RIDERS ON THE STORM | #AtoZCHALLENGE (R) #MusicalMemories

49 Comments#AtoZChallenge 2017, #MusicalMemories, Memoir, Music, Writing/Blogging
Musical Memories #AtoZChallenge 2017
Welcome everyone, to the #AtoZChallenge Blogging Extravaganza, where hundreds of bloggers publish 26 posts in 30 days, one for each letter of the alphabet, covering a myriad of topics! “Musical Memories” is my theme. Click HERE to see all posts and HERE to view the A to Z Blog. Please support our efforts by visiting, sharing and commenting. We have all worked long and hard on this project. Have fun and thanks for reading!
Day 18, April 21

The time: Spring, 1971
The place: Toronto suburbs

The “She” Chronicles are jagged fragments of my life, using third person narrative, for the sake of emotional detachment. Today’s offering is the conclusion of Episode Two, started with the ‘I’ post on April 11:

One day, they stopped at a Dodge dealer’s lot to admire a bright red Charger Super Bee. It was spring, 1971 when muscle cars roamed the streets. His best friend had just acquired a purple one. “I’ve saved enough for a down payment” he crowed. “That baby is mine!” Little did she know what lay in store.

1971 Dodge Charger Superbee Red 2-a_jpg_jpg

The courage to end it mustered itself when he picked her up one night, sporting a bad mood. They headed straight for the drive-in and parked way in the back, as usual. He hadn’t uttered more than two or three sentences up to that point and started groping her. She forcefully pushed him off.

“Is that all I’m good for, to you? Why can’t we ever have a conversation, or go out on a real date? I don’t want to do this anymore!” Her eyes flashed angrily.

He looked annoyed, to say the least. “Oh come on, you know you like it. We never pretended this was anything more than sex.”

She shook her head. “I’m done with it. Take me home!”

He was furious now and pulled out of the stall, tires squealing. They spoke no words along the way. When they arrived, she got out and dramatically slammed the door without looking back.

They never spoke again.

stock-footage-frustrated-couple-share-car-ride

A couple of weeks later, there he was, zooming down the road in his shiny new car, followed closely behind by his friend, in the purple one. She battled mixed feelings, but relief won. This little interlude had played itself out and it was time to move on.

Exactly one month after the breakup, under the influence of too much alcohol, he ran off the road and flipped that shiny new car, over and over again, severely injuring three passengers. Word leaked out that he had survived the crash, but was in critical condition.

Shocked and saddened, she waited tensely for further news at the local hangout. This was the first time anyone close to her had been seriously hurt. Impatient, she called the hospital herself, pretending to be a relative.

“We’re so sorry. He passed away this morning.”

WreckRedCar8_2_05

The world ground to a screeching halt and her heart dropped into the pit of her stomach. She stood, riveted to the floor for what seemed like hours. Was this real? She had watched him drive by the other day and thought how great he looked behind the wheel of that car. Now, he and the car were both gone!

Grief overwhelmed her.

Then she started thinking.

What if they had still been going out together? She could have been in the car that night and also killed! Or, he probably wouldn’t have had that much to drink. He only did that when he was with his buddies.

What if he hadn’t purchased the car? That big block V8 was mighty tempting to a speed demon, but his father’s little Nova had no such accoutrements. He may have been more careful with it.

What if…

What if…

What if…

Do you ever ask yourself that question?

He was only 21…

Playing on the radio at the time; a fitting, tragic song:

 

To be continued in the ‘V’ post on April 26th

Have you ever been shocked by a sudden death?

Looking forward to your comments!

Debbie

The Doglady’s Den #AtoZChallenge 2017 Youtube playlist:
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Canine Innkeeper in suburban Toronto, Canada, known as “The Doglady”. Writer/website owner, photographer, animal lover, music fanatic, inveterate traveller. History, literature and cinema buff. Eternal “hippie/rockchick”. Binational, German/Canadian and multilingual. Looking for the next adventure!
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49 thoughts on “RIDERS ON THE STORM | #AtoZCHALLENGE (R) #MusicalMemories

  1. Life is full of what-ifs. But I have come to realize that oftentimes, what happens before the what-ifs is the universe saving us and telling us to move on to other directions. If you were in that car that day, I would not be here reading glimpses from your past and getting more wisdom.

    The Truth in Your Make-believe

  2. Oh my….as soon as I read that he bought that muscle car, I was hoping he was not in an accident. My first thought was how glad you were not in that car. You were sensible enough and confident enough to know that you deserved more than what he was giving to you. I think, if you would have stayed with him, you may have ended up dead or at least damaged, if not physically, then emotionally and mentally. Funny how you called the day he passed away. I have had what ifs but, in the end, when I look back, I realize it was meant to be the way it is now….and I am better for it.

