Grandma Gets Stuck in the Elevator

I wrote this post about a year before my mother died. 

My mother has lived under a cloud of bad luck lately.  Presently, she’s recovering from a broken hip and a fractured pelvis.

“First I got stuck in the elevator,” Mama said, “then I broke my hip.” She giggled like a school girl. “I think I gave Carlton and Rhonda (my brother and his wife) a good laugh when I got stuck.”

For several weeks she had been visiting Carlton, Rhonda, and their children in Macon. They put her in the guest bedroom on the second floor. The main staircase in the house is grand and curving, with so many steps it frightens even me.  And the back staircase is nearly as big as the main one. Mama used the elevator.

One afternoon, as my brother, his wife, and their three daughters were gathered in the kitchen, Caylee, a tall redhead with a dry sense of humor, stated matter-of-factly, “Grandmother is stuck in the elevator.”

Rhonda, said, “What!”

“Grandmother is stuck in the elevator.”

“How do you know?”

“I heard her beating on the walls.”

Carlton's girls

They rushed to the elevator. The contraption that my mother had never trusted had indeed stalled between floors; she was stuck inside.

Somebody called the elevator repairman, but he wasn’t answering the phone. A wave of hysteria filled the house and their phone calls continued to go unanswered. The details told to me are fuzzy from this point on, but I know my brother removed the elevator’s door, and his wife climbed down into what my mother probably thought was the pit of hell. Rhonda carried with her a folding beach chair for my mother. She wouldn’t be able to stand for long. At some point, as hysteria mounted, my brother lowered a ladder to them, and my mother, pushed by my sister-in-law, climbed to the top where Carlton and the children pulled her out. The bunch of Suttons fell in a heap to the floor, laughing until their stomachs hurt.

My mother told me she had never been through anything like that in her life. She said, “We don’t have elevators in Nashville, Georgia.” She thought for several moments. “I think I gave them all a good laugh.”  She seemed proud of herself, as if she’d presented to my brother and his wife a unique gift.

“You sure did.”

Not many days after being trapped in the elevator, standing in the kitchen and dining area of my brother’s house, Mama leaned over to look at her feet. She either lost her balance or her hip simply broke as it often does in the elderly. In any event, she toppled over. She told me, “I was nowhere near the stairs or the elevator, but I broke my hip and fractured my pelvis.”

“You’ve had a lot of mishaps.”

“I’d rather be stuck in that elevator than stuck in a wheelchair.”

“I know.”

“They need to get the elevator fixed.” She paused, sighed. “There’s not even a television in that thing.”

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