I promised on my last blog that I would tell the story of my Mom, Ramona. The story of my mom has been told to me all my life. My Aunt Doris told me her memories, my Mom told me her memories and my Grandma Elsie told me her memories. In 1991 my Grandma wrote Mom's story down. Mom wrote a few notes on what she could remember. I am so thankful I have these written versions and I will try to put her story into my own words but before I do that, I think it's important for me to write Mom's notes exactly like she has written them down.
" Working - Western Light and Telephone - Medicine Lodge, Kansas
evening, Decoration Day weekend, May 30, 1953
car wreck north of Chester 2 miles Hiway
Moreland Hospital by) resurfacing road
dirt on edge
Got in touch with Mom & Dad, they came to Moreland that night.
Nylon dresses - washed out
glasses in car broke from heat @ Howards
plastic over head (tent) shaved fr. hair, back long
pneumonia to OKC from Moreland
never do anything again, walk talk
last rights by nuns
chairs and pillows for bed
after came home mama, nervous breakdown
Tom Simons helped oversee chores
Assembly of God prayed Virginia Carrawridge
unconsous 52 days July 21-22
Dad worked for county
note The people that ran cafe in Chester were sitting out front of cafe as we went thro town. (on the west side of street)
Cliff & Violet Enterline
Brenda landed in soft shoulder
I hit pavement"
The end of my Mom's notes.
I was born in Medicine Lodge, Kansas on January 31st, 1953. My mom and dad were Leland and Ramona (Turner) Louthan. They were both young. My mom was 16 when I was born and turned 17 in April. I believe leland was about 21 or so.
In May of 1953, on Memorial Day weekend, we came to Oklahoma to visit family. Leland's family lived in the rural area around Chester, Oklahoma and Mom's family didn't live far from Chester - about 8 miles.
We spent Saturday night at Grandma and Grandpa Turner's and Sunday we went to Louthan's. We left their house after dark. Some say it was raining, others don't remember. When we got to "that bend in the road 1 1/2 mile north of Chester", Leland said he met a car with bright lights that never dimmed and he pulled too far off the road and hit the soft shoulder. The car started rolling, the door on the passenger side came open and I was asleep beside Mom on the front seat. When the door came open I slid out on the ground and my mom was thrown through the windshield and hit several yards away on a hillside. (Grandma says hillside in her notes but I've always been told she landed on the pavement) She landed on her jaw. The car stopped rolling where my Mom landed. Leland "rode the car thru" and didn't get hurt. I landed on the soft shoulder and didn't get hurt.
My Mom was unconscious. She broke both of her jaws. At Moreland, they put her in traction and had her on her back because they thought her neck was broken. This hospital wasn't equipped to handle such an emergency so they took Mom to Oklahoma City to St Anthony's in an ambulance as fast as they could take her. When they reached Watonga some police on motor cycles escorted the ambulance the rest of the way to St. Anthony's.
Once there the Doctor looked Mom over and said he didn't give her a chance. On the trip from Moreland to St. Anthony's she got pneumonia.
At this point my Mom had not regained consciousness. While in the hospital she had 2 brain surgery's. They never covered the holes in her skull with metal - or anything else and her skull never grew over the holes. To this day, you can feel the holes in her skull. This always fascinated me as a child!
They never set her jaws because they said she wouldn't be able to stand the anesthesia. (not sure how they did the brain surgeries) After a few weeks they finally put rubber bands and elasticized her jaws together as best they could.
Irene (Leland's Mom) went home after a few days to take care of me. My Mom was unconscious for 52 days. I've been told she was in hospital for 6 months but that's not in my Grandma's notes.
Grandma Elsie stayed in Oklahoma City much of the time my Mom was there. I've been told my Grandma stayed there the whole time but she didn't say that in her notes either. The Doctor told them that my Mom wouldn't live and if she did she would be a vegetable.
This was just too much pressure for my biological father. He asked for a divorce.
My Mom defied all odds. Grandma and family helped her relearn everything. As you read in my Mom's notes, she had to learn how to talk and how to walk. It was a long road but she persevered and recovered.
I had stayed with my Louthan Grandparents all this time my Mom was in hospital. Once she came back home and Leland insisted on the divorce - the story as I've been told goes like this - my Grandma Elsie went over to Louthan's - walked out to the clothes line and got all my diapers off the line, then walked into the house picked me up out of my bassinet and took me home with her. However Grandma's notes remember things a bit differently and I added those at the end of this blog.
I don't remember ever seeing the Louthan's again until I was a freshman in high school. I didn't see Leland until I was 25 years old. It was one of the most emotional , traumatic days of my life. I will never forget how I felt that day.
BUT - I am so proud of my Mom. She has had such a productive life. Here's a picture of her and my step dad. And that is another story for another blog!!!
My Mom and Dad
taken for their 50th wedding anniversary
(my Grandma gave me 6 pages of handwritten notes. Which includes interesting details about the hospital and other things that happened. I condensed the story for the blog. However, in her notes she says she didn't pick me up at Louthan's. She remembered that she had gone to Chester to take Mom her birthday present. ( apparently Mom was staying with Louthan's)
(and yes this was a year later and mom was still recovering) Irene told Grandma that Leland did want the divorce. Grandma was in Chester doing laundry and her sister Nettie stopped by to tell her she was going to Seiling and was going to stop at Louthan's and take Mom with her to town. Grandma told her not to take my Mom without taking me. So Nettie picked us up and took us to town - then to Grandma's. In the meantime Grandma went to Irene's walked out to the clothesline and took all my diapers of the line and left.)