A slip, broken hip finally puts June on the sidelines

Around Town column

January 29, 2010

If you haven’t heard by now, yes, longtime Signal columnist June Jewett fell and broke her hip last Wednesday. She was moved to the Good Samaritan rehab facility Monday after spending several days in Olathe Medical Center for surgery on the hip.

I called her Monday afternoon and she sounds like June. She’s tough. But she also admitted that she’s in pain. That’s to be expected.

It was a classic scenario for someone pushing 90. She was at her daughter’s house in Olathe, went out to the van to get something out of the back, slipped, sprained her ankle, then fell and broke the hip. Ouch.

It was also the classic case of “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” that we’ve seen in the TV commercials for years. She hollered for help, she said, but of course her deaf daughter couldn’t hear her. Evidently the neighbor next door couldn’t either. Across the street is a vacant lot. So, June waited.

Eventually someone was walking by and June hollered at him. He called 911, let her daughter Candy know and off they went to the hospital.

Word started trickling in to the Signal office Thursday morning. One of the volunteers at the library where June hangs out a lot was first with the news. Sandra Johnson came in and asked, “Did you hear about June?”

No, I hadn’t. But it wouldn’t be the last time I did. There was a note from Joyce Callahan Saturday about it. Mike Callahan called Monday. Thankfully, he had the number of the hospital and June’s room number. I called and one of her other daughters, Trisha Spencer, answered. She happened to be here because she’s teaching an art class at the Lumberyard.

She said it was hectic. They were trying to get June packed up and moved from the hospital room to the rehab facility. She thanked me for calling and I told her to tell her mother not to worry about the column. June always worries about the column. She hates to miss even a single week.

Trisha said, “Oh, mom is so excited you called. She wants to talk to you.”

So, I was on the line with June. Finally. I’ve gotten to know her pretty well over the years. She stops by the office at least once a week, sometimes twice, to pick up a copy of the paper and deliver her column. Sometimes we chat for quite awhile, sometimes just a little and sometimes it’s just a wave because I’m with someone.

But I can always count on June. Over the holidays while she was in Texas, she still got her columns in. One was done ahead of time, the other e-mailed by her son-in-law. Then when she got back and we got hammered with blizzard No. 2, she pulled herself up her “hill” to crank out not one, but two columns so she could go stay with Candy in Olathe.

Good move. Of course, I’d told her just like I had at the holidays and other times over the years, “Don’t worry about the column, June.” But she does.

When we were talking Monday she was already figuring someway to do it. She could dictate to Trisha, she thought. Then she laughed and said, “My kids have always thought I was a dictator.”

Classic June. Similar to when she had her last surgery in May and she announced to the world that her colon is now a semicolon. Or she also had the idea for us to get a picture of her sledding down her hill to deliver her column. I said I didn’t think that was too good of an idea. And that was the thought in the back of mind. If we did that and she broke a hip, wouldn’t that be great. Well, here we are anyway.

I told her — again — not to worry about the column. I also asked if it was OK for me to let people know about what happened. She said it was.

So, at least for this week, there’s no Musings from the Hill, no June Jewett. How long will that last? Who knows, but my money’s on June bouncing back. Fast.

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