelly Crosby, played a flute and another one, Miss Gina Ray, played a tambourine. But, all the while Bobby held a picture of his mother and both boys looked at it. Because they were heartbroken though, the two boys sobbed profusely, while the women held them close, they tried to comfort them and ease their suffering.
Another woman (from the Women’s Auxiliary), Mrs. Susan Rollins, took the boys to her home for Christmas dinner and she gave them each two gifts, a needle-point blanket, that she made herself, and a board game.
A neighbor stopped her, she called her Beth Ann, when she saw Susan and the boys step out of the car, and she said, “It’s a shame what happened to them boys. If only somebody would do something for them – it’s Christmas, after all.”
“Because it is Christmas, I thought I was doing something for them. How about you?” Susan replied sarcastically, but walking into her home she mumbled to herself, “Now, that was not very Christian-like.” Susan laughed out loud and Beth walked away angry.
Slowly the winter turned to spring, and it was a painful year, but thank goodness it’s behind them. Just like nature, sprouting new buds and growing new plants, and the animals, hatching new eggs, Bobby and Tommy; also, returned to life slowly. In fact, they improved enough that the hospital felt they were ready to leave, but they still needed to be watched over. The nurse called it ‘Guarded Condition.’ Therefore, the hospital sought-out a local family the boys could temporarily live with, while they continued to improve further; also, they needed to catch-up on missed school work – a year’s worth.
Without a second thought, the church came to the rescue once again; they turned to their congregation. Thank goodness, Mr. and Mrs Heims, who had two boys of their own, answered the call. They owned a farm, which was only five miles away in Henderson, and its primary crop was wheat. “There is plent-tee of room for the boyz,” said Caroline Heims.
Also, knowing their final destination is Kentucky, everyone involved; especially, the school, felt it would be a wise choice, so that they can adapt to living on a farm now. Additionally, a lot of folks thought that they needed to return to life as children, and not reliving the horrors of trauma, and remaining a victim (of an accident).