Parents weekend 2014 was to be a little vacation for our family. We looked forward to seeing a few old friends and meeting new ones. This was our first trip to Charleston for Parents’s Weekend since my son was a senior in 2010.
We did get to Charleston as planned an hour before the seniors marched into the field house to receive their hard-earned rings. We joined the other families along Jones Avenue to get a glimpse of the knobs lining the street and the seniors marching down the road with huge grins on their faces.
Within in the first few minutes of snapping photos the plans for a restful weekend went out the window. I was across from second battalion snapping photos and my husband was stepping up onto a bench to get a better angle of the seniors. As I was snapping photos I heard our daughter scream. I turned to see my husband laying flat on his back in front of the bench. My heart sank as I ran the few feet to be by his side.
He said his ankle hurt, then exclaimed, “My lens!” My husband is a professional photographer. His 28-300 lens was shattered. While the crowd around him asked what hurt, he was more worried about the broken lens.
I’ve learned that while on the campus of The Citadel we run into the parents we were supposed to run into. Last Friday was no exception. Within minutes of arriving on campus. I ran i to my long time friend from high school in NJ, Gwen Lynch Christ. Right after Stanley fell off the bench a couple whom I had corresponded with via Facebook appeared. Terrie Lane said, “Dorie, this is Gene, have you two met in person before?” Gene Lane, a Citadel dad I met through Facebook who has a background in sports medicine, was next to Stanley asking if he could help.
Gene helped Stanley onto the bench and began to evaluate the situation. Stanley was in so much pain at the time it was hard for him to respond. Terrie ran to the battalion and asked the TAC officer for ice. Gene wrapped the right foot with the ice and a cadet with a gold cart arrived to take Stanley and our daughter to the car. At this point Stanley assumed he had a sprained ankle. He had stepped off the bench and rolled his ankle when he caught the edge of the concrete footing. We decided I would go to the field house to get photos of my “adopted” senior cadet. I’ve followed the career of Cadet Lucas since before matriculation day his knob year and wanted to be there to see him receive his ring. Stanley and Chelle went to the car and decided to meet us at 4th battalion.
I watched from the top of an aisle in the field house then left to find Stanley and Chelle by 4th battalion. Stanley was still insisting his ankle was sprained. He took photos of the seniors sprinting back to the barracks. He took photos of the proud families celebrating with their cadets. He then took photos of Cadet Lucas with his ring, with his mom and friend and with us. At some point Stanley turned to me and said, “I need to get my foot x-rayed. Something doesn’t feel right.”
We loaded our van and went to the emergency room at Roper Hospital just over a mile from the campus. Sure enough the x-rays showed a bone was broken in his foot. We decided that while he waited for the doctor I would take Chelle and check into our hotel.
On the way to the hotel a call came in from Hotwire. The room I had booked through them a month before was overbooked. I pulled into a fast food parking lot to talk to the Hotwire representative. The customer service person who was on the line said she would find another hotel. She didn’t. After talking to three additional Hotwire representatives I was told there were no more hotels in their inventory and they would refund my money. That left us 6 hours from home, with a husband in the emergency room and no hotel.
I called AAA and the customer service rep found one hotel room at the Hampton Inn and Suites at the Isle of Palms Connector. While the cost for one night equaled what we were going to pay for three nights we took the room.
Once we returned to the hospital, Stanley was put into a splint and told not to put any pressure on his foot until he could see an orthopedic doctor at home. We left the hospital and went directly to the restaurant to meet Cadet Lucas, his mom and her friend. At least we enjoyed a wonderful celebratory dinner at the Charleston Crab House on James Island. We even had a little entertainment when a knob arrived with his family. The knob took one look at Cadet Lucas’ senior stripes on his shoulder boards and turned sheet white. The poor family requested a table farther away from ours. Cadet Lucas had no idea any of this was going on around him at the time. I spoke to the mom of the knob and told her about the Facebook group for 2018 parents and assured her Cadet Lucas was too busy enjoying dinner with his mom to remember her son the knob.
Our first six hours in Charleston did not spoil the whole weekend. We adjusted our plans, settled in for the night and had a good nights rest.
To be continued. . . .