Our House Fire, New Years Eve … 1958
It was Christmas vacation and we had a wonderful time riding the toboggan down the hills on the farm. They were long hills and we all got on. One of my sisters sat in front, then a little one, then another sister, another little one, then me and then my older brother. All six of us had a fun day of sliding with the toboggan. I knew to keep my feet inside the moving toboggan, somehow my foot slipped off toward the bottom of the hill and I sprained my ankle. I really believe I didn’t like going so fast and I thought if I put my foot out I could slow it down. I was 17 and a little naive.
I laid around on New Year’s Eve, babying my foot, before everyone got ready and went up stairs to bed.
A few hours later I awoke to hear my Dad calling Fire! Fire! The upstairs was filled with smoke and I knew I had to get up an out of the house. There was no time to think about anything else. I hobbled out the front door where my Dad stood holding a rug over the cold air register that was just in front of the door. There were flames coming up around the rug. My sister who was 12, and slept with a younger sister had ushered her in front of her down the steps but when Theresa saw the flames she thought she was dreaming and turned around and ran back upstairs and got back in bed covering with a blanket. Mary turned and ran after her and again urged her to go ahead of her and out the flaming door. As Mary crossed the door way stepping on the burning register, she felt it fall. My dad had grabbed her and pulled her outside.
He instructed us to go to the barn. I knew my boots were in the back porch so I snuck inside and put my boots on. I may have grabbed a coat too, not sure. I went to the barn where my sisters and Mom all gathered in our nightclothes. We gathered up some straw to cover our bodies and huddled together to keep warm. My sister Rosie, who was 15, noticed Mary’s burned feet and immediately went to the milk house and gathered some milk filters which she ran water on and went to bath and soothe Mary’s burned feet.
Soon neighbors came and took us in a car to their home. They took Mary went to the hospital with 2nd and 3rd degree burns on her feet. As we drove out the driveway, flames were already coming out the upstairs widow and roof. It happened so fast. Everyone felt numb.
I remember a neighbor taking us to church the next morning, New Years Day. We had a lot to be grateful for. We all made it out safely. I was so happy I had my boots because I didn’t have any shoes, just boots. I wore a skirt someone donated. My sister remembers all the clothing she had was too big for her. She remembers going to school without underwear for a few weeks, before a local store donated some underwear for us girls and my mom.
My very first concern was if I would be able to go the college. I was a senior and with everything gone, I was pretty sure there would be no money for me to go to college. But there was a way. Again, I am so grateful for my parents who sacrificed a lot so I could start my education.
We stayed at the neighbors for a day or two and then came home to a renovated empty chicken coop. My sister and I shared a bed that someone had donated. My brother and my dad’s hired man also shared a “room” with a sheet in between the “rooms” in the renovated empty chicken coop. There was a big wood stove in the middle of the chicken coop that keep us fairly warm.
I don’t know how we survived, but we did with love and donations from a few people. Not everyone was helpful and loving. An uncle purchased a small house trailer with Dad’s promise to pay back “every red cent”. The rest of the family slept in there. That is where we prepared meals and ate breakfast and supper. Food was scarce and there were a lot of mouths to feed. The freezers and refrigerators were destroyed in the fire. The canned food which Mom had put up the summer before was destroyed in the fire too.
What am I grateful for our home fire in 1958? What did I learn from that experience? I’m grateful for my family and how they help each other whenever there is a need. Sometimes I ask myself what more could I have done? I could have grabbed more boots and coats from the back porch. Could I have helped my sister get out of the house? There was so much smoke that I could not have seen her to help her. My number one concern was to hobble on my ankle and get myself out and to the barn where I would be safe. I am grateful for my sisters as they helped the two smallest ones get out safely.
As I look back now to New Years Eve, 57 years ago, what did I learn from that experience? As I reflect on the personalities of my sisters, even at that young age, they already were living their purpose. Mary is the most compassionate, caring person you would ever want to know. Rosie is the nurse and helping others who are hurting physically has always been her purpose. I think about how my purpose showed through… I knew I needed to take of me. Everyone else had a job. With my sprained ankle I just needed to get out and take the best care of me I knew. I was a survivor and I was the best one that I could rely on to help me.
Today I continue to believe we each have the responsibility to take care of us. I believe in education and teaching others what I have learned in self care and love for our physical bodies, our emotional mind and our spiritual well being. I believe life is all about Love.
The worst of the story was the furnace company paid off the judge and jury for their benefit and Mom and Dad didn’t receive any compensation for the faulty furnace they purchase just a few months before the fire. A few years after the fire one gentleman approached Mom on the street and confessed that the company paid then off to support the furnace company in their decision. Mom started to cry, but it was too late to do anything then.
I had a good reason to write this blog now. My right foot was giving me a lot of trouble for the last few weeks. I tried everything, chiropractic adjustments, essential oils, crystals and Reiki, for pain. My daughter tested me with NRT, Nutritional Response Testing, and discovered nickel was creating a blockage in my system. She asked about second hand smoke which could be where nickel came from. I asked her to check if the nickel could be from the house fire in 1958? Both she and I were surprised with the message that something had to be released about the house fire which was causing the pain in my foot and severe chest congestion. It is amazing what the body holds in its subconscious and when it needs to be released it gives your body a message to deal with it!
My New Years Wish to you is to listen to messages from your body. They may be subtle, and will continue until you listen and do something … sit and be quiet, listen to the message, tap with EFT, change direction, dig deeper, ask for help from a holistic professional. It is time to release something that is causing you pain.
Blessings and peace to you for the New Year!