By Geriselda Balboa (1936-2001)
2-26-73. Last summer my 16 yr. old son had entered a sailing regatta to be held at Eagle Mountain Lake in Fort Worth. When the time came his daddy had to work the first day and it became my job to take him. When I have to take him I also have to take the other five along so the night before I baked cookies, made 2 dozen sandwiches, packed cold drinks and water, a plastic bag full of wet washcloths, change of clothes for the little ones, band-aids, etc. and a potty. By morning I was ready, but the boat had to be picked up from White Rock Lake and I had no idea what a job that was. First of all I had to back the car far enough into the water to hook up the boat and that panicked me. I would move it as far as I thought necessary and he was still motioning for me to go farther. But already I could feel myself floating. Finally some helpful person came and convinced me to keep going till he said enough. I closed my eyes and prayed. By noon all was ready, boat, sailing gear, children, food, and my son Robert, driving after some discussion of the fact that it was his boat and he had driven with a boat on the back, though not with me. By the time we reached Fort Worth my right leg was shaking from pushing on a brake that wasn't there.
We spent a few hours following wrong directions to the lake and arrived too late for the practice race. But the lake was beautiful and so big and deep compared to White Rock. I began to worry about him sailing there after I left. However there were soon more real worries. The four little ones ran out onto the dock with Robert to look at the boats while one stayed in the car and I stood and watched. Out of habit I counted heads to make sure they were all there and came up one short, at the same time seeing Robert jump down on his stomach and peer into the water, one of them scream and start running toward me. I thought as I started running, "it couldn't be" but knew it was. The dock seemed miles long but soon I knew which one it was, saw Dan, my youngest being pulled up and dropped in again. There were no clear thoughts in my mind - I just tried to move. I reached them as Robert pulled him up again and this time set him on the dock. His first words to me were, "I didn't mean to do it." As if that mattered then! I cleaned the blood from his cut chin and we started back to the car for dry clothes.
But the car was not there! We found it down the hill from where it was parked, among the boats waiting to be launched, with Rhonda inside crying. She had been moving the gear shift and it had started rolling. Without the motor running she could not get it stopped.
Now I could not have any more of this and so lined them all up in front of me, sat them down and gave them the food (like the old woman in the shoe) and I quietly went to pieces.
What a day!!
Growing up Balboa ... a nonstop adventure. Finding a daily journal from a writing class after her passing ... priceless. Thanks Mom ... Pam