Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Her Last Walk

Sept. 13, 1907
Los Angeles

The family was too poor to take a streetcar, so Concepcion Parra, 60, and her sister Mrs. J.L. Ghiotto began walking the 12 miles to El Monte with Parra’s 5-year-old granddaughter, Delphina Verde, to see the girl’s mother. To save time, they took a shortcut along the streetcar tracks.

Around State Street, they jumped back to avoid a southbound car from Pasadena and were hit by a northbound car. Parra (or Parras) and Ghiotto were thrown clear by the collision, but Delphina was crushed under the wheels.

Fully conscious, Delphina told motorman John Barrett, “Take care of granny first. “Granny’s all hurted.”

The three victims were put on a southbound car and taken to the Receiving Hospital. There was no way to save Delphina’s crushed foot.

“My foot’s all hurted,” she said. “Tan’t I ever walk no more wif my foot all tut off?” The surgeons were so upset they called a matron to try to cheer up Delphina until the chloroform did its work.

Later, when the girl was being taken to Clara Barton Hospital, she said to one of the surgeons: “Tum here. Aincha goin’ to dive me a tiss before I go?”

When the doctor embraced her, she said, “Dood by.”

“As the doors of the hospital swung shut, two police surgeons with moistened eyes looked sharply up to see if the matron had noticed their weakness, only to find the matron gently sobbing with her handkerchief over her eyes,” The Times said.

The Times has no further word on Delphina, but because of the Internet, we know that her tragedies were not over. Her mother, Lizzie Parra Irvin, died of tuberculosis in San Diego, March 24, 1917. We also discover that Delphina’s father was named James and that her last name was actually Irvin.

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