Larry and I were camping in Yosemite with Dave and Janis. Heidi and Jenny were both babies. It was such a fun trip. Janis cooked spaghetti for all of us. She cooked and cooked those noodles. We weren’t used to cooking at such a high altitude. Our spaghetti was still not soft when we ate but boy was it delicious!
We bathed the girls in the dish pan after dinner. They looked so cute and clean and cuddly as we held them by the fire that evening.
Early the next morning a ranger came to our camp telling us we needed to call home. Larry called his folks who told them to call my folks for some news. My grandpa Starn had been hit by a car as he and Sarah were walking home from the Turlock Centennial celebration at Turlock High School. They were in the crosswalk. They were one block from home. Grandpa was thrown thirty or forty feet when he was struck. Grandpa was hit as they were returning home after a night of celebration.
Of course we packed up and went straight home. Grandpa lived until the next day. He had massive injuries throughout his body and his head. Dad said when he went to see him he couldn’t recognize his own father. The doctor said he would have died a lot sooner but he had a very strong heart.
I sat waiting for dad to call me with an update on grandpa. All I could think of was his wife and how the two of us had never really gotten along. I thought of how when I had come to grandpa to tell him I was pregnant the second time Sara had made an odd comment to me. She said, “Maybe a baby isn’t what you need. Maybe you need to be in school. Don’t you ever want to amount to anything?” I thought the comment was extremely rude and an insult to both Larry and me.
Dad called late in the afternoon to tell me grandpa had died. I thought of all the time I had spent on walks with him at his cabin in Mission Springs. We weren’t as close as my grandpa Stevens and I were but I loved him, he was my grandpa.
Dad told me the driver who hit grandpa was drunk and speeding. He had spent the night in jail but was released the following day, hours before my grandfather had died. He did go before a judge at some point where the judge sentenced him to time served. He paid for my grandfather’s life with one drunken night in jail.
I heard one of my aunt’s say they had gone to see the young man that killed my grandpa. She told him the family forgave him. She said she didn’t want him to feel guilty the rest of his life.
I have to admit I was angry when I heard she did that. She spoke for the family which meant she spoke for me and I hadn’t forgiven him. I don’t think I’ve ever totally forgiven him and I blame the judge for my feelings. In his statement he said he factored my grandfathers’ age and future productivity in the sentencing. I always felt the judge was saying my grandfather wasn’t worth anything anymore. He was wrong. He was my grandfather!