1937 Cord and Korea
In 1950,my friend Donald(Deke)McCoy owned a Cord similar to the one shown here. His was black and it was a sedan. The tubes leading from the sides of the hood were there to draw heat. They were a good way to recognize a Cord with a supercharger.
The newspapers had many stories about Korea and our inevitable involvement. Like Vietnam about 12 years later, we were providing "advisors" to the ROK (The South Koreans). Some of my friends were called back into the military. These were veterans of WWII who had medical training and were needed to provide field first-aid support for the advisors and ROK. I waited for my recall, which came on July 21, a Wednesday. I was directed to report for a physical exam the next Monday.
Friday evening, the 23rd, Deke and four of his friends decided we would drive to White Horse Beach in Plymouth where there was a club or dance hall with a band. Eddie D.,Carl M.and Bill F. got into the back seat of the Cord and I occupied the front seat next to Deke, who of course was the driver.
We occupied the same seats on the return trip. The ride home was along Route 27 with most of us dozing. Nobody paid attention to the driver. It happened without warning, a sudden bumpy ride as though we were driving over tree stumps. After a very short distance, the car came to a stop. It was quiet except for the sound of someone moaning in a low barely audible voice. I was in a standing position and could turn my head at will without being able to move my body. I turned to the right and next to my face I saw a span of glass about 3 inches away. The glass was opaque from dirt. The quiet continued for what seemed like a long time before I heard voices from outside the car. A conversation was in progress with reassurances like.
. Nobody can be alive in there", or,"this car is cut into two sections", and " I can't see anybody in there."
If anyone else in the car heard the voices, I never knew. I do know that nobody answered when the visitors kept asking if anybody was inside. I don't know why but I couldn't get any words out. Someone said he would be right back. " I'll get a crow bar so we can get inside." After a few minutes,
" ...Heres a pane of glass, break it with the crow bar."
I suddenly found the strength to answer.
Someone applied a tourniquet to my right leg. When I was placed on a table in the emergency room, a nurse used a pair of scissors to cut my pants above the right knee. Something fell to the floor, which looked like a strip steak. It must have weighed a pound. To this day there is a cavity in my calf that could be filled with about that much flesh.
Eventually I heard about the others in the car. Deke was killed. He was 23. Everyone else was OK.Eddie had glass fragments in his eyes. He was glad to hear that an eye specialist from a Boston hospital was visiting a friend at Jordan when he came into the emergency room. With expert care Eddie had all the glass safely removed. Carl had an injury to his leg. Bill had a head wound which required a lot of stitches. I had a leg wound, which I thought was similar to Carl's. Later I learned about the complication.
I damaged a nerve that controls the eversion of the foot. Whenever I lift my right foot, it turns inward. If I step down carefully, the foot will lie flat. If not, it will turn further inward and I will fall forward and to the right. That is why I will never walk against the traffic. There was hope that the nerve would regenerate within a year and in the event it did, I was fitted with a brace to keep my foot straight. A metal bar was attached to the bottom of a shoe and connected to a swivel, which was attached to a metal bar that extended up the outside of my leg, where it was strapped. They were in wide use in 1950 because a lot of kids who had polio had to wear them. I got tired of explaining my problem and just let everyone assume I had polio.
While in the hospital I received word that I passed the exam for registration and that a new date had been set for my recall physical. I thought my physical wouldn't have to take too long, but there is of course the Navy Way. Not to be confused with the Right Way or the Wrong Way... I was told to take off my brace, strip and join the crowd. Someone recorded " recent scar on outer right calf." After all the exams, including one for color-blindness, I got dressed, put on my brace and was told they would contact me. They did. I was notified to come in for a new physical. It was then that the problem of the foot got recorded and I was told once again I would be notified. Evidently, someone at the first physical thought the brace was a prop to avoid the recall.
A 1937 Cord was demolished, the driver was killed, three passengers were injured, and the Korean War went on without me.
A photo covered the front page of The Boston Evening Record. It showed a body being lifted from a demolished automobile. The headline had HOTĀ ROD and DRIVERĀ KILLED. The caption under the photo listed the injured passenger in the photo as Michael Gregory of Avon. Gus thought I should look at that photo before I went out in the evening with my friends, so he taped it to the wall near the back door.