Ms. Valenti, teacher at Elmer Avenue Elementary School, stop reading this article now — at least until later. (Don’t worry, this is good news.)
Fifth-grader Susan Anderson, one of seven family members hit by an SUV in December, is returning to Ms. Valenti’s fifth-grade class today.
And she’s looking for it to be a surprise.
“I’ll knock on the door and she’ll probably answer it thinking it’s somebody else,” Susan said Wednesday, her last day at home after three months with a tutor. “She’s probably going to be happy.”
Susan suffered two broken legs in the accident but now gets around using a single crutch. Susan’s return to school leaves only twin sister Lynn Anderson still home.
Lynn, who suffered the worst injuries, returned home in a wheelchair a month ago. Just this past week, she started using a walker.
Lynn was once in a coma and family and friends had feared the worst.
It’s been three months of progress and gains for the Andersons. But there have also been setbacks. The family’s ordeal began Dec. 3 as they returned home from a trip for ice cream. Mother Sherry Anderson and six of her seven children were crossing State Street when they were struck by a motorist from Saratoga County. Father Edward Anderson was at work; a seventh child was with a grandmother.
All survived, but with varying degrees of injury.
The last few months have been spent getting the family better. Edward, an independent contractor, hasn’t been able to work. Instead he has had to help care for his children.
A fund set up in the family’s name raised about $5,300. They’ve also received other gifts and help, but that only went so far with food, transportation and rent. Rent ended up short.
It got to the point last week where they faced eviction, Edward Anderson said. They even had a Friday court date. But at the last minute he credited Parsons Child and Family Center with helping to get social services help. Social services covered the back rent.
“I really didn’t want to deal with it, I really didn’t,” he said Wednesday. “It was one of those situations where I did the best I could.”
Then there’s his wife, Sherry Anderson.
She had surgery on her knee two weeks ago. Then they had to deal with the housing situation, and the three months of recovery for her family.
Edward Anderson had his wife readmitted to the hospital Saturday night after she attempted to overdose on pills. Doctors are currently working on treatments, he said.
“It just got to be too much for her,” he said. As for his own well-being, he’s trying to do what he can. “I just compartmentalize it and keep looking forward.”
Injured in the accident were mother Sherry, sons Charles, 2, and Isaiah, 6, and daughters Sapeca, 15, Elizabeth, 11, and twins Susan and Lynn, 10. Another daughter, Angela, 14, was with her grandmother.
The driver of the SUV, Joel M. Eddy of Saratoga County, was not injured. No tickets were issued as police cited pedestrian error in the accident.
As for the medical bills, the family and their attorneys are working on claims against the driver’s auto insurance policy. Attorney Kevin Mednick said Wednesday they’re still waiting on better figures for medical bills. A lawsuit could come.
Lynn Anderson still has months of tests and therapy ahead, her father said. She still has issues with her memory. She frustrates easily and can get over-emotional. She also has issues of weakness on her right side.
“It was a relief to get her home,” he said. “There’s been a lot of progress, but there’s still a long road to go with her yet.”
As for Susan and her first day back at school today, the father will stay home to watch over Lynn and young Charles.
“I’ll tell her I hope she has a good day,” he said.