It was the summer of 1973, I believe. We were little and so was the car, a 1960-something Plymouth. My aunt and her children had come down from Norfolk, Virginia to Anderson, South Carolina to visit the family. She was my mama's next oldest sister and her name was Brenda. At this point, Aunt Brenda had four children: Theresa, Timmy, Tommy, and Tanya.
I don't know how they got down to South Carolina, but however they got down there, they didn't have a way to get back home, so it was decided that my family would take their family back to Virginia.
All total, there were eleven of us to make the trip. There were three adults and eight children and the trip was going to be a long and hard one. We were excited! We had never been that far from home before. We piled into the car, the adults in the front seat and all eight of us children into the back seat. Well, not all of us got to sit in the seat; some of us had to take the floor. I was one of the "floor children".
This trip ultimately took us about fourteen hours. I am assuming it took this long because of potty breaks and our side-of-the-road picnic. This is the part that I remember the most. We stopped on the side of the highway and ate sandwiches. This was in the days before interstate highways as we know them today. It was also before mandatory seat belt and car seat regulations. We got back into the car to continue our journey. I remember quite clearly my cousin Theresa asking "Is everybody ready?" before she closed the car door. All of us said yes, so she closed the door. It was then that I found out I wasn't ready after all. My barefoot was in the door when she slammed it.
I entered the state of Virginia with a toe about as big as the state itself, in all sorts of pretty shades of green, purple and blue. It hurt to walk; my daddy carried me. We visited the beach while we were there and Daddy carried me into the water because I wasn't going in otherwise. Although I was in a lot of pain, it was a great day. Daddy made sure that I didn't miss the fun because of my injured toe. He was with me through it.
For whatever reason, I wasn't able to go to an ER in Virginia. Maybe because of Daddy's health insurance overage; I don't know. Anyway, we finally made it back to South Carolina and they took me to the ER in our hometown. My toe bone had been cracked, but not all the way fractured. The swelling eventually went away and I was able to walk okay again, just in time to meet up with a Coke bottle in another aunt's backyard. Another story for another day.