Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I do have memories

"In less than one hour, what was once a stately white barn with concrete walls was reduced to a smoldering ruin."

I went to breakfast with dad this morning (since he had finally given me more than 2 hours notice that he wanted to) at Chrome Grill. While we were sitting there an ambulance drove by. About a minute later there was a fire truck and some police cars. A gentleman next to us said "must be a bad wreck." I looked to dad and told him that I always get nervous when I hear sirens on this side of town (the side I live on). When we finished I decided to head home before going to work to make sure everything was ok. I came home to this:

So long Joe's House

This was an intentional fire that got out of control. Thankfully no animals or people were harmed. 18 years ago we weren't so lucky....

September 27th, 1994, I was a small fish in a big pond. Literally. I was a sixth grader swimming at the high school pool. Each elementary school took turns taking their sixth grade classes to swim at CHS. The most terrifying part of this was riding the bus home with high schoolers.Thankfully, my bus driver was the same bus driver I had had since the first day of kindergarten. That day, I walked through the courtyard to the bus. Before I stepped on, I glanced to the east and saw balls of black smoke in the sky. I didn't have a chance to think about it before Denver (my bus driver) told me it was coming from my farm. He didn't know the details, but promised to get me home as soon as possible.

They weren't letting any buses down Alquina Road so one of my teachers met me at Eastview (my elementary school) to take me home. By then I had learned that it was not a house but a barn that had caught fire. For some, this may have been good news. Not for this farm girl. Any barn on my farm was just as important as the roof that was over my head. Not only did they house my animals, but they had a very rich history. This was the barn I left that morning:

The barn on the hill
I came home to this that afternoon:

I always say that I have no memories of my childhood, but I could recap this moment beginning to end. From the smell of my chlorinated hair, to the sound the fire hoses made keeping the other barns from catching fire. One thing I will remember most is my Grandpa with his head in his hands. By this time he had lost his eyesight. My dad remembers Grandpa asking "Is it the big one?" After dad replied yes he asked "Is it gone?" to which he replied with another yes.

It was very hard for me to drive down Alquina Road this morning and see the flames coming from the farm. When I got home tonight there was still some parts of Joe's House that were crackling, but "...rain showers helped diminish the remaining embers" just like the paper reported 18 years ago for the barn on the hill.