Thursday, October 14, 2010
"I'VE BEEN SHOT!" August 15, 1950
From Box #4 In a scrapbook full of torn tickets from westerns there's a section devoted to the summer evening Dad was gut shot by a rifle. But it was hardly a story of cowboys and indians. As he was leaving a friend's house in Paoli,PA to go target shooting, Dad tripped on the terrace. His .22-caliber rifle went off. He looked at his friend and like Randolph Scott in The Kansan reported "I've been shot!" The bullet lodged in his stomach. It might have been a fatal wound had Dad not been wearing a thick leather belt which protected his abdomen. His friend ran into the dining room and told my grandmother what had happened. She hadn't heard the shot ring out over the clatter of silverware and dinnertime conversation.
Doctors removed the bullet at Bryn Mawr Hospital. Grandpa Joe, who was in Washington DC at the time, sent Dad a telegram that read "Keep punching chum. I'm bringing you a purple heart this weekend. Love Daddy"
Dad ( seen above enduring a chilly afternoon at Episcopal High School) also received a number of cards from family friends and a letter from the 13 year old boy who witnessed the accident. The family friend was a member of a socially prominent family, heirs to an insurance fortune.
The shooting made the front page of the Doylestown Daily Intelligencer the following day. The surgeon misinformed the reporter that Dad was examining a revolver when it went off. Dad complained about another article that spent undue columns on the various families involved. "Everybody got a bigger write up than me" he complained.
Not sure why I grew up believing Dad was accidentally shot by the friend. The shooting left a vertical scar approximately 5 inches long on his stomach. He also had a three inch scar on his back. Dad gave me the belt that saved his life when I was about 11 or 12.