My Friend Mike Hart

I had gone to Stamford one night with one of my friends, Mike Hart and we had taken GranMa home after going to a picture show and we were going around the square in Stamford when at the North West intersection where the coffee shop was located we had a wreck.

It was flat pouring down rain and it was around 11:00 PM and Mike was driving his Dad's nearly new 1950 or 51 light green Pontiac, we were headed towards Anson and a car coming in from Haskels direction ran the red light and we hit them right in the side of the left front fender near the door.

Mike was going a little fast for it to be raining so hard and bam this was a wreck and not a fender bender.

Being in the days before seat belts, I flew up and hit the bracket which attached the sun visor to the roof and it put a gash above my right eye much like a prize fighter and I started bleeding like a stuck pig.

It had to be around 11:00 PM because we had just taken my future wife home from a date.

Funny as I recall this, I can't remember who Mike was with if anybody because when we had the wreck we were the only ones in his car.

After the wreck I went in the Coffee Shop to get out of the rain and get the bleeding stopped.

Mike called his Dad who had to drive up from Lueders and get us. Of course the police were called and I remember Mr. Hart telling the Police and the man driving the other car that he would fix his car and the other man could fix his and the other guy agreed with that.

This guy was at fault and on the way home Mike and I questioned his Dad why he agreed to pay for fixing his own car as we both were trying to keep Mike out of trouble for wrecking his Dads car.

Mr. Hart asked if we had observed the clothes the other guy and his family were wearing and how old their car was and of course Mike and I had not paid much attention to that.

Mr. Hart explained to us the other guy was driving a real old car and he and his family were wearing rags and there was no use punishing them further as they no longer had a car and had enough problems as it was.

The Hart's car was new and insured and could be fixed for the 50.00 deductible.

I took a life's lesson from Mr. Hart that night and always respected him for doing and saying that.

In today's dog eat dog world there would probably have been a law suit.

The Harts had two new cars and the other one was a 1950 or 51 Black Dodge which was the car Mr. Hart picked us up the night of the wreck.

I tell you about the other car because a couple years later Mr. Hart himself wrecked the Dodge car coming into Lueders from Albany and had a classmate of mine, Hoadley Shelly with him who got hurt and was taken to the Stamford Hospital by a passing car as I remember.

Me and some other friends happened to come by just as they were driving off and about 100 feet out in this plowed field was the Dodge car upside down with all 4 wheels sticking straight up in the air and the head lights were still on.

Mr. Hart had been going pretty fast coming down the hill and across the bridge and never made the turn back west to go into Lueders. He went straight on out into the Douthits field.

The highway is built up at that point and as the car sailed through the air it turned over and landed on its top.

I don't remember who but, a couple of other buddies were with me and with the car upside down and the lights still on we decided it best to get the battery disconnected and take out any personal belongings.

Lo and behold, I found a two bottles of whiskey in the front seat area of the car. One plumb full with the seal unbroken and the other one was less then half full.

So, we got the battery disconnected and I took some clothes and the whiskey home with me.

The next day I took the stuff over and gave it to JL (Mr. Hart)

At any rate, JL thanked me for the stuff and said boy the full bottle was no problem but, the half full bottle could have caused him some real problems had it still been there when the highway patrol arrived on the scene.

He said he never gave the whiskey a thought because he was as he put it "worried about that boy being hurt." Of course he was talking about Hoadley Shelly who as it turned out was banged up a little but, released from the hospital the next day as I recall.

They had actually been returning from a stone job some place as Hoadley was working for him at the time.

I don't think anyone knew it but, I was sort of a big brother to Mike Hart. His grandmother lived over by the Church of Christ and I was often over there right after we moved to Lueders as I recall the incident that made me his big brother.

One day I was in the street in front of our house and I saw Mike pushing his bike on the road north of our house that ran from the school to the top of the hill past the football field.

He seemed to be having all kinds of trouble pushing the bike and I ran down to see what his problem was that he was pushing the bike. I was probably 11 at the time.

When I got there Mike was crying and pushing and crying and pushing.

He said had been riding his bicycle up at Harold Backus house where Wayne Verble was visiting and Wayne had poked a broom handle into Mikes front wheel taking out a bunch of spokes and warping the wheel so bad it wouldn't turn through the forks.

He was sometimes picking the bike up and sometimes sliding it along trying to get it home.

He was heart broken because he was no longer going to have a bicycle.

I tried to assure him his wheel could be fixed and made him let me take his bicycle up to my house.

So, we took the bicycle up to my house and then I walked him up to his grandmothers house and on the way stopped by Ergle Whites and bought some bicycle spokes which I don't think Mike even knew you could do.

I assured him we could fix his bike and he finally stopped crying.

I went home and put his bike on our enclosed back porch which was before the back part of the house was added on.

His wheel was really really warped about as bad as I had ever seen but, I turned the bicycle upside down, got the tire off, replaced all the broken spokes and slowly worked the wheel back into alignment by loosening and tightening the spokes.

Took a few hours that night but, fact is, it was about as perfect alignment as you would find on a bicycle. You could spin the wheel with a gage next to it and hardly a wiggle in the rim.

Next day, I rode the bicycle home to Mike at his Grandmothers house and he couldn't believe his bike was brand new again and I remember him saying that's even better then it was before.

So, Mike was a close friend from that day until his death and I took his dying pretty sadly.

I have so many memories of Mike as it was he who took me to Abilene when I purchased my first pair of custom made Leddy Boots.

Sadly in 1955, Mike was killed in a car wreck east of Albany, Texas when he pulled out to pass a car and hit a Greyhound Bus head on.

Being the only child, his getting killed pretty much ruined the remaining years of his parents lives.

I was in Mikes parents and grandparents home on many occasions.

Memories are wonderfully even though at times also sad.

I've often thought, I got to live my life - Mike Hart didn't.

The Newspaper article is incorrect as it was 6 miles East, not West of Albany
 
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