My husband was always tinkering with his cars. One car he had needed a new transmission. He knew he could do this
Indian War Paint
himself. He purchased the transmission and had it delivered to our home. He went out and rented the jacks with chains to lift the motor out of his car. Each afternoon and on the weekend he was under this car taking off the old transmission in the middle of our driveway. He had the garage blocked with his car and the new transmission on the floor I was forced to park our other car in the driveway while he worked on his.
I would hear my husband yell for me to come and help him. I know nothing about cars and had other things to do in the house. I would arrive and he would ask me to hold a wrench on a bolt for him while he went under the car to loosen the other end. For some reason I could never get this one right. He would yell for daughter who was 6 years old at the time to come and help him. She was always there next to him doing everything with him.
I would laugh as he would pick her up by her feet and she would crawl into the motor of the car like a little snake. She could wedge herself in to the smallest places. She was skinny and had long legs and arms on her. He would get her in there just where he wanted her and she could block herself inside the motor and hold the wrench the way he wanted.
The two of them would spend hours on end under this car and in the motor. She would come in the house covered in grease from head to toe. She had one of my husband’s old shirts she would wear that went almost to the floor on her. On the inside of our garage we had another shower where he would clean her before coming into the house. She was more of a son to my husband than our oldest son was. He hated to get his hands dirty and you would never see him under the car with my husband.
One weekend my husband was almost done with the transmission in the car. He had in wedged into place and filled with 5 quarts of transmission fluid. He was out in the middle of the driveway working and my daughter was right there beside him. She had her own wooden plank with roller on it so she could roll under the car with him. He had made a special one for her that was small and did not interfere with his work.
I can remember this afternoon like it was yesterday. I head something crash, my husband yelled out in anger and in shock. I had a bad feeling in my stomach that the jacks had fallen and the car was sitting on top of my husband and daughter. I went running through the house in utter panic. When I reached the back door I was afraid to open the door. I knew I had to move and get out there. What if the car was crushing my husband and daughter?
I reached for the door knob not being able to feel it turn under sheer panic. I finally got the back door open and went outside. I could see the car was still on the jacks and my husband was moving under the car. I looked under the car and all I saw was a pool of red. I was sure this was blood when I first saw it. I was in shock and could not even speak.
I stood up getting ready to run in the house and call the fire department to come and rescue my husband and daughter. Next thing I know the two of them come rolling out from under the car. They are both covered in red liquid. I was in a state of panic I had no idea what had happened.
My husband took one look at my face and assured me all was fine. He said the transmission jack had slipped and dumped the 5 quarts of transmission fluid down on top of him and my daughter. They were both covered in transmission fluid.
I was in such shock I started to scream widely at my husband that he should not have our daughter under that car putting her life in danger. I saw her standing there dripping in red fluid all in her hair, face, and hands. My husband calmed me down enough and I got control of myself. I then took a look at my little girl who was covered in transmission fluid.
My daughter had very long hair down past her rear end and it was filled with transmission fluid. I had no idea how I could ever get this mess out of her hair. I left the two standing there dripping in transmission fluid and went in the house to get some scissors.
When I came back outside my daughter was back under the car again with my husband and the two of them were laughing so hard. I peered under the car to see my daughter slapping the transmission fluid with her hands and using it to paint on my husbands face. She said that he was her hero and now he was an Indian. She was using the transmission fluid to paint his face. She said now he was ready for war and he was the Chief of all Indians.
I was ferrous when I saw her under this car again. My only thoughts were to get her out of there cut off that mess of hair and try and clean her up. I told my husband to stop playing around and bring her in the house. I needed to cut her hair and clean her up. He said you will never cut her hair again. Leave her alone I will take care of her and clean her up.
The two played around cleaning up the transmission fluid for about an hour. I could hear them laughing and playing around during this time. Next thing I know it is quiet and they were not laughing any longer. I went back outside to see what was happening. The only thing I could think of was how I could get that mess out of her hair. I had made up my mind I would cut off her hair so I could clean her up.
When I arrived outside he had her in the garage all her clothes stripped off and she was covered in this white grease remover. He had her hair full of grease remover. He was using old rags to take the transmission fluid off of her. He had so much of this in her hair it was pink in color.
I looked at my daughter standing there covered in white grease cleaner and her hair dripping pink drops. I told my husband you will never get this mess out of her hair and it was better to cut it off and let it grow again. He disagreed with me and said that he would take care of her and to go back in the house and leave him alone.
You see my husband never forgave me the one time I cut her hair. She was 2 years old and decided she did not want to eat her oatmeal. She took her bowl of oatmeal and tuned it upside down on her head and was wearing her bowl. I had this mess all over the house and in her hair. I cut off her hair when I took her in the bathroom to clean her up. My husband came home that night to see the hair cut I gave her and he was so angry. I had made a terrible mess of her hair and he had a hard time to get it cut straight after I was done. He told me that would be the last time I would ever cut her hair.
After an hour my daughter came in the house all wrapped in a towel and went in her room to get dresses. When she came back out her hair looked like a rats nest. It was so full of tangles and I had no idea how I could ever get them out. Her skin was so red I thought that it was stained for good with transmission fluid. Come to find out that in order to get the grease remover off her my husband showered her in the hottest water he could. He said that he had to wash her hair 5 times to get all the grease out of her hair.
After my husband appeared and went in our room to change. He took our daughter and sat her in his lap and started to comb out that mess in her hair. He worked on her hair for over an hour taking such tiny careful strokes combing out every single knot in her hair. I kept complaining to him that he should just cut off her hair and he would give me the look which told me it was time to be quiet.
My husband and daughter were very close and still are to this day. She was always there with him side by side working in the garage, building this and that, and loving it when he worked on the motor of his cars. I will never forget that day when I thought I had lost the two of them when I heard that awful crash.