Home > One Last Word > Dad’s Broken Leg and His “All About Our Baby Book”

Dad’s Broken Leg and His “All About Our Baby Book”

Months had passed since Dad’s passing and I had returned to his house for the day.  Samuel and I were in town for a Spring Break to see my brothers, Jason and Rob.  While Jason and Samuel were playing a video game, I saw a pink hardback book with the words “All About Our Baby” on the cover.  I picked it up, figuring that it belonged to me or Jason.

I was wrong.  It was my Dad’s baby book.

I flipped through the pages reading the notes and comments from his mother, my grandmother.  She passed away when I was young and I have no memory of her, but here I am looking at her handwriting and reading her observations about my Dad as an infant.  I read the book with a personal curiosity as well as wondering if there might be a comment from her that I could include in the book I was working on about my Dad (One Last Word:  Finding My Dad Again).

According to her, as a baby he resembled his brother Douglas and he was named for Coy Roland, whomever that might be.  She commented multiple times throughout the book that he was “very healthy and fat.”  Once she wrote, “very healthy and so fat.”  She commented on his playmates and visitors as well as his favorite toy, a red firetruck.

But then I came to the section entitled “Christmas Celebrations.”  She commented that his third Christmas was his happiest as he finally came home from the hospital.  What?  He’d been in the hospital at age three?  Dad had never mentioned this.

I was left to wonder why he’d been in the hospital.  She didn’t elaborate on the reason for his hospital stay.

I continued reading the book and on the last page I came to the section entitled “Mother’s Remark’s.”  Here, she wrote more about that hospital stay.  On November 12, 1946, Dad, at age three, was hit by a car, and broke his right leg.  She commented no more on the accident than that.  A surgeon operated on his leg and put a plate on the bone.  He was kept in the hospital until December 14 and then he was in a cast for six and a half weeks.

Under these remarks, she put a line and wrote additional words.  Even though this was his baby book, she came back years later and wrote about another accident.  On April 13, 1957, he broke the same leg while in Honolulu, Hawaii.  Again, they operated on his leg and put in a new plate.  Once more, she doesn’t comment on the how or why of the accident.

The first time I read these words I was stunned.  I didn’t learn about a plate being in his leg until Christmas morning 1998 when Dad slipped on an icy sidewalk and fell on that same right leg.  The plate and the bone broke again.  When we later talked about the plate, he only mentioned the accident as a teenager and never mentioned being hit by a car as a three year old.

But I wasn’t surprised.  Part of the enigma of my Dad was that he withheld a part of himself from people.  He’d talk all day about some things, but then never mention these life-altering events and accidents.  He’s not here so I don’t know why he was like that.  I can’t ask him those questions.

For some, it might be the desire to put the painful events of the past behind us, hoping that they will stay hidden away in a book somewhere.  My Dad probably thought that he’d never have to deal with the effects of his twice-broken leg, but a slip on the ice changed all that.  His broken legs were with him his entire life.

And he’s not alone.  The wounds and the injuries a person sustains, however they may occur, cannot be hidden away and ignored forever despite our best efforts.  They eventually rise to the surface.  The plate put on the bone to keep the wound in place can break as well.  The band-aid falls off.  The emotions erupt.

But scars are good.  They show we’re human, they demonstrate we’ve survived.

Categories: One Last Word
    October 27, 2012 at 11:17 am

    I Can Remember The Time coy Was Running Behind A Bunch Of Older Kids On Leigh Street In victoria Courts On A Street where Back Then A Car Came By Every 10 Minutes. Didn’t know He Got hit Until we Were all Home-a Block away. The Second Time He Was Just walking Or jogging At
    Hickem Hawaii. It Just Broke. Was in Army Hospital a good While..The Third Time you Know About And The History Of That Rod That wasn’t Supposed To Break, But Did.. He Had His Bone Problem, didn’t He.. I’m Sorry He Didn’t Communicate More With You Boys, Cause we Talked About everything.

    • Chris
      October 28, 2012 at 7:52 am

      If he broke it in a motorcycle accident, he never told me about it, but that wouldn’t surprise me.
      As for not telling us, that’s just the way he was. He expressed his love through words, not actions.

  2. Rob
    October 27, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Didn’t he break his leg in a motorcycle accident too?

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