As the rain came pelting down, the car windows kept steaming up. The rhythm of the windshield wipers acted like a hypnotic metronome keeping time to the raindrops and the fog.I was driving my new (to me) Karmann Ghia. I had just purchased it a month ago and hadn’t yet made the first payment. The car was German-made and imported directly from Germany. The body lines vaguely resembled the lines of the historic Corvair. It had a five-speed transmission, front-wheel drive, and an engine in the rear.
It was Monday morning and the big 18-wheelers kept flying by going in the other direction. It seemed they must be going faster than the posted fifty-five miles per hour. I had to hang on tight each time when their backwind covered me with water and I could feel the front end of my car lifting slightly. All my weight was in the back.
Music played softly as I drove on the curbed Iowa highway. I was heading back home to Madison, Wi. I had to be at work this morning. Good friends and I had spent time together the night before. We had stayed up until the wee hours telling stories and drinking wine.
When I awakened at 6 AM, to get in the car and travel to work in Madison, I was exhausted and in no mood to be awake. As I thought about the evening, my mind drifted to the fun we’d had and how tired I was.
The next thing I remember is waking up with my car traveling down the middle of the deserted, rain-soaked highway. I took hold of the steering wheel and yanked it hard to get it back into my lane. I over corrected and the car went down into the shoulder, hitting an embankment and taking all the glass out of the right side. I jerked again and this time my car swerved back onto the road and crossed the highway. I drove into the left-hand embankment and took all off the glass out of the left side. I swerved again and did two complete circles on the slippery highway. My car again went into the right-hand ditch and turned over on its’ side.
WOW…what just happened? Was I alive? Was I dead? One yes, and one no. I was strapped into my seat but all my possessions were scattered across the corn field ahead.
I had to crawl up and out of the window that no longer existed. With the power of the crash, I lost my shoes, my ring and the glasses I was wearing.
As I stood ankle deep in mud, I realized that nothing hurt so I must be fine. The backs of my legs were embedded with glass chards and my nylon stockings were in ribbons. I walked slowly up the bank, soaking wet and looked for a car to flag down. A farmer driving a flatbed truck came along and pulled over. He said “hop in and I’ll drive you into town to the police station.” I did and was grateful to leave the view of my cute new car resembling a pile of metal.
The farmer asked if I was all right. I said I was. He said it was a miracle because the car clearly was a mess. He pulled into the Highway Patrol Office and let me out. I thanked him and went inside. A very kind Trooper greeted me and asked if he could help. The officer drove me back to the site of the accident. He asked me questions all the way. I must have been a sight, no shoes, covered in mud and soaking wet. When we got to the accident site, the officer let out a groan. He said that I was lucky to be alive. Looking at the car, I realized both axles were broken, all the glass was gone and my little car was toast! I gave the officer the details and when I finished, he said he wasn’t going to give me a ticket. He figured I had enough to deal with already. I could have kissed him.
Now what? I was out of state. My parents didn’t know where I was and I was really going to be late for work. My problems were just beginning!