When I was 5, our house caught fire. My siblings and I were at our grandmother’s house. My mom was grocery shopping. My dad was working on remodeling the kitchen of the 100 year old farmhouse we lived in. After shopping, Mom picked us up from grandma’s. It was October, and there were lots of leaves on the ground.
What I remember seeing is the smoke. When we were about 2 miles from home, we could see it–a big black column billowing up above the trees with orange tongues of flame flickering out here and there.
What I remember hearing is my mother saying, “Someone must be burning tires……….No! that’s a house!……………It’s our house!”
When we reached our neighbor’s house (about a quarter mile away from our place), their daughter ran out and shouted for us to stop, her hair whipping in the wind. We stayed there and waited and watched the red and yellow lights flashing on the firetrucks.
My sister who was a year younger than I, cried that she wanted to sleep in her own bed. I being so much older and wiser thought to myself how silly she was to want her bed when it was burning up. Personally, I hoped my dolly that said, “Momma” had been saved from the fire.
It never occurred to me to wonder if my dad was safe (he was.) I imagined him helping the firemen and climbing up their tall ladders.
The house burned quickly–too fast for the firemen to save anything. My dad did have time to pull out the file cabinet drawer with all the important papers.