Thursday, January 8, 2015

God send someone. God send someone.

Today's crumb appeared in many newspapers in 1955, and was featured in the March, 1959, New Yorker magazine.

Boston, MA (June 15, 1955)  Thomas Whittaker, 44, who works for Stoneham Welding Service, got a powerful hunch yesterday afternoon. He had a feeling something was wrong, but he didn't know what. He felt compelled to get in his car and start driving. Several times along the way he tried to turn toward his home, but intuition kept him from doing so. Time after time he turned instead toward Washington Street, where his company was doing some work. "This is ridiculous," he thought. "That Washington Street job was suspended," but he kept edging toward the area. When he got there, he looked down into the 14-foot deep trench in the center of the street and at the bottom he saw a cave-in. The sides of the trench had collapsed, and projecting out of the dirt, sand and debris was a human hand.  "What a feeling," he said, "when I saw that hand waving out of the dirt."

He jumped in the trench and tried to claw away some dirt with his own hands. When he dug deep enough to see a wrist watch, he knew it belonged to his best friend and boss, John H. Sullivan, 41, owner of the welding service. Frantic now, Whittaker scrambled to the top of the trench and called for fire and police to help dig Sullivan out.

After his rescue, Sullivan said he'd gone to the abandoned site to finish up some work, and was buried when the sides of the trench gave way. He broke his nose and one ankle, and was under two-and-a-half tons of earth and stone for 90 minutes. Only his welder's mask prevented him from suffocating. He tried to yell, but realized nobody could hear him, so he began praying mental distress signals. "God send someone. God send someone" he prayed over and over and over again. That's when Whittaker felt the urge to go to Washington Street.

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