Causeway Story #8
It's been 30 years since I drove off the Causeway! Ok, Tom Carey, you drove over but I actually drove off: First of all, it was around 1969 or 1970. My father was transferred to Ft. Amador in 1968 and I went into Balboa High School in the middle of 10th grade. I did not appreciate the beauty of the Zone for the usual six months that it takes a "brat" after being moved to yet another school. Afterall, the school I had attended prior was the number one High School in the United States with elevators, swimming pools, an elevator, need I say more? Plus to add to it all, Balboa's statue "head" had just been spray painted green and I was not allowed to drive for another year even though I had been driving previously in the states. However, I was the envy of a lot of the other students at my new school because our house was the first house on the causeway as you were going out to the beach. (What a place to live!!!) SOOO, I finally got my license again! Maria Font and I were going to Spaghetti Night at Ft. Amador Officers' Club. My mother gave me strict instructions not to go driving down the causeway. (I'm sure you already know that we did anyway.) We actually ducked when we drove by my house -- like my parents wouldn't notice a hugh yellow 225 Electra Buick - we were 16!! I remember it had just rained (what, 5 minutes?) and consequently the road was slippery. Maria pointed out how beautiful the moon was and I could not actually see it unless I got closer to the hood past the steering wheel. The next thing I heard was Maria screaming "Look out - we're going off the road!" I knew how to drive (ha) so I turned the steering wheel completely to the left in order to get back on the road. I guess I over estimated the power of power-steering and the car completely turned around in the middle of the road and now was facing the other direction. I thought all was fine until we starting sliding off the road towards the Panama Bay side. The car was now rolling over and over (two and a half times to be exact) while Maria was telling me to put my seat-belt on. At which I replied "it's kind of late!" The car landed upright but the roof was smashed in and my side was hanging on the rocks (it was low-tide). The car radio was still working but the automatic windows and doors did not. Water was coming in on Maria's side so I had to move quickly. I crawled out the back left side of the car and helped Maria out (she was a little upset). We climbed up the rocks and at that time were greeted by an MP (who had been driving behind us). He kept asking "Are you sure there is no one else in the car?" We were REAL sure no one else was in the car. The MPs went right up the road (we hadn't even made it 1/3 of the way down the causeway) and asked my father to come with them. My dad was great. He just held me and asked me if I was all right. We then all went to the hospital to have glass picked out of us - we were shaken up but OK. The car got pulled out and they placed it in front of our house (how embarrassing)! And, on the canal side! People that I had never even met before thought I had backed the car out of our drive-way into the Canal. Really, I wasn't THAT dumb! Please realize, back in this time you were either a juicer, head, or a straight. It was then that I found out that "heads" were OK people too because they were all very nice to me (of course, I'm sure it had nothing to do with the fact that the paper from Panama stated they found drugs in the car). DRUGS, if you remember me back then, that whole statement was a joke. Right Stanley? I had been told since this episode a few more people have driven off the causeway. Someone in a convertable? I've also heard some people were not as lucky us. Well, that's the end of MY CAUSEWAY story. I've had four totals since and have been lucky enough to walk away from them all. Of course, none of those were my fault either (AND THAT'S MY STORY AND I'M STICKING TO IT!).
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Update: October 4, 1998