Sunday, January 4, 2009


Grandma--Freeda Rose Moody Costner:

When I was about 5 years old, Dad would sell citrus, in the winter for Art Lee. Gracie Ann and I went along. We would go up to houses and knock on the door and ask if they wanted to buy any oranges or grapefruit. If they did they would buy from Daddy. That day there was a flood warning out for the Gila River. Dad wanted to cross the river and sell citrus in Eden Arizona. Mom asked him not to go that day--but he assured her he would beat the flood and then come back by the Pima Bridge. He went to school and got Gracie 9, and Ann 7, (I wasn't in school yet) and took us with him to do the knocking on doors. Usually the Gila River is small and can easily be crossed, but Dad drove off into the Gila River that had already begun to rise (he was singing "Praise to the Man" in a loud voice) halfway across the river the car drowned out. Dad knew he was in trouble so he left me and his wooden leg in the car and told me he would be back for me. I knew he would come. He swam out and had Gracie and Ann hold on to him while he swam across current and got them out. Water began to run through the car, and I was really scared. I looked upstream and it looked like all the water in the world was coming at me. I could see Dad and the 2 sisters about to get to safety, but the water was getting higher in the car, with me and the wooden leg floating and bumping. Daddy said I was crying loudly (but I don't remember it) when some CCC Boys drove up in a big truck. Before Daddy had time to come back they came in and carried me out. A wall of water hit and carried the car down stream just after I was out. The car was a new 37 or 38 Terraplane. Dad said, later, they dragged the car out, cleaned it out and continued to drive it. I can still remember the dress I wore that day--it was my Easter dress--a white cotton dress with little o polka dots (multicolored.)

[The 1935 Terraplane was produced in Detroit Michigan by Hudson - Ted J. Welch]


  1. i know that i must have heard this story before because i have had many dreams about being in this situation, or at least watching it happen. only the river was the san juan, just east of the bridge near our house.

  2. Marc, it was your family's way of getting you to stop sucking your thumb. Wow, I never thought your mental block would open up to remember that. Hey, if it's any consolation, Grandma got you swimming lessons after that.