A dream to ski again
My jack-of-all-trades father had brought forward another talent no one knew he had – working as a truck-fleet salesman. At the age of 61, he went to work for the Dodge Motor Company in melting-pot Boston as a multi-language huckster who sold almost as many vehicles in Spanish, Yiddish and German as he did in English.
I don’t remember how I got home from Martinsburg, but I do vividly recall that I limped up the lawn with a tear or two rolling down my smiling face. Mother was terribly stricken when she first saw me coming across the lawn. She thought I had crippled both legs because my combat boots with strap-on cuffs looked to her like orthopedic devices. Father was stunned by the display of scars and bandages on my face. He thought I would be disfigured for life.
Soon after I returned to Martinsburg, I was transferred to the Valley Forge army hospital near Phoenixville, Penn. There I underwent 10 months of plastic surgery and pretty much ended up looking like I had before I was hit – except a little older and a bit wiser.
I had spent 39 months in the army, 17 of them in hospitals. I had been told over and over that I might not walk again and that, certainly, I would never ski.
I was released from the army in August 1946, the month I turned 22. I returned to Sharon, worked for the town road department and drank a lot of beer with high school buddies.
But my dream was clear: One way or another, skiing was going to be my life. And I was going to start in Aspen. This new American mecca for skiers was about to open in four months. I couldn’t wait.
The following is the 24th installment of the Vail Daily’s serialization of “Vail: Triumph of a Dream” by Vail Pioneer and Founder Pete Seibert. This excerpt comes from Chapter Four, entitled “The War Years.” The book can be purchased at the Colorado Ski Museum, as well as bookstores and other retailers throughout the Vail Valley.