Sunday, January 30, 2011

Harris Hill

Memories..they are fading fast. I used to be able to list all the teachers I ever had, at least in elementary school and now I am drawing a blank particularly around 5th grade. Not that that matters. But one memory still is firmly in my mind: the day I saw a plane crash on Harris Hill. Harris Hill is one of the oldest gliderports in the US. It is near Elmira NY, which is not far from Corning where I grew up. My father would take me there. He liked to photograph the gliders. But the plane that crashed was a tow plane as I heard its sputtering engine as it made a downward arc  sideways in the sky landing in some trees maybe a half mile away from me. The pilot must have reported trouble as firetrucks were already headed towards the trees. What year? I think 1958, but it could have been a year later or earlier. I was on the porch of the information center. I remember the panelling and the coke machine. I was drinking some Coke..a rare event in itself. Everything about that moment was so clear. I was young but I knew what I was witnessing was very bad and scary. I don't remember if I heard the crash though. I remember asking the next day whether the pilot died and I was told that the trees cushioned the crash but my parents weren't very upfront with me about reporting deaths. My pet turtle had died around that time. When I asked my mother where it was, she said that the turtle had told her that it was tired of living in a bowl and wanted to live somewhere outside. I wasn't aware that turtles could talk and even if they did, you didn't have to do what they say. I tried to look this accident up on the internet, and found  nada. My father is dead so he can't confirm this either.

While working out today at the Y, I ran into a former triathlon  training partner who also is a BC survivor, ten years now. When I first got BC, I thought about contacting her but I had felt guilty that I hadn't done anything for her while she was doing chemo. Our friendship had sort of sputtered out by then but still it was not a good excuse. She still had to work, had two small children and I think her POS husband had left her by then. They didn't have Neulasta in those days so she was very sick most of the time as her white blood cells were killed off by the Red Devil. Bad, bad Sue. When I first was diagnosed, it crossed my mind that this was karma for neglecting her and another woman. Of course I didn't know exactly what was going on at the time but I should have reached out. We compared notes, which was interesting. Treatment has changed quite a bit in the past ten years.

It is sunny out now..very pretty. Josh and Julia are making a belated birthday dinner for Steve. I had reminded him a few days before that his father's birthday was coming up but he said I needed to remind him on the day of. Hmmm.

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