If you remember the show called the Golden Girls, you must remember Sophia, the feisty one who always shared her memories by beginning with “Picture this…” naming a location and giving the year. I am going to channel her tonight to share some memories which have lived on to the present and I fear will continue into the future.
Picture this – NH Route 12 – 1973
We were house hunting and took a ride down RT 12 so that I could prove to my husband that there was no house in the spot that he was describing – even though he said there was. I had lived just across the river all my life – and I told him there was nothing there but fields and chicken barns…but sure enough — in the midst of them, there was a house and we have lived in it since that time.
I know that everyone loves to look at numbers…they don’t work for me. I need the stories behind the numbers. I have lost count of the accidents that have taken place at the intersection of 12 and 123. I know that number would be even larger if you added the ones that have taken place at the intersection by Shaws – including the one last Tuesday…..You know that intersection – you look to the north, to the south, to Pinnacle View, to Walgreens – but don’t start to go because you can bet that someone is coming from the north or the south again.
I put off putting my concerns in writing. However, I finally came to the realization that if another tragic accident took place there and I had not done something, I would not be able to pass the “look myself in the mirror” test.
I apologize that I do not have number of accidents that have taken place there. I have always found that the best way to share information is to ask questions that may allow people – including myself – to reflect on the situation at hand. Here are the questions that I have been reflecting upon…for many years.
1 – Have you ever had your high school student (who is now 50) sit down at the supper table one night and suggest that you make his younger siblings stand at the mailbox to wait for the bus because he had – in his words – almost been taken out by a car while waiting for his bus that morning.
2 – Have you ever had that same student watch a series of accidents and submit a plan for his Eagle Scout project to put a light at that intersection based on the concern he had over safety in this area, only to have it refused by the State. I understand that any decision that they make is based on law that binds them to approve certain driveways and some historical data on the efficacy of signals in dangerous areas.
3 – Have you ever been sitting in your chair and heard a loud crash and looked out the window to see that there has been an accident at that intersection and have seen people who are frightened, angry, confused, and injured?
4 – Have you ever looked at an accident at that intersection and noticed that all traffic leaving from the nearby machine shop – after waiting patiently for a considerable amount of time had to be rerouted across your driveway to reach the neighbor’s driveway and access Route 12 above the accident.
5 – Have you ever looked at an accident at that intersection and observed that the person sitting on the side of the road sobbing and shaking with fright is someone that you worked with?
6 – Have you ever been awakened in the night to find a young couple and their baby knocking on your door (prior to the days of cell phones) because it was cold and they hoped you would let them in – at least to use the phone.
7 – Have you ever looked at an accident at that intersection and noticed that one of the cars belongs to your neighbor, and his daughter is standing there crying, trying to reach her father for help?
8 – Have you ever looked at an accident at that intersection and seen the absolutely horrified look on the first responders face when she realized that it was her child who was in the accident.
9 – Have you ever heard that bump and noticed that a huge trailer truck had traveled off the road and partially embedded its front end in the slope up to the field above the road?
10 – Have you ever heard the thump at that intersection and seen a lifeless body under a motorcycle?
11 – Have you ever heard that thump and selfishly thought, “Please dear God, don’t let it be one of mine”?
12 – Have you ever heard that thump and thought – “There but for the grace of God go I”?
That road – especially that intersection – is not safe. To increase the traffic in that area – in my humble opinion – is not a wise decision. All I can do is to share that opinion with you. Having done all that I can do, I can pass the “look myself in the mirror test”. Thank you for listening. Please keep in mind that listening – when it is not followed by action – results in nothing. “If you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you’ve always got.
If what has been done since the day we found our home, I am very much afraid of what we are going to get.
– Cathie Davignon