Monday, January 12, 2009

The Boat Show

"Barn's burnt down... now I can see the moon"
11 years ago our house burnt down. The short story... mobile home + old space heater with bad wiring
The rest is much more important...

It happened the weekend of the boat show in Portland, so every year, this weekend, I remember...

I remember someone yelling my name in a theatre during the opening credits of the movie Firestorm (serious, I couldn't make that up).
I remember running out an emergency exit into slow falling snow as we ran to our car.
I remember pulling up our street to see firetruck lights flashing on our neighbors home.
I remember the smell the burnt memories and the surprise load of clean "reds" laundry in the washing machine.
I remember the moment we found out a neighbor had saved our dog, Belle.
I remember spending the night courtesy of the Salvation Army.
I remember shopping at Target for underwear and being grateful I had worn my favorite JCrew denim jacket to the movie.
I remember the phone call to both sets of parents.
I remember being grateful our kids were with Granny.
I remember going through what was left of the house, the next day.
I remember Chris' Goosebumps library on his shelf, melted and the faces of Molly's dolls.
I remember realizing I had lost my piano...

When you have a fire, you learn things...

I learned to sleep with bedroom doors closed.
I learned to mail pictures of your youngest child to your family sooner... we have very few pics of Abby as a baby/toddler.
I learned to store important things low because heat rises.
I learned that you may never know how kind people really are until you are in need.

One story I want to always remember is the day the kids came home from Granny's and we told them about the fire.
Mike and I rented an apartment that morning, I remember how cold and empty it was.
We made our way to my friend Elise's house and waited for the kids...
The telling of the story is a blur, all we could do was get through the story and be with them. Then we made our way to show them our new apartment.
I tried to get myself "up" for this, committed to make the best of it... and when we arrived it had been made a home by my friends... as if by magic, they had taken rooms and filled them with the things we needed, there were presents in the living room (this was only 3 weeks after Christmas) and cookies were baking in the oven when we arrived. Chris' school friends went together to replace his new N64, everywhere we looked there was love.

I know I am changed by this experience.
I care less about stuff and more deeply about other things.
And, I cry more easily, even now, when I think of the love that we were shown.

This is how long ago eleven years is... this is the first day outside our new home.


Anonymous said...


April said...

Wow. I'm speechless. Thank you for sharing that story. I can't imagine...

Anonymous said...

Such a great post. Thanks for sharing that. You never know what people have gone through in their lives or how deeply things impact them.
Thanks again.
don hofer

Stephanie said...

beautiful. when you look back, you can see just how much you gained from this loss, although losing so much must have been so painful. again, beautiful!

thank you for sharing.. i love your heart!


Melinda said...

The soul of this story is very present. Well told.

Dave said...

...and somewhere in the flames of this adversity, was forged part of the spirit and heart of the woman I am proud to call my friend today.

Anonymous said...

Our story ended differently ... because the fire stopped in the garage. We were out Christmas shopping when it started, and a neighbor walking his dog saw the smoke, our house was 3 minutes from the firestation ... 5 more minutes, and the firefighters said it would have taken off through the attic. We were also blessed by neighbors ... who weren't afraid to get involved .. who saved our dog .. and those firefighters ... what they do. Thanks for the memories. AmyE

Jenni Clayville said...

i love this post. you've told me this story a million times now, but each time you tell me, i learn something new.

can't wait to see you tomorrow!