Sunday, August 12, 2007


I looked up the definition of the word trauma at and this is what I found. “A disordered psychic or behavioral state resulting from severe mental or emotional stress or physical injury” My wife Patty and I were traumatized August 5th and we still show signs of trauma. The following is part of the newspaper account of the event.

“I-40 crash ends on a sour note
Sunday, August 5, 2007
Ever heard the saying, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade"? Well, a wreck on Interstate 40 Sunday morning could have produced gallons.
A tractor-trailer hauling 22,000 pounds of pears and 21,000 pounds of lemons overturned about halfway down Old Fort Mountain around 9:30 a.m. and straddled the concrete divider.
The crash scattered fruit for yards, and littered the highway with mounds of boxes.
Melvin A. Franks, 63, of Bounnios, Ill. was driving the 1997 Western Star east, when the brakes on the rig failed, according to Trooper J.E. Reid of the N.C. Highway Patrol. Franks told the trooper there were vehicles in front of his, so he moved into the far left lane to keep from hitting them. Part of the transfer truck jumped the concrete median barrier, and the trailer overturned, Reid stated. Franks was en route from California to Salisbury and Maryland.
MAMA, the helicopter from Memorial Mission Hospital, landed in the eastbound lanes of I-40. Rescue workers spent an hour cutting Franks from the wreckage, and, once he was freed, he was airlifted to the Asheville hospital. Officials said his injuries were not life threatening.
Hundreds of lemons and pears flew across all three westbound lanes, striking and causing damage to three other vehicles driven by motorists from Tennessee, Glen Alpine and Mooresville.
Patty Cooper and her husband Ed from Glen Alpine were on their way to visit Ed’s sister in Greeneville, Tenn. Patty said she saw the truck barreling down the mountain. The trailer began to tilt, and she doesn’t remember much after that.
"It all happened in the blink of an eye," she stated. "I don’t know what all hit us or exactly what happened. It was terrifying. … The Lord was with us because we were not injured."
Boxes of fruit were lodged underneath the Coopers’ van, and the right front wheel was knocked almost completely off. It was taken away on a rollback wrecker.”

As usual the paper did not get the quote right. When the reporter approached me I told her I had nothing to say, but Patty was talking to anybody and everybody. Patty did not say “we were not injured.” She did say, “The Lord was with us.”

This is a quote from the New York Times in an article By ERICA GOODE AND ROBIN POGREBIN Published: September 25, 2001
“In the dreams, George Humphrey is running for his life through a dark tunnel, his pursuer close behind him. He startles awake, his sheets drenched in sweat.
Mr. Humphrey's nightmares originated in a war fought three decades ago in the jungles of Vietnam. But the terrorist attacks have reopened old psychological wounds for Mr. Humphrey and for others whose carry the scars of earlier traumas, as well as for people who were already struggling with depression, anxiety disorders or other psychiatric illnesses before Sept. 11.
''New trauma awakens old trauma,'' said Dr. Rita Seiden, executive director of the Park Slope Center for Mental Health in Brooklyn.”

I am not comparing a fruit storm to 9/11 so don’t write me nasty emails, but I am saying plain as day that the trauma of the fruit storm has taken me straight back to the barn on the farm in the hills of Kentucky where my childhood sexual abuse began. Dr. Rita Seiden is right and folks working with trauma victims need to pay attention.

You may think you are merely dealing with an accident victim, but you may be looking at a young child repeatedly raped taken back there by the new event. I learned this phenomenon during Hurricane Andrew in south Florida. Hurricane Andrew was the most destructive United States hurricane of record. It blasted its way across south Florida on August 24, 1992. NOAA's National Hurricane Center had a peak gust of 164 mph—measured 130 feet above the ground—while a 177 mph gust was measured at a private home. Andrew caused 23 deaths in the United States and three more in the Bahamas. The hurricane caused $26.5 billion in damage in the United States, of which $1 billion occurred in Louisiana and the rest in south Florida. The vast majority of the damage in Florida was due to the winds. Now in a fruit storm going up the mountain from Old Fort towards Black Mountain, NC I learn the same lesson again. New Trauma Can Kill Because of Old Trauma.

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