P.S. TH Jr. send’s his best
regards to you all in Trumbull.
Thurs., Mar. 16, 1939
I have received all of your letters and the correct succession with two of them arriving on the same day about two weeks ago. I am very sorry I have not acknowledged their receipt and never realized it until I got yours just a few minutes ago saying so. Hereafter, I shall do so, I hope.
As you can see, despite the fact that I told you I thought I’d leave Caracas, I’m still here and still waiting for Maxudian to make a personal loan. Personally I don’t think I’ll get out of here until next Tuesday or Wednesday. When the gov’t. Has made its first payment. We have been promised a little then by the officials, but by now I’m very skeptical and until I see it, I’ll take no one’s word. The amount, since it is small is to be used to pay current debts, T.H. Jr.’s Doctor Bill, and take care of salaries, if possible to the end of June. But, don’t get too excited. Anyway, I don’t think you will. You will have to see to believe. I sincerely hope you get something from it. Thereafter, the rest should be forthcoming quite regularly and T.H. Jr. things that by the middle or latter part of April everything should be paid in full.
Today has been a red letter day for me, since the boat docked yesterday, and I received three long letters. Yours, one from Ethel Bushy telling of Carl’s entrance into business, Mr. Wang’s accident and her father’s sickness, and another from Marie Page giving a great deal of news and also saying that the Page family has gone into the home-baking business and are making out quite successfully. Their biscuits and roles are selling like “hot cakes”. Why don’t you pay them a visit. It might be well worth your while. Apparently they are fine otherwise. (The Pages, I mean.)
I’m terribly, terribly sorry that the news of Ted Human’s accident has not reached you and that I seem to be an accomplice. I hereby prove myself innocent, in writing. In the first letter to Helen Human I asked her to please explain to you and the rest, in detail, and also stated, to save postage, I would enclose all the news in the letters to her and she could relate them to you. The thought of secrecy never entered my mind. Here it is in detail, by memory, which may be poor.
On February 21 at 4 AM Ted Human set out for Carora to get the information necessary for government acceptance of our plans, and which, later on, I had to secure, and was to return Saturday night or Sunday morning. Sunday afternoon passed and I began to feel a little worry, but cast it aside, blaming the delay upon the fact that the carnival was in full swing.
Late Sunday evening I got a call saying that Ted Human had been in an accident. Then Monday morning Mr. Brito called again and said he was seriously hurt, that I was to locate our truck and leave pronto to offer assistance. At 2 PM I still had not found the truck – I later discovered that the garage, not expecting that it would be used over the holiday – had loaned it out to some carnival merrymakers. Brito said that since it was so late, we might as well wait for further news. It was not long coming.
Brito called after supper saying he had received word that Bill Rudolf and Ted Human had left Barquisimeto and would be in Caracas Tuesday morning. I was to help him as much as possible to locate good doctor and hospital and make arrangements for immediate treatment upon their arrival. Monday night was weeks long and early Tuesday Brito called again and said he had completed all arrangements. I waited all morning in the hotel patio, jumping every time I heard car stopping near the hotel, but at noon they still had not arrived. I ate a little because I knew I should, and waited some more. About 2:30 they arrived and I took them immediately to the Clinic Rusetti where Dr. De Ballard, an American citizen, was waiting. He is a very prominent Dr.
He examined Ted Human and reported that he had received a cerebral concussion, contusion of the liver, and internal injuries, and due to the injuries or exposure, was suffering from bronchial pneumonia. His condition, he said, was “serious but not desperate”. A later report, at about 9 PM, said Ted Human would recover and already showed definite signs of rallying. Wednesday morning he was definitely out of danger. From then on improvement could be seen by the hour. Thursday evening I spent possibly an hour with him and from what he said and what I saw on my trip that Friday, I learned just what had happened
A Caterpillar road patrol, working on the left side of the narrow road, forced Manuel to drive onto the right shoulder. There, too much speed and loose gravel started a skid. Manuel, with his quick native nervousness acted too quickly and missed the brake pedal, opening the throttle wide. Then he managed to straighten the car out but he was so scared he did not take his foot from the gas pedal until Ted Human kicked his ankle, apparently very hard.
By that time the bridge directly before the grader was too close to get onto. In the sloppy Venezuelan custom the walls had been built the full width of the road but only flooring for one side had ever been laid, and, of course, it was the left side in this case. Due to the upgrade approach and the fact that there was no sign, as usual, and not even a post – not a thing – to warn one of which side of the narrow bridge was planked, Manuel was on the wrong side. Only the left wheels of the car got on the flooring and then only by 2 inches.
By the time the car got about 15 feet out and had started to tip Ted Human had nearly lost consciousness. He will almost swear, though, that at this point, Manuel managed to pull on the emergency, open the door and get out. But he will probably never know absolutely. According to what I can learn, the accident happened at 3 PM and for one hour Ted Human was unconscious. Then he, with help, walked to a car Manuel had stopped, and was driven 30 km back to Barquisimeto.
Upon arrival there, I am told, he was green – probably just extremely pale – and absolutely cold. The lower part of his body was apparently dead and the rest going fast. Two doctors were called immediately and after a few injections, Ted Human says he heard them say that it was useless and he would be dead in the morning. That was the changing point. Up until then he decided little by little that he might as well not try to fight. It took too much energy. But when he heard that, he says, the natives are always wrong, so he decided to show them just how wrong they were.
He lived on injections Saturday and Sunday, and, feeling better, he persuaded Bill that he was strong enough to undergo the trip to Caracas, saying also that he would feel much better in Caracas. No ambulance was available so finally on a bed strapped in the back of the station wagon, they left Barquisimeto on Monday night at about 730 or eight. They traveled all night and as I said, arrived here Tuesday afternoon. On the way, Ted Human says that actually hundreds of times, if he wanted to, he could have passed on. He can’t explain the feeling, but he knows it.
You know the rest until the day I left for camp. During the week I was gone, he improved immensely and even told the doctor that he had a broken rib and showed the exact place, which the doctor confirmed with an x-ray photo. Upon my return he was much better and after spending 16 days in the hospital, returned to the hotel. Now he is very rapidly gaining strength and says he can feel the additional strength each morning. Today he did not rest at all and even now at 10:30 he is in bed but reading. In a couple of days he’s going to attempt to go into the center of Caracas to see a friend of his. I hope that answers, fully enough, your curiosity about Ted Human but if you want more, just ask for it I’ll do my best
Well Dad, good night, don’t worry and sleep tight. More soon, perhaps from Corora.
If I were in the same position as my grandfather, I know I would have thought, probably more than once or twice, that it could have been one of his sons in that car, instead of Uncle Ted Human and I would probably second-guess the decision to allow them to travel so far from home to find work. Have you ever had, or do you know someone who has had, a brush with death? I had a car accident which might have resulted in my death if so many people had not been where they were,, when my daughters were young, and it changed my attitude and priorities in an instant.
Tomorrow I will post a letter from Aunt Helen (Peabody) Human to Lad.
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