Here is the page about me, John Wesley Beck IV. I am not sure what all I'll put here, but what the heck, I'll try to make it a good read.|
We can start when I was born (the first time) on August 1, 1968 at the Glover Memorial Hospital in Needham, Massachusetts. They stopped delivering babies there a few years later. That hospital is now the Beth Isreal/Deaconess - Needham Campus.
I was reborn in many ways on June 28, 1989, a month before I was 21. I had a bad car accident while driving to work one morning. I had just moved into a house in Shutesbury, MA with some friends from high school. The house was 3 miles up a 4 mile wooded mountain, and my job at that point was as a baker in a local restaurant in Amherst. I thought I had a good bead on things, as I understand it.
I had just finished a year at Greenfield Community College and with my record at Greenfield had gotten into UMass where I planned to go in that fall. I had a cute boyfriend, Sean McGrail, who I was all into, in my almost 21 year old way, my first car (a nice little blue Honda Civic). How nicely my life was setting itself up. Then . . . BAM.
It had rained the night before, and my car slipped on the wet road when I was going around a sharp corner on the twisty, turny country road that ran down the small mountain our house was on. There are a number of car accidents on that corner every year, so I don't feel all bad about that - it is a dangerous corner. I was probably late for work (I wouldn't be surprised) and my life was changed forever.
Along with damaging the nerves in my left arm and leg (paralyzing them both for months), breaking ribs and puncturing my lungs, I also smashed my head as my car bounced off the tree, flipping over to the other side of the road, tumbling down the embankment and came to rest upside-down, over a small stream that flows alongside the road.
I have learned it was a woman who was walking her dog down the road who saw me. My car was behind some bushes and scrub, not too visible from the road, and my friends who drove down the road looking for me did not see me, nor did any other car driving up/down that road for 2+ hours. My work had called my house when I did not show up for my shift, and my friends went out looking for me.
When the EMT's got to my car, I was hanging out of the broken sunroof, my head dangling in the stream. I know I am very very fortunate. Had I slipped further or in a different way, I would have drowned. By some lucky happenchance, my just bashed head was bathed in cool, running water for 2 hours just after it was smashed. I think that must be one of the reasons I have recovered as well as I have. Seems someone or something was looking out for me. I have no faith in the Judeo-Christian construct of "God", but I do have faith there is more going on than we can perceive or know, and somethings in that mystery like me.
When I smashed my head, I had a severe 'brain injury'. Some folks refer to this as a "head injury", but hell, you cut your lip shaving or get bitten on your forehead my a mosquito, that's a "head injury". What happened to me was far more serious.
I was in a coma for seven days, and very out-of-it for many months. I do not remember the first 2 months at all, and I started "coming back" to myself at the end of August and into September that year. I missed my 21st birthday, though I understand my family & friends had a party
One of my friends, Kim Zombik, told me that it was the "bravest" party she had ever been to. Here I was, once a lively, bright guy, now a slow, easily confused, wreck of a fellow with a paralyzed left side and the verbal skills of a 4 year old. Maybe 3 years old. And here were my family and friends, trying to have a Happy Birthday for me. One of the things about a brain injury - many people die from them - and the folks who survive, even the doctors cannot say how far they will recover. If they will ever be close to the person they once were. Kim did say (years later) that when another friend of mine, Gary Backstrom, started playing his guitar, and came to the song "Big Yellow Taxi" by
Joni Mitchell, apparently I started croaking along, as best I was able. Kim told me that when I started to 'sing', she knew I was coming back.
I guess she was right. Bless her.
After recovering nearly a year at my mother's house in Needham, MA (where I grew up) (though not in the house she lives in now - we moved a
lot (4 times) when I was growing up) - After nearly a year recovering at Mum's house, I moved back out to Shutesbury with my old friends, who
I really couldn't remember too well at that time (though we had many years of history together) and I started my 10 year Odyssey at Umass,
I finished at Umass with a BA in English, after travelling through a number of majors, failing quite a few courses I never got all the work done for and trying to find my way through. I wish now I had studied computers then, but things are almost always so much clearer in hindsight, yes? Realistically though, studying computers takes a lot of math (laugh - WHY?!? That's what calculators are for!) and heavy math is not something I have a lot of patience for.