Mister, My Mom Fainted

In May 1966 in the middle of beautiful weather and in a beautiful Sacramento neighborhood, I walked up to the ambulance guy and said, “Mister, my mom fainted.”

I had just gotten home from school. Getting home was always a dangerous affair. There were various gangs vying for turf in our neighborhood. This was before tagging and before drive-by shootings. There were, instead, gang fights, usually fighting with anything that had a blade. Knives, razor blades…that sort of thing. Gangs had guns and used them but almost exclusively in the late afternoon or night time. Not on the way home from school.

A small group of junior high/middle school students was harrassing a young middle school student in front of our house. My mom and I watched this taking place as they turned the corner and crossed the street. We had a corner house. Soon the group of 6 students began to viciously beat the girl. They were slugging her, kicking her, and cutting her. When the attack was over, mom and I went to the girl to apply some first aid. She was on the ground only semi-conscious and groaning.

Mom asked me to go to the neighbors and get a cool washcloth to begin wiping off some of the blood. No one would open their door but someone did call the police. The small group had gone around the block and returned to taunt and threaten my mom and me. By the time the police and the ambulance arrived, a crowd of neighbors had assembled. The situation was chaotic, especially to my 14 year old mind.

While the police did their work and the ambulance guys (this was before EMTs) prepared the girl for the ambulance ride to the hospital, my mom said she felt dizzy. I told her to sit down. She got down and passed out. I laid her on the grass. I went to one of the ambulance crew and said, “Mister, my mom fainted.”

Things got crazy then. One of our neighbors asked me if mom had ever had a spell like this. I said she just fainted. A policeman asked if I knew how to contact my dad. I went into the house and called him at work. By the time he got home, mom had been placed in the ambulance and transported to the hospital.

When we got to the hospital we were told that the girl was in critical condition and we were asked if we wanted to see mom. She was laid out on a gurney on the far side of one of the emergency rooms. The afternoon sun shone through the emergency room windows at an oblique angle. When I got to her body and touched her she was already cold. It seemed at that time like there was nothing else and no one else in the room. I don’t even remember my dad being there.

This is yet another reason why I have PTSD and need Hunter in my life to get through other chaotic episodes in life, such as, going to the movies or going to a big warhouse store like Costco.


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