Early Years – Memories of Elizabeth Westlin (Guion) Zabel (2) – 1922 – 1964

SOL - Very Young Biss with broken arm

Elizabeth Westlin (Guion) Zabel, right after she broke her arm

When I was five, Lad and George Brellsford, and I think Dan, were on the fence behind the grape arbor, which was to the left of the incinerator.  They were picking grapes, sitting on the fence picking grapes.  I came over and I wanted to climb up on the fence to, because the grapes were much nicer on the top than they were on the bottom.  They told me I could pick them from the bottom … so I climbed up on the fence.  When I got to the top, I fell over into Dan Ward’s field, and evidently, my elbow hit a rock, because every single solitary bone was broken, so it was just hanging loose.  George looked over and said, “Hey Al, your sister broke her arm.”  I can remember my arm spinning just as fast as it could spin.  I was trying to get up because I was afraid Dan Ward was going to come with his gun and shoot me if I didn’t get over on my side of the fence.  And of course, I couldn’t do it.  So anyway, they picked me up and took me into the house.  Mother wasn’t home and I was lying in the living room, on the couch.  I don’t remember any pain; I was probably in shock because I don’t remember any pain at all.  I guess Mrs. Parks called Mother, wherever she was, Mother and Dad, and they came home.  Evidently, Rusty (Heurlin) was there but I don’t remember Rusty.  They told me that he carried me in his arms, cradled me in his arms all the way to the hospital so that I wouldn’t get jiggled.  I can’t remember that at all.

When we got to the hospital, the Doctor was going to cut my dress off and I was not about to let them cut my dress off because it would kill my dress.  Mother said, “But I can sew it back together.”  And I said, “But it won’t be the same.  You can’t do that.”  Obviously, they cut it off and then the nurses made the biggest mistake they ever made.  They said, “Don’t look at the light,” so I had to look at the light to see why I wasn’t supposed to look at the light.  I can remember to nurses holding my head down so I couldn’t.  I was moving and squirming so I could finally get to see that light.  Anyway, they set my arm and I think I spent one day in the hospital, I don’t think I spent more than that.

For some reason or other, I thought the doctors and nurses lived at the hospital.  There was a school across the street and you could see the kids playing outside.  I thought those were the children of the doctors and nurses.  You could hear their voices, you know, playing out there.

I had to go to the bathroom and I held it and held it.  I kept watching the door and waiting for Mother to come.  It was getting worse and worse.  I was afraid I was going to wet my bed.  I was wiggling and squirming, and I finally saw her coming.  I thought, “Oh, good, and I told her, “I have to go to the bathroom.”  She said, “Well, why didn’t you tell one of the nurses?”  I said, “I couldn’t do that!”

I can remember them giving me ice cream.  Rusty gave me a little letter (I had it for years, but I don’t know, it’s probably gotten lost in some of the moving).  It said, “Here are two nickels for you to spend anyway you want”, or something like that, and it had two nickels in it.  Then they gave me ice cream which was a big treat so I enjoyed that hospital stay, outside of having to go to the bathroom.  I felt like a little queen, you know, with everyone waiting on me.  I got a Teddy Bear … It was really something special.  I should break my arm every week.

Next weekend, I will continue the Early Years with Memories of Elizabeth Westlin (Guion) Zabel.

Tomorrow, I will move on to 1944. All five of Grandpa’s sons are in the service of Uncle Sam. 

Judy Guion


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