I Almost Drowned With My Baby Sister in My Arms on Miami Beach
1957, Ten Years Old With Responsibilites
A Wrong Decision Could Have Cost My Life and My Baby Sister's Life
This article is about life's decision making, and how our lives are affected by the values that are instilled in us as young children. These same values will help us with the most unusual situations and through the good times and the bad. As a human being, I know life has many trials for us, and in the process of life we grow and learn from each and every one of the events that we encounter. As a big sister, I will share with you some of the events that remind me of my own life, and how my choices affected others.
I think back years ago, and I remember the event of that day I fought to keep my sister alive. My father, my mother, my six month old baby sister, and my father's friend, and myself went to Miami Beach to the swimming area. Mother was on the shore in an area near some picnic tables, where she was resting since she had survived a broken compound fracture of the leg and was in a major body leg cast. I was asked to keep up with my baby sister for a little while. My mother was unable to watch over me, and dad knew I had my baby sister, but what he did not know is that we were walking around near the edge of the water. I had my baby sister in my arms, and I was only 10 years old. I thought I could walk out to my father because everything appeared to be shallow and fine.
Everyone knew I swam like a duck under water all the time. So no one worried about me with the baby. I was her big sister at the age of 10, and I loved her dearly. She was not just my baby sister, but she was my real live baby doll. I remember my toes in the sand, and I could see my dad and his good buddy out in the ocean about 30 feet or more out. I thought he was standing up out in the ocean enjoying the water. I had no idea he was treading water, because for me I only swam under the water or floated on top. At that time, I was not trained to swim on top of the water, and I did not know what treading water was. This happened in the year 1957. I could hold my breath for a long time submerged under water, and I always swam that way. My mother would often remark that she worried about me, when I would swim at Bay Front Park which was a salt water beach in Homestead, Florida. You could not see anyone, when they were submerged. I was always all right, and would surface, when I ran out of oxygen in my lungs. This day, I walked out into the ocean holding my baby sister. She was happy,because her big sister had her and loved her very dearly. My father did not know I was attempting to walk out in the water to join him, where he appeared to be. Thinking my dad was standing up in the water, then I should have been all right. Then I felt something happening to me that I had never experienced before. I was being sucked under the ocean. I kept thinking something is happening, and I cannot stop it. My sister went under the water one time, and I was in my mind not worried about myself. Then, I started to think that my parents will be mad at me, if I let anything happen to my baby sister. I could not for any reason let go of her. Her life was more important than mine. I had been a child raised in the church to worship God and know when I needed help. I said to myself her life was more important and thinking quickly in my mind that there was only one way to save her life, and that was to submerge myself beneath the water's surface until someone could get to my baby sister to rescue her.
As I screamed help, then my dad saw we were in trouble. His friend and my father got to us within a short time, but it seemed forever. I was submerged pushing her body up out of the water, and not knowing how long it would take for anyone to come to her. My dad's friend grabbed my sister and took her to the shore for safety, and my dad made me upset, because I felt like I could have gotten out of that once my sister was removed off me. He pulled me by the back of my hair up out of the water and pulled me to shore to save my life too. I did not know all the while that I was being pulled on a drop off from 4 feet to 13 feet like a shelf on the ocean floor, and with the current dragging me down, then I could have known that was that way.
I was just a child. Mom's leg was in a cast, and dad was with a friend. He was unaware of my attempts to follow him. I always did that on fishing trips and other times in my life. It seemed normal to me, but little did I know what was going to know the danger that was coming. I was expected to take care of my sister as I had always shown responsibility for her, and I am thankful she is alive. We both were saved from drowning that day. There was no sign at that beach of a drop-off or an undertow current.
Mom was hysterical but thankful we both did not drown that day. She thanked me for putting my sister first. I must have been treading water because my dad said my sister only went under once, and she was all right, and if I had put myself first and let go, then she would have drowned and washed out to sea before anyone could have done anything. It was not my worrying about me, but putting another soul first that I was always taught to respect in life.
That was not the only experience at sea and battling the ocean that I had in my lifetime. It was certainly one I will never forget. My sister and I are bonded very close as sisters. I am ten years older than her, but throughout life, I had to take care of her, when my mother was ill. My mother spent two months in a hospital on Miami Beach recovering major surgery on her leg. I had to take care of my baby sister after school, because my dad had to work on a military base. The day my mom broke her leg as result of trying to catch our pet parakeet caused a compound fracture of the major bone in the leg. My mom's leg took a lot of surgery to put it back together after the fracture. The military had to send for their best surgeon that could save my mother's leg. I thank them for doing that for my mom. The battle it took to get help for her was so demanding on me. No one could get her help but me, and my neighbors were not helpful to call an ambulance. I had a baby sister and a mother in trouble.
I spent an hour on the phone to find someone to get my father off alert duty on base before anyone on base could get an ambulance to her. Dad was simply not reachable. Mother was brave, because she laid on the floor for 4 hours in pain, before I could get that help. Why my neighbors did not help me was a mystery to me. I went door to door looking for someone to call an ambulance for mother and send help. They did not want to take any responsibility. I made it plain that my mother was in a crisis life-threatening situation, but they seemed to act like a zombie to me at the time. My father was not afforded the opportunity to be a babysitter or help my mother at that time. My dad was on alert duty to protect his country. We were counting on mother to take care of us. Instead, I had to be the responsible person for a ten-year-old. Again, I thank my maker for making me strong to handle life.
Thanks to good neighbors after the fact, then they kept my sister until I could pick her up in the afternoon after school. Dad was still on the job doing his duty during times of cold war. My dad spent 21 years of his life in the military keeping planes in the air and creating parts for these planes. Dad was honored by the military once for his inventions for those planes.
My sister thinks I am her second mom, and to this day I will never forget that fight for both of our lives. My God always loved us both, and may our lives bless everyone we come in contact with. We often call each other and pray for each other, as we deal with life's adversities. God Bless little sisters everywhere, for I truly treasure having mine. Thanks, mom for giving me my baby sister. God watched over us that day and now I think of sharing this story more and more with all those who need the inspiration to be strong.