Lots of things make me uncomfortable. These include driving on freeways with cars and big, big trucks tailgating then whizzing by me and/or blocking me in and going over tall bridges like the one over the harbor at Corpus Christi or the high rise freeways of Dallas and Houston. I don’t ride roller coasters or tilta-a-whirls. As a child I remember feeling nauseous playing in the playground merry-go-round (whatever those round push with you foot and then jump on things were called).
In later life, my dizziness and those early experiences have made me wonder if maybe I inherited a tendency toward those things. My Aunt Gladys (Gladys Jewel Hunt Stewart) would have small panic attacks whenever she rode as a passenger in a car over long bridges. She also had dizziness and/or fainting spells. My Daddy (Deason Lafayette Hunt) would avoid driving Houston freeways by going through Winnie, High Island, Galveston, and Surfside to visit us in Freeport.
However, I also think that those motion and phobia things might also possibly be related to the incident known in our family as “the time I fell out of the car.” I was a toddler riding in the back seat of our sedan in the mid to late 1940’s. We were returning from Dallas to Longview in East Texas after having Aunt Gladys and her husband Uncle Bill (William Arthur Stewart II) up to see our house in the southern part of Dallas county. Somewhere on Highway 80, riding in the middle of the back seat between my mother (Ozie Mae Moody Hunt) and Aunt Gladys, I reached across Aunt Gladys and opened the door handle.Something (wind, speed, fate?) jerked me across Aunt Glady’s lap and past her startled hands which went up in the air rather than grab me, and I tumbled out on the hard concrete of Highway 80 and behind our car.
I think I remember this and thinking, “I wonder what will happen if I open the handle right now.” Now, I probably don’t. That’s possibly something I heard and or thought up later. I don’t remember anything on the road surface, but Mother said a man driving a car behind us saw what happened and stopped his car blocking other traffic from running over me. Knowing my Mother I figure she was paniced as she dashed from the now stopped car back to where I was laying in the road. (Was I conscious? I don’t remember it.) I was picked up, placed in the car, and taken on to Big Sandy where there was a clinic on Highway 80. I supposedly fussed and cried so much at the examination that the doctor said that I couldn’t be hurt too badly and the trip continued. Aunt Gladys and Uncle Bill were dropped off in Longview, and we went on to Henderson and Mamaw’s (Anne “Annie” Elizabeth Fears Hunt) house.
It was when we tried to go to bed there that night, and I was unable to lay my head on the pillow due to soreness that we really understood how badly I was going to feel from the road burn. Obviously, I lived, but for 15 years whenever we would take a road trip in the car, I would be nauseous and would only find relief by riding down in the back floorboard where I couldn’t see out of the car? Heredity or incident trauma? I really can’t say. Perhaps it was a little of both.