March 16, 1963
It was a day like any other, when your all of four years old, all days are the same. Those days were hard on my mother, very hard. She had so many dreams once, all crumbled to dust. After high school she wanted to continue her education. Woman of her generation, her social status, did not do that. They worked, usually dead end jobs, until marriage.
Once married, they popped out kids until their husband could no longer support the family on one paycheck. After which, it was back to another dead end job, this one part time, until the kids moved out. Hers was the part of the generation that lived through the 60's much as their parents had lived through the 40's and 50's quietly. More worried about making ends meet, than moving the ends. She remembers the 60's she spent it raising kids, not her consciousness.
Mom wanted more, put herself through a short business course, became a member of the 'pink collar class'. Working in an office might not have been the most exciting thing in the world, but it was miles away from what was expected of her. She worked with an early form of computers called - - <> an early type of super calculator. Wanting more, yet having a life like many others, the life most woman of her generation ended up having. She had a husband, two young children and a third on the way. Stuck out in the middle of no where in Holliston no where near family or friends, with no means of transportation.
Not that I am defending her, I am more placing her and I in the times we lived in. Kennedy was still in office, my parents were in their early 20's and life was by no means good. We were not getting by, not making ends meet, and not being effected by the world around us. Now I would be remiss if I did not mention the effect the 60's did not have on us. My parents are and were working class people. Not middle class, my father had dropped out of high school to find work. He is the eldest son of a large family, and after his father died his mother needed the financial assistance. She needed the second paycheck more than he needed the education.
I don't know if my mother was having a difficult pregnancy, not that I would have understood that anyway. She was in the habit of sending my brother and me outside expecting we would watch ourselves Something we were much to young to do.
My memory of the event is strong, I was standing by the barn at the distant curve of the driveway, two maybe three car lengths from the road. My two year old brother was with me, just the two of us out in the snow. My mother would take my brother out to the mailbox with her, checking for cars and letting him cross the street to get the mail. She was not out there when a mail truck came down the street, not our mail truck, just a mail truck came down the road. Our mail truck went slowly from mail box to mail box. This truck was traveling at normal speed along with the rest of traffic.
My brother saw the truck and I guess, decided to get the mail by him self. Running up the drive way, hidden by piles of snow he bolted out into the street directly into the path of the mail truck.
The mail man, and other drivers who witnessed the accident stopped. One went to get my mother, another to find a phone to call the police. I think he died instantly, for the body was left under the truck until the police arrived. It was not until the police arrived that any one even noticed me, hiding by the barn. Someone, I don't remember who, I think it was a police woman, or one of the witnesses stayed with me while my mother went to the hospital with the body. That person stayed until they could find first my father, who went to the hospital, then my grandmother who came to take care of me.
I hid in the shadows for a while, when I could. As the only witness I had to tell the police what happened, and then the inquest judge. Finally I attended the wake, and the funeral mass. My grandmother Dumas, my father's mother, use to tell me how it broke her heart to see my at the wake, constantly standing there confused as to what was going on, and yet being forced to stand there and tell people what happened. She told me she tried more than once to take me out of there, but that my mother's mother argued I should stay. It was if she was punishing me for not being the one who died. That part I do not remember, but I have been told about it so many times I do not doubt it to be true.
Each family handled it in a different way, my father's side of the family does not blame me for what happened. We don't discuss it much, he is never brought up. Unless I bring the events of the day up, or his history. My mother's family does not mention his name, but still actively seethes with naked fury that I got away with murder.
I was reminded of that yesterday, when showing a picture of my beloved Byron to my aunt, her only comment, “Do you let him run in traffic too?”
I don't know enough about the mental state of a four year old. I don't know what I was doing before the accident, just what I was doing after. Today I understand the concept of murder and manslaughter, I doubt very much I did that day. What I do understand is a terrible accident happened that day, one that could have been prevented, just not by me.