updated 12/25/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 12/25/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST
"I'm getting my new leg! I'm getting my new leg!" Julio shouted earlier this month in the halls of Oakland's Children's Hospital. He could hardly contain his excitement as he was fitted with a prosthetic limb and a brace was placed on his badly injured left leg. Julio grasped the bars of a walker and took the first steps of a new life. "Look at me!" he cried. "Look at me!"
Julio's father, Pastor, 31, a construction worker, grinned. After the death of his wife, Petra, in the 1-880 collapse, and the surgery required to repair the crushed bones in the face of Julio's sister, Cathy, 8, it was the happiest moment in many weeks for father and son. Julio's smile faded only when his physical therapist decided he had done enough. "Can't I keep my leg on?" he asked. "Then everyone can see it."
That will have to wait until a few days before Christmas, when Julio, using crutches, should be able to walk out of the hospital. But clearly the quake's pluckiest victim, like the city of San Francisco, was already back on his feet.