I Will Always Remember The 21ST. Of December 1975.

I Will Always Remember The 21ST. Of December 1975.
It was a beautiful Sunday morning in the country. Crisp and chilly but not too cold. Dad had the fires going throughout the house so it was warm when Donna and I got up to go to church. I was 17 years old and I was teaching the nursery class in Sunday School. Donna was 5 years younger than me. She loved Sunday School. I don’t remember why my parents didn’t go that Sunday and if they didn’t go my brother (16) certainly wasn’t going to go.
I do remember that we had our Christmas Program that night at 7PM. I was the narrator. Mom had made me a beautiful long dress to wear. I Had  already  been given that gift and a brand new pair of shoes the night before.
We all had spent a wonderful evening the night before in front of the fireplace, wrapping gifts and having appetizers and all sorts of good treats. It seemed to take me forever to wrap all the gifts I had gotten for everyone.
I had saved up money from working to buy special Christmas gifts for the family. About $300.00 for everyone.
I remember that figure but I have no idea what I got them.
I do remember what happened the night I bought them.
(That is a story for another time. A funny story about my little Fiat. )

Mom and dad might have stayed home to get the last of the preparations done for the upcoming week.
Not only was Christmas fast approaching but we had family from both sides coming to spend Christmas with us. It was our first Christmas in our new house. Our first Christmas in the older section of the house.
(Another story for another time. There was a small rundown house on the property when we moved to the farm. We renovated it and built a new house as well. My bedroom was the old kitchen).
I also remember that it was my cousin’s birthday.
So mom, dad and John stayed home while Donna and I headed off to church. The one thing I really remember is driving the 1975 yellow Pontiac convertible that day filled with laundry. I don’t remember why we had laundry to do after church and Sunday School.
I remember playing the radio that morning and listening to Christmas music.

No memories of that morning at church or teaching my class. I have long since forgotten them.
I have no idea why we came home with the still dirty laundry. I am assuming the laundromat was closed.
Donna and I were enjoying our time together on the way home. I was taking all the backroads as I often did. The radio was on once again. We were just having a really good time.
The tears have started to form already and my heart is heavy as I remember looking ahead and seeing a huge black stream of smoke ahead of us. Near our farm.
I remember feeling sorry for whoever’s house was on fire.
I remember the exact MOMENT I REALIZED  it WAS OUR HOUSE ON FIRE.
The no it can’t be our house comments came even though I knew it was our house. I don’t remember anything more that driving faster than I should have been.
I remember driving down our driveway at a speed no one should ever drive.
I remember seeing other trucks around.
I don’t remember seeing the fire truck although there was one, maybe 2.
I remember looking for and finding my parents and brother.
I don’t remember seeing anything but the house engulfed in flames.
My room engulfed  in flames.
I remember racing for my bedroom. Dad stopping me. Holding on to me.
My pillow. My bible. My stories. My photos. My book,  My stamp collection. ALL GONE.
Dad or someone saved a chair from my room. Part of the antique table we had in the dining room
I remember crying and saying my…my….
The house was gone.
Oh we found a few odds and ends in the days to come. I found a blacken necklace of mine. Part of my jewelry box. My grandma’s melted class ring she had given me.
It quickly went from MY things to family things. All of the painting my grandma had given us. The picture she had painted of Dixie , Our beloved collie that had died just that fall.
She was 18.

I remember mom crying.
I remember dad crying.
My sister and brother just looked lost,

I remember the gifts we had wrapped the night before.
I remember realizing we had no place to spend the night.
I remember realizing we had 15 ?? people on their way to our HOUSE to spend Christmas.
We had no house.
The new quilt that grandma had just given Donna for her birthday on December 1ST.
The list went on and on.
There is a lot of time in between that I don’t remember of that day.

Later on I remember being in the gas station in Grafton, our small hometown.

The tears just came flooding down as I remember us walking into the gas station to buy toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, shampoo and other things. I remember Dad telling us to get anything we wanted. We were never told that before.
I remember walking out the door with a couple of books, notebooks, pens and pencils.
I remember mom crying because she didn’t have her purse.
She didn’t have a purse any more.
I remember the lady at the counter….We knew her and she had heard what had happened to us.
I remember her saying we didn’t have to pay for anything.
It was on her and her husband.
Other people in the gas station took up a collection for us.
I remember my dad saying thank you but we’d be alright.
Someone, Said “Please take it and Merry Christmas. ”
I don’t remember anything else until we got to church that night
Remember we had a Christmas Program and I was the narrator.
Donna had a song to sing with her class and a Bible verse to say.

I remember we walked in smelling like smoke.
I  don’t remember  taking a shower anywhere although I know we did.
We’d been given some clothes during the day.
There was no room at the church that night. Many had come to see what they could do to help us.
The Christmas Program went well. I honestly don’t remember narrating it but I did.
They gave us the collection that night.
The only thing I remember is at the end of the program. After my last line, I  got back up and thanked everyone for what their wonderful gifts.
So did mom and dad.
I remember Praying to God in Heaven and Thanking him for that wonderful night. Thanking him because we were all alive and together. Our family was all here. (Our company was there with us).
I remember it as being the BEST Christmas Ever.
We all ended up staying in a friend’s small bungalow cottage that week. They were out of town for the holiday. We slept on the floor where ever there was room.
They also stayed in motels near by.
We had a house to stay in. Good food. Family. We were good.
We were blessed that 21st of December , 1975.

