Life Can Turn on a Dime – Part 1

A Car is Required

It was a warm day in early September. The sun was setting on my little yellow Toyota Corolla as I drove the winding roads through the Georgia foothills. I was an active 18 year old on my way to embrace my second year of college. My first year was full of academics, adventure and astronomy as I worked part-time assisting in the planetarium. I looked forward to the leadership conference that would be held just prior to our new year.

There was a lot on my mind…my summer was spent basking in my love of the water as a life guard and swim instructor, as well as a hostess and waitress. In my spare time I chose to goof off and party a bit instead of staying focused on God as I had been for the prior few years. I needed to go back to school. I needed a ‘reset’ and boy did I get one!

Let’s step back a few weeks – Madge wanted a car. “What 18 year-old did not need a car?”. My parents thought it would be prudent if I went back to school without a car, but I disagreed and bought the functional, not so stylish, little vehicle. Sometimes we learn our lessons the hard way. Hindsight is always 20/20 – a new journey for me, my family and friends was about to begin. My unwise decision impacted me in a huge way, but I quickly learned that our choices impact others – family members, friends and classmates.  I’m not a parent, but I truly believe that my parents suffered more than I when they faced what was about to happen.

A Loss of Control

The slightly curvy road was more than my driving experience could handle that September evening. I ventured back and forth with both hands on the steering wheel and moved at a reasonable pace as dusk set in. My eyes were a little tired and I thought about stopping for a steaming cup of coffee before I continued on the more mountainous last hour of my ride. Then my vehicle moved near the yellow lines and I jerked the wheel to the right. “Oh my!”, I thought as the wheel was pulled to the left to compensate for the overcorrection to the right…and then again…right, left, right and left…and ‘BAM!’. The car tumbled on it’s left side and slid across the road onto the embankment on the right.

“Oh xvjt! I have wrecked my car! I’ll just get out and push the car upright and be on my way even if I have to flag someone down to help. I have insurance and can get any damage fixed.”, I reasoned. Can someone say stubborn and independent? 

As I lay immobile, my legs felt like they were straight up in the air and a collection of cheap metal clothes hangers I had packed in the car with my ‘back to school’ items covered my face. I tried to move the hangers but could only turn my neck, which I did repeatedly. Note to self – when your neck is potentially damaged don’t move it. Still thinking, “I’m sure I can get help from someone and be on my way. If I need a doctor, I have my own insurance and can take care of it. Mom and Dad don’t even need to know and won’t have a chance to say we told you not to buy a car. Hmmm, let’s see, what shall I do since I obviously can’t just jump out of the car…” I shouted, “Help! Help!” what seemed to be a thousand times before realizing no one could hear my muffled voice as they drove. As minutes became hoursI knew I would likely die without help. If someone found me I was certain everything would be fine and had no fear of paralysis.

You see a little over a year before my accident my father had a collision in the blue VW bug he used to teach me to drive in the high school parking lot a couple of years earlier. His accident sent the beetle to its grave. Dad went to the emergency room, but they missed the fracture in his neck!  I distinctly recall how he suffered from extreme pain the summer before I left for my freshman year. Within a month of my departure dad refractured his neck while playing basketball and a quick trip to the ER revealed the potentially paralyzing injury. He immediately was put in traction and admitted for surgery. This operation was the same surgery I would have a year later, but I would not walk away from it like he did.

On a mountain overlook: Me and Dad and his temporary neck brace the year before I wore one.

Guess what?
Mom and Dad never said we told you so and….I wasn’t scared.  Here’s Part 2.

17 thoughts on “Life Can Turn on a Dime – Part 1

  1. I remember when you had your accident like it was yesterday. What a life changing moment that was. You are as beautiful now as you were then. You are an inspiration to everyone you come into contact with.

    • Diana, thanks so much for your comment. I especially appreciate you and Robin and what a support you were for Brian. I always thought he went through a lot like my parents. He has always been there for me and is such a treasure and I know he misses Robin. We all have challenges, lady, and you have dealt with yours in such a graceful way!

  2. What year was that? I remember it so well, but it sounds so different when I read your thoughts. Your whole family wanted to make it all right. But you were the amazing one. What you accomplished and how you have blessed so many family and friends is a true inspiration to us all. Jack and I hope we will see you this spring/summer.

    • Dear Elaine, it was 1980! Can you believe it? Time passes so quickly…makes each day treasured, doesn’t it? Your children and grandchildren sure are growing and multiplying! You must enjoy them so much. Love to you and Jack and we do need to make our way up to visit you and your lovely new home!

  3. courage is one of the many things that I adore about you. I praise God for giving you the courage to tell your story. XOXO

    • Thanks Stephanie (aka super-mom)! Yep, guess it is a bit challenging to share in writing…My prayer is that my life ministers and helps others. So looking forward to our summer study!

  4. Your amazing life has inspired me greatly over the years. I am so thankful to have you as my prayer partner and very normal friend! Thank you for speaking to students and living out your testimony. You and Brent are incredible people to simply watch. I love you! Big prayers always 😉

  5. Madge,
    I went to high school with Brent. I have read some of your posts via what he has shared on Facebook. YOU are an awesome writer and a true inspiration. You are also a sister in Christ. Thank you for sharing your stories, and many blessings to you!

    Barb

    • Dear Barb, Wow, thanks for your encouraging comment! It means so much to me to know that someone is touched by what. God’s done in my life! A new friend and sister! Do you still live in the Clearwater area? Blessings to you, dear one.

  6. YES!! Thank you Maggie Baby for taking the time and having the courage to write your story. You are an incredible, woman of God. I’m so lucky that I get to call you my friend. When I saw the photo of you as the young girl, my first thought was: “Wow Madge looks a lot like Anne Marie.” Both of you are so beautiful. You are loved, & admired by SO MANY!!

  7. I’m hoping that this is the first chapter of a 12 chapter book. Madge you have so much wisdom, insight and you are such an inspiration.

  8. Hello~ I found your blog on Robin Roberts Gay’s blog. The name of your blog caught my eye and I can relate to Life Turning on a Dime. I enjoyed reading your story and would like to hear the rest of it. I will check back periodically to see if you have posted……..The Rest of the Story. God bless you and enjoy your day! I live in Snellville, Ga and met Robin in 2006. She is an awesome woman and I love following her life through the blog !!

    • Hi Brenda! So good to meet you and glad you enjoyed the post. I will likely post a bit more once a week or so and have other topics in between. Guess I should have let people know! Love Robin even though I don’t get to see her often. She is such a gift and I am so grateful for her blog. Blessings to you and hope to learn about your story…we all have one, don’t we?
      Madge

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *