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Fresh light on history

January 21, 2014

Jan. 21, 2014

I thought by now that I would have gotten over my late uncle Carl Bonde’s death on Christmas Eve 1944 in the cold waters of the English Channel near Cherbourg, France.  I have not.  I still await news.  Emerging information can change history in profound ways.

Example: in 2007 while Penny and I visited the English Channel to visit the SS Leopoldville my older sister in Nebraska had crashed her Toyota at high speed into the side of a moving train.  Yes she was badly hurt:  broken jaw, rib, other painful injuries.  They had extracted her with hydraulic cutters and a photo was in the Scottsbluff paper.  

I knew the situation was avoidable.  She was bipolar, had just been released from a psychiatric ward, and was starting on new medications when she crashed her car.  Her daughter said the speedometer on her car showed she had been going about 60 when she swerved around 2 cars waiting at a railroad crossing.  She then crashed into the empty coal train car from the left lane.  My niece said speedometers these days stick on the max speed in a wreck.  My sister was not cited by the police which also griped me.  

My sister was unrepentant.  She would not confess to a suicide attempt.  Instead she said she couldn’t remember anything.  She said she was going to a bridge game.  Naturally I thought she was lying and I did not want her ever to drive again.  She needed close supervision while she recovered, then she needed to be in an assisted living place.  

Amazingly she said she intended to drive again.  My nephew promised to rip the wires from any car she might get.

Her daughter said she had gotten a bill from the railroad for damage to the coal car.  She threw it away.

My nephew and I drove her and her 2 dogs to Billings to stay with us.  Boxers Agatha and Duke.  Duke got loose in Buffalo, Wyoming, and my sister called him back to the car through her wired jaw:  “Dookie!  Doookie!”  

Here’s the amazing thing.  A couple of years later reports of other people wrecking their Toyotas at high speed because of malfunctioning accelerators made the news.  People in other parts of the country said their car would simply leap forward on its own.  Big scandal for Toyota.  Lawsuits.

I marveled at how the news of the Toyota malfunctioning changed my view of my sister’s mishap. Would she sue Toyota?  No, she said, adding that she could remember nothing of the wreck.


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