October, 1989

By Jeremy McDonald


Just a forwarning, this story is a little graphic in langauge and in detail, so proceed with caution.

So as some may know, my sister was killed when I was nine months old and she was nine-years-old when it happened (We were born in the same month, January and almost two weeks apart.  My sister on the 20th and me on the seventh).

But as we start up school here this week, if not already, I just wanted to share this tell-tale story to be aware.

It was a week before the 1989 San Francisco Earthquake and we were living in Campbell, California, about five to ten minutes down the street from The Winchester Mystery House (never been in, but my dad did threaten to leave me and my younger brother there on Halloween growing up if we didn’t calm down growing up).

So on this day, my sister was walking to school that me and my younger brother would eventually go to six years (for me in 1995) and eight for my younger brother (for kindergarten in 1997-ish, we’re youngish haha) with some friends.  They got to the crosswalk in front of the school along a busy street in Hamilton Ave. about a quarter-mile from Winchester Blvd and when they were able to cross the street, with red lights around them, they crossed like they had before.

Like any kid in the fourth-grade like my sister, she messed around and jumped in front of the crossing guard as they cross the median of this four-lane street (two going one way, two the other), where a older gentleman gunned through the red light hitting my sister as they entered the second-half of the crossing.  The car dragged her a good distance, it varies from what I’ve heard but it was a good distance.  She was killed on impact they believed with the guy going about 45.

On top of that, she was ripped from her best friends hand.  I saw this friend when I was 11 because I was friends with her younger sibling in 2000 and she was still distraught over it even then.

My dad had his regrets of not showing more love that day to her, and all I have to remember her of is a drawing she drew for me in between me being born and that day and whatever is in her foot locker-thing with her stuff in it.  I can still feel the crayon on the paper as if it was just drawn on it.  I’ve only looked in the foot locker-thing once in passing one night, but I would need more than one day to do that.

Her middle name was Michelle, which I gave to my daughter Natalie as her middle name.

I’m 29 now, about the same age as my parents when this happened (mom was 29, already battling with kidney issues and my dad was already 30) and Amber and I always talked about how we can’t phantom being that young with that kind of loss.  It’s been almost 30 years and my dad is still hurting from that and he’s almost 60.

It hurt my mom until she passed in 1993 that she wanted to be buried in the same cemetery as my sister instead of where my mom’s sister was buried at across town (my mom and aunt both died of the same kidney issue, just two years apart. 1991 and 1993), so she can be with Tamara, my sister.

I go down to Santa Clara where they’re at from time-to-time, most recently in May before Natalie was born.  But the moral of the story is this:

With school starting, watch out for kids crossing the street, because it echos beyond you trying to get to work on-time trying to gun it or not paying attention.


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