    1. Yes, it was a big relief that our relationship ended before the accident. He was just a casual fling, not meant to last, but I grieved, nonetheless. Our physical connection had been profound, even though I soon tired of its one-dimensional nature. Good point about being all the better for what happened in the past. I agree, Birgit! 🙂

  3. Wow – that certainly got my attention Deb – not quite what I expected to go with good old Riders on the Storm – but certainly made me think and feel a little bit sad. I’m assuming it was part of your story?

    1. Yes, sadly, it’s all true. 🙁 The story concludes on Wednesday. Even worse, I’m afraid. If nothing else, writing about it was cathartic, but I could only do it in the third person.

  4. Excellent song choice for this except. What a tragic story, but so grateful that you had managed to pull yourself away before it happened. Life has a funny way of saying ‘See… I told you so!’

  5. Debbie,

    Oh no! Is this your story? It crushed my heart to read it. I can only imagine how this girl felt. When I was a teen a kid a couple of years older than me was killed in a motorcycle accident, along with an older boy who lived across the street from me. I didn’t know either other than by name. This was the first experience I had with someone near my age to die suddenly. Then a few years later a classmate was killed when a truck backed over him. He had an accident on his motorcycle and the driver didn’t see him and ran over him. It was very sad but I didn’t have a deep emotional connection to any of these kids but it did weigh heavy on me and to this day I still think about both accidents.

    1. It was absolutely devastating and I never completely got over it. The story concludes on Wednesday. Thanks for sharing your memories also, Cathy. When you’re young, death seems surreal.

  6. That was chilling and very well written – if it is based on true events I admire you for being able to write about it, you must have gone through a lot of mixed emotions. Such a sad story.

    1. Thank you, Kalpanaa. 🙂 Yes, it’s all true and was difficult to write (and read). The third person POV made it easier and it was also somewhat cathartic. The story concludes on Wednesday.

      1. Debbie, I just noticed your comment. Oh my, you poor thing! I can only imagine how horrible this news was for you and you’re probably right had you been with this guy then you might very well be dead. God had a plan for you. Thanks for sharing such a personal story with us.

  7. That’s a tragic story. I believe that whatever happens is always for the best even though we may not see it like that at the time. Glad you were not in the car. Riders on the storm is an awesome song. The Doors were a great band.

  8. That’s a tragic story. I believe that whatever happens for us (ie for her) is always for the best even though we may not see it like that at the time. Riders on the storm is an awesome song. The Doors were a great band.

  9. How shocking to have him die so tragically like that! She must have felt awful, especially with the breakup still so recent.

    I think as we get older, we get more used to death. It’s not that we like it any better but more people start to die who are near to us.

    When we’re young as you were then when you went out with that guy (or she was, sorry, third person. hehe!), youth gives you a different perspective and time seems endless. When someone dies so suddenly at a young age, it shatters the illusion of time being endless. Truth is it could end at anytime. My mom died suddenly without warning just as she phoned me. That was a shocker but I accept it more as the scheme of things to my baby’s death tragically from forceps injuries.
    When I was a teen, I remember a few deaths among my peers and they really shocked me. Young people weren’t supposed to die. I can still remember those incidents vividly.
    Another great thought provoking piece, Debbie. Love the song, too. It really fits the sombre mood somehow.

    1. You’re so right, Cathy. Nobody thinks of death when they’re young. I’m so sorry for the losses you experienced. Both must have been devastating for you! ((HUGS)) I’m always shocked when I hear about younger people dying from health-related issues. Makes me aware of my own mortality.

  10. I’ve seen more than my share of sudden deaths, including convincing the police to go check on someone who hadn’t shown up for a meeting with me. She’d had a sudden heart attack at 46. My first car was a 1969 Charger, but I never drove it fast. Can’t say the same for my Probe and my Jag, but I don’t drink either.

    1. Heart attack at 46! Definitely shocking. Good thing you were able to convince the police to check. You’ve had some nice cars, Denise. My husband has Jag envy. He always wanted one of those. 🙂 Too expensive to maintain though, as my old boss found out when he bought a used one.

  11. Sudden deaths are always a shock and it takes a long time to move on from them. My mom passed away all of a sudden. I’ve written about it on my blog (‘That Last Night’). Then in 2014, my school-time classmate and a very close friend passed away. That was also totally unexpected. He was so young, and his daughter was only 6 at that time. Very painful.
    I don’t know about the “What Ifs” though.

