SUNNY CAL JOURNAL: Travails Of "Primitive" Ambulance Service, Unafraid And Showing Up

By Bob Weaver 2023

We flashback to the "glorious" days of unrestricted funeral home ambulance service.

We traveled 300,000 miles on some of the worst highways known to man to barely accessible places, often under severe weather conditions, never really wrecking, but lots of dents and damage.

I've often cited the experience of running 1,200 ambulance calls from my Spencer funeral home throughout the 1960s, a real eye-opener about the human condition. Clearly we went the extra mile and were ignorant to the many risks. Maybe we didn't know any better,

It was after midnight, cold, roads slick, we got a call to a Looneyville residence (good place name for shenanigans), a woman sick or injured. She was a frequent flyer for service.

I went by myself (not uncommon in those days), entering the house it was apparent the occupants (except children) were highly inebriated, the woman was stretched out on the couch, going to her side with my toolbox, a first aid kit.

Bending down, in a quiet tone she began making amorous comments, saying "Bob, I always did like you."

A short time later, I looked back to discover her wobbly-kneed, bumbling husband had gone to another room to retrieve a pistol, pointing it at me and stating he was going to kill me.

Rising from the floor, instinctively I grabbed the metal tool box and slammed him over the head, knocking him out cold.

Other members of the family helped me load her into the ambulance to take her to Gordon's Hospital.

The man apparently recovered, I never heard another peep about the situation.

Another incident related to a local service station attendant who liked to imbibe.

During the early morning hours, my associate Allen Nicholas and I went to a truck crash on Colt Ridge to retrieve the injured man, and carrying him up a steep, woody hillside.

Placing him in the ambulance he was unruly, with efforts to calm him down failing. Shortly, he began kicking the windows of the Cadillac ambulance with his feet.

Stopping the ambulance, we continued our calming efforts, but when the ambulance continued, he continued to kick the windows.

I stopped the ambulance again on Rt. 14, and we dumped him from the cot beside the highway.

A few days later, we met at the service station, not bringing up the incident.

Fortunately, the incidents described here were rare.

Eventually, EMT training came along, and our conduct improved.