68 Comments Add yours

  1. mariaholm says:

    O Sarah what tough memory you recall here. I have always feared to lose all the family photos and things of affection and you went through it. Thank you for sharing your memory

    Like

    1. I have gone through it 2x’s. In 2007, shortly after Bobby died….. a wildfire destroyed the barn of a friend. I had left all of my belongings there when I first moved to Florida.
      All of my belongings included ALL of Bobby’s things and ALL OF MY PHOTOS. The digital age was just starting but I hadn’t SAVED ANY PHOTOS TO CLOUDS. I wasn’t on Facebook at the time. Or anywhere else.
      Now I save EVERYTHING EVERY WHERE. Again and again.
      Except my photos of Bobby and my family are still gone. I am a mom who needs her stuff.
      Still.
      I am rambling.
      Have a wonderful weekend. Any plans?

      Like

      1. mariaholm says:

        So tough to lose these precious things Sarah. I am in Copenhagen where I met my former school mates from when I was between 16-19 years old. One “girl” told me we had been singing Mendelssohn duets and I didn’t remember. Last time I saw her was at graduation 1970!

        Like

  2. Casey says:

    Wow; heartbreaking and beautiful all at once. I can’t even imagine.

    You mentioned a story about a Fiat; if you’ve written about it, you might want to add a link in this story for those of us who like to click. 😉

    Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t written about the Fiat. I really should.
      Thank you for reminding me.

      Like

  3. Joanna Lynn says:

    What a heartbreaking story ending with beautiful redemption.

    Like

  4. Krista Kemp says:

    I just cannot imagine! How horrible!

    Like

  5. Reblogged this on and commented:

    Reblogging . It seemed fitting for this month. It’s been 40 years since the house burned down Christmas Week. A long time and yet, only yesterday.

    Like

  6. Roo's Ruse says:

    What a captivating story. I wanted to stop reading for fear it would make me too sad to finish my talk list for the day, but you suckered me in to the end. I remember how some of the seemingly bad things in life turn out to be our best times. I remember when I first met you, I didn’t know how to navigate around a lot of blogs to make comment when I actually wanted to. Since then I learned a lot more.

    I filled pages praying for you while I did all I could to keep up with course assignments and my work load. I hope upon hope you’ve been so busy and happy you simply didn’t have time to reply to emails, knowing you’ll catch up when you can. ❤

    Like

    1. Roo's Ruse says:

      uh, that was …task list… not talk list. LOL!

      Like

    2. I haven’t been able to do much of anything the last 2 weeks. Internet is off a lot and SLOWER than it usually is. My laptop CRASHED and Burned. It is barely a year old. It is working but I still can’t do much with it yet.
      I have missed our long emails. I haven’t seen any from you. I wish I could get yours and a few others to stay on top and not get buried.
      You are right, we have been busy. Really busy, I get through work and then come home and crash. I either lie in bed in pain…..Ankle pain…or I sleep for hours and hours.
      So I am missing everything.
      I will look for your emails tomorrow. Or Monday/Tuesday when Danny is off.
      How are you doing? I was keeping up with the writing assignments until the computer and internet problems. I saved them all.
      How was your Thanksgiving.
      Love and miss you. Sarah

      Like

  7. Such a powerfully written story. I was not only struck by the loss you and your family suffered but also by how well you captured the kindness and support your church and community members provided all of you. The blessing of such genuine caring is what resonates with me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for writing what you wrote here. Have a wonderful Tuesday.

      Like

  8. oh wow, Sarah, you make my parents one fire they had seem so much less; it wasn’t even their house or evidently all they had but the stuff they’d put in storage that they’d worked for several years for the house they were going to renovate but like something else I mentioned somewhere else, maybe it all worked out for the best anyway, since this way they just bought a new house but there were still things they had that that house didn’t have that mom would talk about so I think it did affect her, as well but..

    with the timing of yours, thinking of you going in in those smoked clothes, reminds me of the children’s book The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That is an awesome book if it’s the one I read.

      Like

  9. PennyDecor says:

    You made me realize how ungrateful I am. 😦 Thanks for reminding me what matters the most. Such a terrible thing to happen to anyone! I am glad you looked the other direction. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We were just glad the fire didn’t happen at night.

      Like

  10. yhealthy2000 says:

    At 17, this was a tough experience. Thankful that everyone was safe. This would be a tough thing to go through at any age. But life offers opportunities to move forward. Great post.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We really did move forward from that day. For a year we lived in an older mobile home.
      That was STRANGE.
      Very strange.
      And than you for the comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. yhealthy2000 says:

        You have been thrown many curved balls, and you have hit many home runs after that. You are resilient, and that’s what life is all about. I have tremendous regard for you. Yaz

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yaz, We all have. And your are right. They have been curve balls,
          How is your weekend going?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. yhealthy2000 says:

            I got nominated for tmThe Bloggers Award, so I’m pretty excited about it. I learn so much from your blog. My weekend is busy with two dogs & two teens. I’m going to catch up with Writing 101 & Blogging 201 assignments today. What’s on your plate for today?

