One evening in 1940 or 1941 I had brought my brother Joe’s car home to do some brake work for him. This was before Phyllis and I were married, and I was still living at home with my parents. I drove the car into the garage, raised the right rear corner of the car with a jack under the axle and removed the right rear wheel. Then I slid under the car to do my work.
As I looked up, I noticed that the car was slowly moving backwards. My immediate reaction was irritation, thinking damn! I forgot to block the wheels! But not thinking this car is not only moving backwards, it’s going to fall!
It didn’t take me long to find out. The right rear corner came down on me with the frame right across my chest until the backing plate of the right rear brake hit the concrete floor! The battery was on one side of my head and the muffler was on the other side! If I had been a few inches one way or another my head would have been squashed!
The pressure on my chest was extreme. I passed out. After an interminable length of time, I started to awaken. I thought I was in bed with a tremendously heavy comforter on me. I struggled to get it off. Then my eyes registered the bottom side of a car inches away and I realized where I was. There was nothing I could do. I was pinned tight and squashed flat!
I tried to call out to my father and mother in the house, but my lungs were so squeezed down that I could hardly make a sound. I kept attempting to yell…Mom,,,Pop,,,Mom,,,Pop. Finally they heard the sound and they talked about it, wondering what it was. Then my father decided to go look.
When he found me, he did exactly what good judgment told him to do. He got some blocks and blocked the front wheels. But I in my angst to get the car off of me thought “why the hell is he messing around? Why doesn’t he get this thing off of me?”
After Pop got the car securely blocked, as I should have done before I started, he got the jack and started lifting the car. It didn’t lift off all at once. As the car raised one click at a time my squashed chest expanded one increment at a time. Finally the frame of the car lifted off my chest and I crawled out.
Now it was time to assess the damage. I took off my shirt and we looked me over. My chest hurt but apparently there were no broken ribs or anything else that would require medical attention. So I got cleaned up and went to see Phyllis.
My chest was sore for a few days but otherwise I was ok. By the way I finally got the brake job done. This time I blocked the wheels.