On a sunny Saturday afternoon in July 1960, a man from the town of Niagara Falls took his two children out for a boat ride in the upper Niagara River. The boat ran into some trouble--it hit a shoal and a pin broke in the engine--and capsized. The three bobbed about, surely frantic about meeting what they knew was just around the bend: the biggest waterfall in North America.
The older, 17 year-old girl was at the brink of the falls, clutching onto a rock. A crowd watched, worried, gasped as she was plucked out of the river by two passersby just before the falls. The father went over Horseshoe Falls, the Canadian part of Niagara Falls, and was killed.
And the boy... Roger Woodward, the 7 year-old boy, went over Horseshoe Falls just like his father did. He was wearing just a life jacket. But luck was on they boy's side. By some miracle, he fell 362 feet down the falls and lived.
One of the Maid of the Mist boats was rounding the bend of Horseshoe Falls. It was full of tourists but one of the crew spotted Roger's life jacket as it--and the boy--fell down the falls. The boat went to rescue Roger. After two unsuccessful throws of a life preserver, Roger caught it on the third throw and the crew pulled him to the boat and pulled him on board.
Today my kids and I drove up from Erie to Niagara Falls. It was their first time up there. I had been there at least once as a kid. I was disappointed the Maid of the Mist boats hadn't started to run for the season, and the trip was so last-minute that I hadn't had time to renew my passport to go do the cool things on the Canadian side.
|My seven year old at the American Falls|
But we just did some free stuff on the American side, and they don't realize that the fog inhibited the view more than usual or the construction kept them from seeing Horseshoe Falls from Goat Island.
We did get to walk over on a pedestrian bridge--not straight over the falls, but pretty darn close, and over the raging Niagara River that churned and spat and sloshed beneath our feet.
I held all my kids close, but I held my own seven year old son the closest. No need to repeat history in any way today...