I STARTED FEELING BAD
From Kentucky, we jumped to
Carthage, Ohio, where our location
was at the end of the race track
some two thousand feet off the
midway. Never the less, business
was good thanks to many plugs from
Danny Fleernor during the grandstand
show and publicity breaks arranged
by Alan Ricknaver, a good guy and a
great fair manager.
Early in the week I started feeling
bad and visited a doctor, who
treated me with medication. On
Friday Morning I woke in
excruciating pain. I phoned the
doctor who ordered me into the
hospital where I spent twenty eight
days, with two surgical procedures.
For the first time, we had booked
the show to make a circus jump.
Closing in Carthage (Cincinnati) on
Sunday night and opening the next
afternoon in Berea (Cleveland) with
a show that takes four to five hours
to tear down and twelve to sixteen
to set up. We had a new Cadillac
and a new house trailer this year,
which I normally drove while Chris
piloted the Tractor-trailer.
A friend came in to drive the truck,
so Chris could take the car and
house trailer in my absence. The
show was dismantled in record time
and Chris followed the fleet off the
lot at three A.M. Twenty miles up
the road a commercial driver with
loaded semi fell asleep, colliding
with the trailer which disintegrated
with the frame demolishing the top
and rear of the car. Nearly all our
personal belongings were lost but
fortunately neither Chris or Doc
Hankins, our lecturer, who was a
passenger, was seriously injured.
My pet dog, "Rascal:, jumped out
into traffic and was killed.
The rest of the crew was unaware of
the tragedy and under the direction
of Little Cliff King and Milt
Robbins erected the show and had it
open on time. The show was already
operating when news of the wreck
arrived. Though I was disturbed by
our loss, I was thankful Chris and
Doc were OK and was very proud of
our faithful crew. Henry
Valentine's children, Mike (our
sword swallower) and Sue (our
illusion girl), called him with the
news. Without reservation, Henry
took leave of his job in Waterloo,
Iowa to come help in Columbus. By
1975, we were able to get Henry and
his wife, Shirley, full time with
Henry becoming Vice President of the
Company in 1977.
By the time I was released from the
hospital, the show was at the end of
the State Fair in Columbus. I was
feeling chipper and mistakenly
thought I would go right to work in
the office arranged in a rented
motor home. I only made it once in
Columbus and twice in Knoxville,
being confined for recuperation in a
hotel in each town.
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