The Harbinger Online

A Wreckless Legacy


Photo by Ellie Thoma

My mom was very specific: don’t take Mission Road. Construction was everywhere and it was a mess. My sister Maddie didn’t listen, as many teenage girls do. What was supposed to be a simple errand for my mom ended in a crash.

My mom’s phone rang a number of minutes later.

“Mom, I just rear-ended someone on Mission. Please come.”

I hated hearing about all of these crashes. Each time my parents got these calls, I was reminded of my fears of crashes. The freakish stories of bashed in bumpers and people being ejected out of their car scared me more than anything.

And that sixth crash of my sister’s made me think, maybe these aren’t accidents. I mean, after six of them, this can’t just be bad luck. Maddie was flat out a bad driver. However, it has to be just her. My brother Tommy couldn’t be as bad. Could he?

I was half asleep in my bed, scrolling through Twitter in the middle of a Sunday afternoon. I hear Tommy rush in the side door: “Mom, I just hit Katie’s car.”

My little navy convertible was parked behind Tommy’s in our driveway, a reasonable distance back I must add. With the music turned up, he whipped out of the driveway and took part of my left front headlight with him. It was smashed in along with his back bumper.

It would be an understatement to say that my parents and I were upset. If this was his first crash, it might have been different. However taking after Maddie, he has been in 4 crashes now.

His worst accident was getting T-boned on Ward Parkway. He was approaching a stop sign and began to break. Unaware of the black ice on the streets, his tires skidded straight through the stop sign into the middle of Ward Parkway towards oncoming traffic.

He’s also been in two other more trivial accidents. One was when he backed into someone in the sophomore lot and the other was when he backed into a random lady on a side street.

So adding it up, as of 2016, the Hise family totals to ten crashes among the kids. Ten. And this is just the oldest two kids so far. This makes me wonder, as I approach the age of receiving my full license, am I cursed with this “prone-to-car-crashes” driving style? I can wish and pray that this isn’t true. But I can’t not worry about it.

I can only hope that maybe I will break this trend.

As a 9-year-old, seeing the massive wreck in “The Blind Side” sealed the deal: crashes have and will always be my biggest fear.

I’ve been a passenger in two crashes in my life, but neither were that traumatic. Once I was in the back seat of my mom’s car when she was switching lanes. An ambulance was in her blind spot and sideswiped the car. With little damage to the car, this crash was more of a freak out than anything. The other was one of Tommy’s, when he hit a car in the sophomore lot.

So, being a pre-teen who was overly eager to start driving, I told myself I would do anything possible to avoid crashes.

Now, after driving for a little over a year, knock on wood, I am still crash-less. Well, besides that one time a car bumped my back bumper at a stoplight. I didn’t do anything about that and didn’t tell anyone, though, because there was no damage (sorry, dad).

I can only imagine how pissed my parents would be if I did get in one. They quit helping pay to fix Maddie and Tommy’s damage after two crashes. I am sure they would have lost their patience and not helped with any of mine, and I don’t know if they could let themselves pay Progressive any more money.

When Tommy hit my car, he asked if he should call Progressive to get an estimate for the damage.

“No, don’t call them,” my dad said. “We’ve had too many accidents with them.”

With the number of crashes slowly dwindling between each kid, my parents stay hopeful for my 8th grade sister Libby and I. Libby has gotten into driving recently – just learning in church parking lots with our parents and maybe driving down the street.
Her driving skills look promising so far with a clean record, but she has yet to deal with real life driving. My advice to her: be careful in the East parking lot after school, always stop at stop signs and don’t crash your driver’s ed car– we should’ve known Maddie would be a bad driver after that one.

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