Yvonne Takes a Tumble
In April 1955, Dad and Mom took the children to Salt Lake City to visit Grandpa and Grandma Felt and to attend the annual General Conference of the Church. On the return trip home they had stopped to visit with the manager at the Motel in Nephi and then with Paul (10 years), John (8 years), Yvonne (7 years) and Marilynn (3 years) back in the car, they started down the road to Cedar City.
They were driving in a big Chrysler, a car that boasted stylish rear passenger doors hinged in the back. The doors opened from the center, almost at the same point as the front doors, giving unencumbered access to the rear seats. In later years the auto makers would learn to regret this design as it was the cause of many accidents and fatalities and the focal point of several lawsuits. At the slightest opening of the door while the car was moving at higher speeds, the wind could catch hold of the door and fling it open violently.
Not long after leaving Nephi, with the car racing along at seventy miles per hour, Yvonne reached over to throw her gum out and, true to the flawed design of the car, when she started to open the door, it was flung open by the wind and she was torn from the car and thrown to the ground as the car sped along. The awful sound of the wind rushing in and the screams of the children grabbed Dad’s attention immediately and he slammed his foot on the brakes and turned off the road as quickly as he could.
Jumping from the car, he ran to Yvonne as fast as he could, surveying the road in every direction for traffic. In the horror of the circumstances, he felt a sense of protection in the fact that the highway was completely absent any traffic. His attention was fixed on his dark-haired seven-year-old who had miraculously caught hold of herself and was now up on her feet, running towards him, screaming and crying in terror. He caught her in his arms and, as gently as he could carry her in his anxiety to get her in the car and to the hospital, he hurried back to Mom and the other children. She was covered with the fine gravel from the road and this together with the blood from a deep cut in her head and from several others cuts made her a frightful sight.
Dad put her upon Mom’s lap and as they turned to cover the twenty-five miles back to Nephi, Mom held her close to comfort her. Between her cries and moans, Yvonne repeated, “Let’s pray, let’s pray,” and so Mom and Dad both prayed as did Paul, John and even little Marilynn. With this Yvonne settled down and relaxed in Mom’s arms for the rest of the journey back.
At the hospital, the doctors and nurses cleaned each of her wounds, giving particular attention to the head wound. X-rays were taken as it was most likely that such a fall would cause the fracture of ribs or limbs but miraculously nothing of concern was found. It was agreed that she should stay overnight in the hospital for observation and on the following day, finding no signs of a concussion or other serious injury, she was released, bandaged from head to toe.
In Cedar City, Dr. Edmunds gave follow up treatment during the next three weeks. As the wounds healed he was pleased to see that none save the head wound would leave permanent scars. The family recalled their custom of beginning their journeys with prayer where they asked Heavenly Father for protection and guidance and they recognized His blessings on this occasion. The doctor noted three very specific elements of the accident that saved her life: Having fallen away from the car rather than under it; the fact that she rolled along the pavement as opposed to sliding across it at a speed that would have easily been severely damaging; and the general absence of traffic along the road.