|Our Stone House/Rebuilt!|
I repeat...FIRE IS hell!
Remember the guy in the movie “Network”.
“I want you to get up now...I want you to get up and go to the window” etc, etc,etc.
Well..here’s what I want you to do.
Look around....seriously...look at what you have in your room...the other rooms...and select what you couldn’t live without.
Because...when a fire breaks out...you don’t have time to think about this stuff...important in your life.
So...take a good long look and determine what you would HAVE to save..and how you could save it...(toss your computer out a window? whatever)....for your life to continue on in the productive way it was before the match was lit.
Our small but attractive home was actually a picturesque stone house. You can Google something by Norman Rockwell called “EVERGREEN COTTAGE” and you’re looking at our home. My Dad had even matched the Rockwell colors with the red door and the green awnings on the windows. We had a small old fashioned wood burning stove where we built a fire to keep warm.
My parents had sold their house in the Chicago suburbs (bye Jackie!) and in the summer lived in this stone house and then they wintered (with our cat Fabian) in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.
I had lost the election and was looking for work in radio again.
It was November and cold and I used a small bit of lighter fluid on some wood to get the fire burning.
A small part of wood...already burning popped out of the stove and onto the floor and swish ...thing took off like you couldn’t believe.
I grabbed the phone and dialed the operator and told her what had happened. She tried to keep me on the phone to get more information on the rural location...but I screamed at her that I had to get out.
Now here’s the tough part.
I had about two minutes to get everything from my life in hand and out the door.
My car was parked close to the house and I worried about that.
What I saved in that short period of time and what I didn’t was based totally on what I could see in the bourgeoning smoke filled house.
Unlike you...whom I’m sure have followed my suggestion to single out those things you would save...I was completely disorganized.
I did grab my wallet and brief case but at the same time I left my correspondence which included two letters from the late JFK and one from his brother Bobby. They burned to a crisp along with my other important documents like my passport etc.
All of my tapes from my radio days also burned up. And that was a singular loss I could not replace...like the letters.
I got out ok...was not injuried...just coughing a bunch of smoke out of my lungs and I did get the car moved having found the keys in time.
I don’t think I actually had two minutes...it seemed more like less than a minute before I couldn’t breath. Once that happens... you have to get out.
We were not near a fire station and they had to send a volunteer fireman out to confirm the fire (it happened to be the man who farmed our land) and by the time he had confirmed it the other firemen had suited up and they came out with two or three trucks....the main and rear portion of the house (wood) was engulfed and not worth saving. The actual stone part in the front and sides was not damaged and my Dad would be able to get that cleaned up and build a new house onto the old stone house and my parents actually got a nice new home out of the insurance...which my Mother badly deserved as she loved the Chicago house and the neighbors there very much.
I rented a room in a boarding house in Rockford and proceeded to seek a job.