Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1777-1963 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the
National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress. external link Learn more
Image provided by: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library, Chapel Hill, NC
Newspaper Page Text
AFTERMATH OF SUDDEN DEATH
This beautiful monument at Pleasant Hill, N. C. takes on special significance every Christmas, parti cular significance this year because of the record toll of life on the highways. For it was at Christmas time, several years ago, that J. M. Behrend, New \ ork youth, on his way to meet his family at Norfolk for the holidays, met sudden death on the Northampton County highway. In this case, he died a noble death. When he s» w it w as impossible to avoid hitting a loaded school bus, young Behrend deliberately drove his car off th e highway and died from the injuries sustained in a brutal wreck. Grateful to one who had given his life for others, the school children of Northampton County raised the money to erect the monument shown above at t he scene of the tragedy. This scene shows the school children attending the impressive dedication servic es. By A. J. Bracken After the sensation created by . “ — And Sudden Death,” The Reader’s Digest was bombarded by proffered “follow-ups.” But we thought enough had been said. Then, from an embalmer in the village of Chappel, Nebraska, came the following - poignant in its emotional sincerity, impressive in its photographic directness. As in the case of the previous article, we caution the sensitive reader not to read too much of it. — Just Passing — Two o’clock in the morning. Is that the phone ? There it goes again. I grope my way sleepily to it. Hello . . . yes, I under stand ... a wreck on the highway two miles east . . . We’ll be right out. . . . What a sight! One car, a new one, now a tangled heap of scrap off on one side of the road, shat tered glass everywhere. The crowd has gathered and they have dug one body out and it lies a bloody, grotesque, twlisted thing under the pale light of the moon. An other lies groaning and mumbling, “My back is broken I think.” We lift him as gently as possible tc the ambulance and hurry to the hospital. He dies two hours later calling for “Edith.” How did it happen? The report is they were trying to pass a car against a too close oncoming car. What does it matter! We go back for the dead body and in the op erating room under the strong light we find that we have a job on hand trying to embalm the poor thing, to put it back togeth er as best we can in an attempt to relieve the terrible heartache of those loved ones who will has ten to see him. What a mess! Ragged bones sticking out through torn coat sleeves, head crushed to a pulp. Can we make it look like a human being and resemble the fine strong young man that it was only an hou ago? It is just our job and we’re getting used to it. Does it make us gun-shy of this fast driving? Well, we wish all the speeders could spend a night with us, occasionally, in the op erating rooms of the mortuary. — Old Barleycorn -- Three little kiddies, poor little tykes, the oldest only seven. They hardly know what it is all about. This time it is a young mother returning home, with her husband and children, from a happy visit. Kiddies are playing in the back seat of the car. Bang! Crash! A sickening twisting and tearing and it is all over. Just two drunks in an old car coming over the top of the hill on the wrong side of the road, but what slaughter! We work feverishly all night attempting to place a new nose and one side of the face on this mangled body which has been the loving mother of these three small helpless chil dren, now in the hospital, two rot expected to live. We secure a recent picture of this mother and by long hours of patching and filling those muti lated features and showing the body under indirect light we keep from the loved ones the horrible picture of this mutilation. — The .Lonely Pedestrian — Such a freak. We found his arm, hanging on the latch of the car door, torn completely from Ihe socket at the elbow. The mangled body lay doubled up in the ditch neraby. Just an old man walking along in the dark on the wrong side of the road, the car coming over the brow of the hill, headlights shooting up. Not a chance of es :aping it. — Endurance vs. Death — Just three happy boys on their way across the country to De troit. Constant driving, day and night, with a change at the wheel svery four hours, but endurance lost and we pick them up on the side of the road where they have crashed a telephone pole and o rerturned. Not an easy thing to telephone the poor father out on the Coast and inform him that the body of his boy lies in our mortu ary. A wig that matches his hair, plastic art and dermasurgery re store the body to almost lifelike appearance, but we cannot bring sack that youthful smile or happy laugh which he carried when he left home. These are only mem ories to his loved ones. — Dangerous Corners — We natives all knew that was > mean corner, properly marked with a turn sign, but such a sharp turn. To take it at more than 20 miles was unsafe. He must tiave been going 50 at least. No one saw it happen. They found him with the car overturned, the sharp edge of the runnmgboard, where it joins the rear fender, resting on his head. Why do they always have their heads smashed up so? I wonder if this isn’t the hope of every embalmer when he receives an auto acci dent call: “I hope the head is all right.’ They usually are not . Such a great big fellow in the pink of health and prime of life. And his poor young wife. We put her to bed when she arrives and try to make her comfortable until we can finish our work, so she will never know what he looked like when we found him. A babe to come soon, who will never know a father except by tales which are told. — Dense Fog — The lunch for school was in the back seat, the case of eggs for the grocer intact, but the beau tiful life of a little schoolgirl was gone forever. A foggy morning, a narrow bridge. The sharp, splintered end of the bridge rail drove through the windshield and tore away one side of her face. Poor little brother, who ha5 been driving, how heartbroken and sorrowful. It was hard to see, and how was he to know that he should have pulled to the side of the road and stopped until the fog lifted, even though they were late for school? — Loose Gravel — Not much to do this time. The whole thing was on fire when we arrived. We could see his tracks where he had come over the top of the hill and hit the loose gravel. The warning sign was up so the Highway Department had fulfilled its duty, but there it lay where it had skidded and turned complete ly around and over. A twisted mass of hot iron, that fetid smell of burning flesh and a few bones to tell the tale. How will we prepare these re mains for burial? Well, how would you? * And so it goes, on and on, in this small town of not quite 3,000. Add what befalls us here to the tragic toll in metropolitan cities and the countless towns larger than ours, and we have a very faint idea of what is happening on our highways. BIG SALE at January Clearance Prices at the HUB’S BIG SALE. All of our High-Grade stock must be sold regardless of cost or loss to us. Big bargains for all! One Rack of Fur Trimmed COATS Values up to $11.95, Now on Sale for only- _ One Group of Fur-Trimmed COATS Big Assortment of Newly Arrived Richly Furred and Sport Coats Values up to $29.50,(t> -% -1 QC Now on Sale for only-*P -1 Come to See our beautiful and Remodelled Ladies Ready-to-Wear department. Thrift Dept. - Great Bargains! 145 Dresses A -| Q 4 Up to $5 Values, close-out A J, Brand New Styles in Christmas Dresses of all Latest Materials. Were $9.95 - Now $4.98 Ladies Hats New Arrivals. Up to $2.98 Values — 98c All-Wool, Twin Sweaters $1.94 Up to $2.94 Pure Silk Full Fashion HOSIERY 44c Men’s Suits Just received brand new Suits for Christmas trade. Belted and Plain Backs-Double & Single Breasted. * $9.95 to $19.95 Ladies Dress Oxfords PumpT1 $1.98 to $2.98 Men’s Dress Oxfords Leather Bottoms, “I QQ O QQ & Kid Uppers - 1 VO ROANOKE RAPIDS, N. C.