  12. Yes. Not many know it, but Russ died twice. The first time was about half an hour after his heart attack. I had called immediately following the attack, after trying to get him flat, but I couldn’t get the stupid girl to call the ambulance and let me off the phone. Finally, I told her he was having death rattles and just hung up (she had all the information she needed because I’d repeated it at least three times). The EMTs took their time getting there–15 minutes after I hung up, with no siren and quite calm–and Russ was long gone by then. The 8 of them managed to bring him back, after quite a while of trying, but all I could do was cry. My pain and suffering was acute: even now, 3-1/2 years later, I go completely numb and wonder “what if they had come right away instead of taking their ever-loving time? Would he still be alive?” And the second time he died? That was the real shocker because the doctor said he would get completely well. AAAAAAAUUURRRRGH!!! I did not deal well with the shock of his death… And yes, there were and still are many what ifs.

    1. I’m so sorry, Mary. 🙁 If only they had responded quicker. We were all optimistic in those last days! ♥ I hope my story hasn’t caused you to descend back into grief. ((HUGS))

      1. Oh No, Debbie. Not at all. I do understand the need to write some things in 3rd person, though. It’s a wound that will never fully heal, but I have learned to cope. Sort-of…

  13. Hi Debbie – yes – I’m sure over the years I’ve been shocked by sudden deaths … sometimes it just happens and we wonder why – thankfully no-one that close … not an easy time … I’m glad you weren’t in the car though … have a peaceful weekend – Hilary

    1. Sudden deaths are always shocking, even when it’s someone we don’t know well, or in the case of celebrities, not at all. We just feel like we know them. I too am very glad not to have been in that car. Thanks, Hilary. I’m finally catching up with comments this weekend. Cheers!

  14. There’s all sorts of variables that could have made this go a different way. We like to say everything happens for a reason, but there’s some things where it’s not that simple. Tragic story.

  15. Back in 1966 I was just 16 and I’d been invited to an after prom party. I really wanted to go, but my dad said no. I contemplated defying him, but in the end, when my friends called about when they would pick me up, I said no. An hour later, all three were killed when the driver chose to play chicken with a train at a railway crossing. That hit me harder than anything ever did. My dad felt I needed to see the car to know how lucky I’d been. It made a lasting impression.

    1. Oh, Susanne, that must have been horrible and shocking for you! 😮 There’s a HUGE “What if” moment. Yes, looking at the car does leave a lasting impression, as you’ll see on Wednesday, when this story concludes.

  16. Was that the actual picture? I remember he had the crash the night of my friend’s wedding. We heard rumours at the end of the wedding and I couldn’t believe it. But next morning, at 10 o’clock Mass (the Italian Mass we almost all attended) we heard the news. I was, as you, shattered.
    I had had a crush on the guy for almost two years, my grades 10 and 11, before you came to town. I followed him around like a quiet little mouse, never even daring to look at him! Funny thing was that I talked to one of his friends, with whom I had no problem relating, and out of the “goodness” of his heart, he decided to become Cupid’s messenger! LOL. When I found out, I could have died right then and there!
    But, I had two things wrong with me. I was Italian, and for some reason, he thought I was three years younger than I actually was…which, he told his friend, put me definitely off limits!
    However there continued to be a soft spot in the back of my girlish mind for him and I was really saddened by his death.
    Thought I’d share this almost common memory.

    1. Not the actual wreck, just a stock photo. I wasn’t in any state to take pictures at the time. I remember you telling me about your crush on him, Bianca. We didn’t know each other well, then. Otherwise, it might have been a little awkward. The age thing seems strange because I’m a couple of years younger than you, but yes, I get the association about being Italian. Too much potential for ‘scandal’. Sex was his main preoccupation, after all. 😛 His friend, (the one with the purple Super Bee) remained a hard-drinking carouser for many years. He did get rid of his car shortly after the accident, though. Thanks for sharing your memories here.

      1. No awkwardness…First because we didn’t know each other…( I have had so-called “best friend” move in on the “love of my life” and still talk to her) and then because I didn’t stand a chance in any case….too Italian and too young.

  17. Oh my goodness, such a tragic story. Young guys and their muscle cars. Says the 40-something Mom who finally made her dream come true and purchased a Mustang… Of course I’m driving it responsibly.
    So sorry about your friend. Throughout my post I kept thinking “good thing she wasn’t in that car!”
    Incidents like this make me think “what if”, indeed. Are there coincidences in life? Was it bound to happen?

    1. You must love driving your Mustang, Tamara! 😀 They are beautiful cars, even now. Much more powerful back then, but nobody could afford that gas consumption today. I really dodged a bullet there, didn’t I? Good timing on my part! Come back on Wednesday for the conclusion of this story. It’s even worse! 😮

    1. I still love those cars, Lee, but couldn’t afford the gas bill! So much cheaper back then. We used to own a 1978 Camaro Z28; 450 engine and dual barrel carburetor. Sweet! 🙂 I’m glad things turned out well for you. Same here.