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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The helmet

This is not a nice story; it ends in two deaths. Stop here if you wish. 

I was surprised I found The Helmet on EBay. So surprised I said I knew what happened to my helmet. That was not necessary; it did not move the story along, but the helmet on the desk was something I remembered from that night.

When we bought the motorcycle that helmet was the only one of its kind. All the others were sparkly red or blue or black. That glitter was popular. Riding, I saw only one other, and that was somewhere in Missouri. We were going opposite directions through a large intersection. Each waved and pointed to our heads.

I said we were down to one car, and I used my motorcycle. I even picked Beth up from school, took her to day care and went back to work. Rain or shine. Come fall I knew I would not be riding the bike in winter. We sold it; Jim bought me a ten year old Chevy Corvair. The biggest mystery--how it became ten years old.

The helmet sat on a hall closet shelf. We divorced. The helmet sat on the shelf. My oldest and best friend, Carol, divorced not too long after I did. She had just come to work at my company as a temp; a few weeks in I told the president of the company he should hire her full time. He did. That was 1972; my divorce 1973. Hers, probably 1974.

Carol met a fellow somewhere. His name was Carl. They were together at least a year. Carl was a biker; I believe that's all the transportation he owned. He admired the helmet sitting on the shelf, I sold it to him. Carol and Carl eventually broke up. He had more women on his string than her. She was crushed.

In retrospect, I cannot remember Carol ever being a passenger on that bike. I may ask her, though the fact also doesn't advance the story. Or the Corvair, or the divorce, or Beth and day care. They're all just padding to avoid the end. Carol came rushing into the house one night, hysterical. There was an accident; Carl and his passenger were dead. A picture in the paper included that helmet, shattered in many pieces.




23 comments:

  1. Hari OM
    I can only imagine what was going through your head when you saw it - then and now. Wow. Thanks for telling us though - not everything has to be bright and beautiful on the tapestry that is blogging life. You did this appropriate service. Nice style for a dark moment. YAM xx

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  2. Sparkly helmets, Corvairs and biker boyfriends all live on borrowed time.

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  3. Terrible story. Wow. My Dave has a motorcycle - it scares the crap out of me but I like it, too. That helmet was pretty darn cool. Too bad it couldn't save him. ox

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  4. A horrendous ending for the helmet....and the people too of course. I can see that picture of the helmet bringing it all back to you like it was yesterdayl

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  5. That rather took my breath away... A tragic story very well told.

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  6. Many metaphors here. Helmets are no absolute when it comes to such accidents. Glad you didn't have it anymore. Well-told, Joanne.

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  7. All stories don't have happy endings.... but when they are told well, the folks reading or listening to them, come away with many thoughts... sometimes even apply those thoughts to their own lives.... You tell the stories of your life so well... I am always ready to hear more.... even the sad parts.

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  8. Thank you. There are stories like this one in my biking past, and you have brought back some bitter-sweet memories today.

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  9. Joanne,
    A story well told as always, memories from my past best left forgotten.

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  10. Motorbikes are killers, I loved to ride on them when I was young but have lost friends that way, sad but true.
    Merle .............

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  11. Wow, what a story. In retrospect, I guess it was a good thing Carl and Carol broke up, but sad as to the demise of the helmet and the loss of two lives.

    betty

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  12. Thanks for this story, Joanne. You did it justice, as you always do ... but at a cost, I'm pretty sure. But thank you.

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  13. Today I saw a first grader who lost his dad two years ago...motorcycle crash.

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  14. How awful! Thanks for the story. You told it well. I cried at the end

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  15. A sad story Joanne. Helmets are supposed to save lives, but that doesn't always happen. I've never heard of a helmet shattering. I remember my own bike accident, so minor I had no injuries, but my helmet collected a streak of paint from the car. My youngest brother died on his bike, he fell asleep so close to home after a long ride from interstate.

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  16. Helmet or no helmet, EMTs call motorcycle riders 'organ donors'. I don't think motorcycle riders are more prone to accidents but they are more likely to be fatal. I'm glad you got rid of yours before the odds caught up with you.

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  17. Looks a bit like one of the helmets from Easy Rider. Hard not to have some memories like this when one has lived to a certain age, I guess.

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  18. Dear Joanne, my cousin Kay had diabetes and was on dialysis for several years--3x a week. A friend offered a kidney but the surgery wasn't effective and her body rejected. She never wanted a friend to feel as bad as the donor did then. And so she opted to get her name on the list for a kidney from a cadaver. One night the call came. A young man had died in a motorcycle accident. It was his kidney that enabled her to live for several more years. I so hope that out of the tragedy you've described came new life for someone. Peace.

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  19. You told the story in the right way.

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  20. Oh gosh! What a story. My brother refuses to wear a helmet and it drives me crazy. He says he'd rather die quickly than live with a broken up body. Like I said. It makes me crazy.

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