Mayday! Roger That.

My car story is from long ago, but burned into my memory.
My sister had a long-time friend who had moved overseas for a short time with her family, then returned to the States. She did not come back to our area, but stayed at her grandmother’s farm several states away. One day my sister decided rather suddenly to take her friend up on the offer to “visit her any time” and through a botched job of communication, we ended up there with a couple of young men; one, in tow with my sister and the other was the boyfriend of the friend, who happened to live near my house. He was a couple of years younger than she was, but she was still very much a “sweet young thing”.
The grandmother played hostess and did the best she could. It was without question that we young ladies were to stay in the friend’s room, the two fellows in the only guest room. Unfortunately, the young men had not met each other before and the idea of sharing a double bed was not something they were looking forward to. They stayed up most of the night talking and where or if they ended up sleeping, I don’t know, but we all needed to head back home the next evening. It was decided that I should ride with Roger-the-boyfriend, as he was tired and alone, and my sister and the other friend wanted to talk.(They were not a couple; he was trying to warn her off of her then-boyfriend, and he was right!) I had no problem with that. I had known the nice young man as he had gone to school with my brother and he had no interest in my 14-year-old self. (I was late bloomer, not a Lolita). Roger seemed relieved to have company.
I may have failed to mention that we were in the hills of Pennsylvania and soon a thick fog rolled in, making visibility impossible. All I could see was where the headlights managed to penetrate the whiteness at the very front of the car, just enough to see the white line at the outside edge of the road. Roger had a heavy foot on the gas pedal; we needed to get back and we had left late. How he saw enough to keep us on the curvy, deeply descending roads, I will never know. My sister and friend followed our every move. If we had gone over the edge, they would have as well.
I may also have failed to mention that upon entering the car, (which would now be a classic, back then, it was just old), I did not think the passenger door had shut. Roger assured me that although it didn’t sound like it shut, it was. According to him, ‘it did that’. I wasn’t so sure and when we slowed down, (which wasn’t often), I’d chanced opening and slamming the door to shut it tightly. Every time, it sounded less and less like it was catching. As I had been sitting against the door in the beginning, I schooched closer and closer to Roger, and tossed my purse, then jacket and snacks in the back seat to get farther and farther from the untrustworthy door. The fog continued for over a hundred miles. I was near panic.
My sister had been trying to watch through the fog from the car close behind. When we stopped for gas, I explained. She had wondered what was going on, with her kid sister cozying up to her friend’s [really cute] boyfriend.
Finally, we got out of the mountains and the fog. After another stretch of road Roger said that he was tired…no, he was sleepy…so sleepy that his eyes were watering. I got the giggles, he got the giggles. I blew a whistle I had with me, I hit on him… (no, literally, when he refused to pull over, I whopped him over the head with a notebook.) Somehow, we made it home in one piece; I was worried about him making it the couple more miles to his place, but he said I had pretty much gotten him awake by then.
A few months later Roger came to my house with a mutual friend of my brother’s. He said, “Hey, you know my car passenger door? Maybe you were right…It’s flown open a couple of times.”
To this day I can’t hear the name ‘Studebaker’ and not feel a jolt.


About Tonette Joyce

Tonette was a once-fledgling lyricists-bookkeeper, turned cook/baker/restaurateur and is now exploring different writing venues,(with a stage play recently completed). She has had poetry and nonfiction articles published in the last few years. Tonette has been married to her only serious boyfriend for more than thirty years and she is, as one person described her, family-oriented almost to a fault. Never mind how others have described her, she is,(shall we say), a sometime traditionalist of eclectic tastes.She has another blog : "Tonette Joyce:Food,Friends,Family" here at WordPress.She and guests share tips and recipes for easy entertaining and helps people to be ready for almost anything.
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6 Responses to Mayday! Roger That.

  1. jeff7salter says:

    Scary situation! I just knew that door would fly open as your driver careened around a left hand curve … and you’d end up tumbling out into the foggy ravine!
    Thank goodness you were safe.
    The moral: always trust your instincts … especially about Studebaker doors!


  2. tonettejoyce says:

    Yes, thanks, Jeff. Fortunately Roger was trustworthy…except for his judgment about his car door!


    • jeff7salter says:

      I have a friend who was somehow thrown from a car when the door opened. She was able to hang on to the door but was dragged for a distance. Sustained very serious injuries. Scary business.
      When I still traveled with our own nuclear family, I always locked all the doors before we hit the highway.


  3. Sounds harrowing. I’ve been on one similar with dense, dense fog, but at least my door was closed! I’m glad you made it safely.


  4. agartha1952 says:

    Took me awhile to get here this week…sort of like your trip in the car. I love the conversational tone. I was “right there with you.” (: I’m curious…you know, being the romantic-at-heart…whatever happened with the young man? It’s amazing as time passes just what we remember…although there are thunderstorms in life, I love the GOOD memories. I enjoyed this and smiled the whole way…even through the frightening parts…Wonderful read!!


  5. tonettejoyce says:

    Roger and Barb grew apart;she went with a fellow up there in PA named Larry, broke up with him and married another Larry, so she kept her ‘Larry” keychain and front license plate! Roger…I don’t know about Roger, although Nickie,(my sister, infor for the rest of you), says she saw him on Classmates…if you’re thinking ‘romance’ as Roger and me, no;that’s what made the trip so successful…there was never any tension or potential there at all. You will see the sister of friend who came to the house house to see John with him on my FB, though!


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