Lucky

In 2007 Jeremy and I were in a car accident on Thanksgiving day. Actually we were in two accidents, but they were very close together, so let’s just call it an accident. Jeremy ended up with a concussion and I had pretty bad whiplash and we got to ride in expensive American ambulances to my hometown hospital where my old babysitter did our cat scans.

My dad came to get us at the hospital that day. He found Jeremy for me and made sure he was okay. He got the nurses to let me get up and use the bathroom before the doctor okayed it. Later he drove us to the pharmacy where I got my pain pills and on the drive home he told me it was fine to take vicoden with wine (My father was not a doctor. It is not actually okay to take vicoden with wine, do as I say not as I do and etc). And as he drove us home along I 69 he listened to me bitch about my unluckiness for a little bit before cutting me off and saying, ‘No, Carolyn, you aren’t unlucky. You’re very lucky. You’re alive and you weren’t even hurt that badly and your nieces weren’t in the car and you’re going to be okay.’
This is a paraphrase, it was 2007 when it all happened, okay, also vicoden and wine.
The point is, I’m remembering that conversation today as it’s the 3rd anniversary of his death and I’m trying to remember how lucky I am to have had my dad around for as long as I did. How lucky I am to have all these stories about him, to have known him and learned from him and laughed with him and to have been his daughter.
Today still sucks, no doubt about that, and it sucks that we didn’t have as much time as we wanted with him but I’m grateful for the time we did have. For the stories I’ll always have, even if one of them features him calling my very tasteful tattoo a tramp stamp (Whatever, Dad, GOD!).

He was a good dad. I am lucky he was mine.

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6 responses to “Lucky

  1. April Cook

    I came across what seemed to be a random post the other day regarding a lovely explanation of what it’s like being awash with nostalgia describing Port Huron, MI to a UK native that hasn’t the slightest notion about where your from (and possibly doesn’t really care). And I was impressed by the writing and I wondered whose words they were and I saw that they had been written by none other than the best author in the Lighthouse Newspaper of Port Huron High School I was incredibly fortunate to have shared a classroom with many, many years ago. I’m glad to read you’re alive and lucky. My guess is, you won’t remember who I am, but once upon a time my last name was Fowlkes and I was quite fat. I admired your quick wit and intelligence then, and I’m glad to see you possess it now. All the best to you, Carolyn.

    • carolynintheuk

      Hi April! I do remember you, I was super jealous of your hair which I probably never said at the time because I was always trying to be all serious and editorial and whatever, so you should know I thought you had gorgeous hair and also lots of artistic talent. Thank you so much for getting in touch, and for saying such nice things, it’s really good to hear from you regardless of those nice things. I hope you’re well.

      • April Cook

        My hair? Ha! Thanks for saying that. I always felt such a tremendous need to put a bunch of time into it because I was convinced my worth was in physical beauty and that I didn’t really possess any. I think I was so deeply entrenched in our high school’s caste system that I was afraid to say anything to anybody, let alone you, and I very much admired you and thought you were kind.

        I am a wife and mother in Columbus, OH. Its neither an exotic nor brave existence I’m eking out here, but I love my husband and son (4) and I can’t conceive of trading housewifery for anything in the world at the moment. Even if I could, I don’t think I’d change it. I’m curious (and if you don’t mind my asking) what took you to London? A job? Your education? Love? How’s life there? :)

        • carolynintheuk

          We ended up here because my husband was offered a job in London after he finished his PhD. So basically it was mechanical engineering and consumer safety that brought us here. Pretty glamorous, huh? Mostly life is very normal here. I work 3 days a week at the moment and occasionally hang out with friends but mostly spend time making fart noises with my 20 month old (he’s very sophisticated).

          High school was such a weird world. It’s funny to be told you thought I was kind, I mostly remember myself as being kind of grouchy and frustrated (but maybe that was just around deadlines).
          Regardless, you couldn’t pay me to be 17 again. I am so glad to have made it out of those years mostly in tact

          • April Cook

            You didn’t come across grouchy and frustrated – you came across as someone significantly older than the rest of us. You had the vocabulary and demeanor of a grad student, and the teachers I saw you interact with seemed to treat you with that special appreciation only a teacher can have for a better than good student. You never came across as campy or stuck in quite the same rut as the rest of us. I had spent so much of my time cultivating what I hoped to be a near invisible status (to avoid the constant taunting I’d endured for my weight and going around with a “please kick me” sign broadcasting somewhere above my head), that I stealthily watched everyone around me to try to figure out what made them tick. Might come across as weird to you, but I couldn’t quite figure you were out. You were different. And yes, I thought you were nice. I thought you were nice because you didn’t seem the sort to hate others based on their material lack or appearance or even poor performance, and no I didn’t think you were Jesus sent down in female form, but you seemed mature and human and somehow unscathed by it all and I couldn’t help but admire that. Plus, you could write better than anyone else I knew at school…and nothing a reader appreciates more is an excellent writer.

            I hated school with every ounce of my being, and I’ve been glad it’s been over (and perhaps recovering from the effects of it) ever since. After all, being abused at home and feeling like an outcast at school is an incredibly horrible place to be growing up.

            Very cool that you’re married to a mechanical engineer. My husband happens to be an industrial designer. He started out in the mechanical engineering program at OSU, then changed course and has regretted it ever since. He has precisely the anal retentive defeatist yet problem solving personality required for that sort of job, and I’ve little doubt your husband and mine could find something in common.

            I’m sure you’ve caught the tone I admire where you live, and I do. People are people just about anywhere in the world, and I can only imagine the differences between a white UK native and a white US citizen aren’t necessarily tremendous. Still, the sun once never set on the British Empire and they really are the source that started the fires here at home in a lot of ways. Do you ever feel the history around you, the souls of so many having walked the streets before? I mean, sure, I’m waxing poetic, but having never stepped knowingly on soil continuously occupied for more than 500 years, the assured layers of London’s historied streets appeal to me from afar. Couple that with the vast population of London, with it’s uniquely international communities and problems…You’re living out a change of pace very few Port Huronites will ever experience and you have the faculties to be able to appreciate it. How cool is that?

            I understand the lack of pretentiousness and sophistication in being a parent. Fart noises are fun! My son Jonathan is turning four March 1st. I’m ever so grateful for him being past the trying to sneak up the stairs every few minutes just to learn how to climb them stage, but I already can’t help but miss it. I didn’t really know if I wanted to be a mother to a son (little girl’s clothes are just so stinking cute!), but giving birth to one helped change all that.

            Thanks for talking to a bored mother. I’m sure you’ve heard it’s been a hard winter here in the states. Columbus is further south so we don’t usually have so many storms and temperatures in the teens normally, but this year we’ve been cooped up indoors. I’ve been going out of my mind.

            So are you writing in a published and paid capacity right now? I hope you are. The Great Lakes blog was fab ;)

            • carolynintheuk

              Hey, I plan to reply to this but have been running around a lot and haven’t had time to sit and respond. Can I have your email address? Mine is carolynintheuk @ gmail.com

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