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I was going to SLEEP but that didn’t happen. At least I got some rest and my body feels better.
              I caught up on some things around the house. Not cleaning just puttering. I visited a few people on Facebook. Then came here.
              More relaxed than usual.
              Danny just ended a 9 day stretch and is EXHAUSTED, He has Monday and Tuesday off but it won’t be enough. We (The park ) has been short handed and he is working 7 -9 days then one off. Then another long stretch. With the heat and humidity…..It’s been rough.
              You should be excited about the Bloggers Award.
              I am also. I am going to work on it this week.
              HUGS

              Like

              1. yhealthy2000 says:

                Definitely take some time to relax with your hubby:)

                Liked by 1 person

      2. yhealthy2000 says:

        Hello Sarah,
        Although you may have won many awards, I wanted to nominate you for one, anyway. I love your site. I wanted to recommend it to more people via the Blogger Recognition Award. I know not everyone participates in the awards system, and if you don’t, I completely understand. But you can find the details at http://wp.me/p6s2CE-8i if you’re interested. Either way, please take it as a sign of my regard for your site!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I answered this but don’t see it here.
          I love love being nominated and it means everything to me I just can keep up with them.
          THANK YOU for it.
          Yaz, Have a wonderful week.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. yhealthy2000 says:

            So very glad you accepted. Now the “little” work begins:)

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I have you and a few others to thank for making me realize how much I wanted to give back. So Thank you YAZ

              Liked by 1 person

              1. yhealthy2000 says:

                Your dedication to this blog speaks for itself…keep doing what you do best – blogging:)

                Liked by 1 person

                1. Yaz, thank you. I really appreciate that.

                  Liked by 1 person

  11. cahall63 says:

    What a wonderful, terrible, story! You had me in tears!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I had me in tears again writing it. I sobbed.
      It was almost 40 years ago.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Peggy Guiler says:

    Thanks for sharing a very difficult memory. My family also had a house fire. I may write about it thanks to your inspiration.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Peggy,
      You would think I would know what to say to you after hearing you had a house fire as well.
      It really doesn’t matter how long ago it happened because you never ever forget how you felt when you lost everything. Or however much you lost.
      It never really goes away.
      You may appreciated what you have more because of what you lost. Sending HUGS. Love.
      Sarah

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Peggy, If and when you write that post…If you think about it would you tag me or let met know somehow so I can read it. I miss too many posts from you and others because I Like too many new blogs.
      I keep adding new ones even though I can’t read the wonderful ones I already have,

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Prajakta says:

    A poignant and tragic write this is. Makes you want to think about what is truly important.

    Like

    1. Family.
      For one.
      Have a wonderful weekend. Enjoy,

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Anand says:

    A tragic story – but beautifully written…and so the “like.” Those things that we lose suddenly, the leave an indelible impression on our minds. Sorry about it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I wish I had the story I wrote about it Shortly after it happened.
      I may look into the archives of the school paper for it or even in the local papers. They posted it as well. If I do say so myself It was a good piece of work,

      Like

  15. This is a very powerful story, Sarah!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Becky, Thank you.
      I wish I could find a copy of the story I wrote for the paper about that day and the days and weeks after. I need to research their archives. It was an awesome piece. One of my best.
      Hugs

      Liked by 1 person

        1. It should be in their archives somewhere.
          It has so many details in it that I don’t remember anymore. My dad mentioned my writings not long ago and said he wished I still had them.
          He has so much free time and he said he would like to sit and go through all my stories now.

          Like

  16. Wow is right I’m with Lynz on this!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Cheryl, Thank you for that. I am so glad you came by for a visit. I look forward to many more visit between both of us. Hugs
      Sarah

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Sarah, you betcha girl! I am on the Oceanside in Florida! Raised here and can not leave-love it! Definitely looking forward to our communicating and following one another! Have a great weekend my new friend! Hugs, Cheryl

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Looking forward to it.
          Have a wonderful weekend. Enjoy the ocean .
          We live so close (Meaning less than 2 hours from either the Gulf Coast or the Atlantic and I can’t get Danny to take me there. Cheryl, 🙂 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Why? Does he not like the Ocean or Gulf???

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Yes he does. Cheryl, I can’t get him interested in going anywhere.
              Anywhere. Even If I drive.We went everywhere when I was living in Colorado. We both had more money then but still we could go now if he just would.
              For the first 2 years I was here we did a lot. He has a brother who has a vacation home on Pine Island.
              We use to go there.
              I understand him not like that. The traffic there and back is miserable. The house is nice but it is expensive to go anywhere. There is no beach.
              Yet, it is a cheap place to stay and fish. Wonderful food places and he loves that.
              We haven’t been since 2008? Maybe 2009.
              No vacations anywhere.
              We have over 100 state parks we can visit free. We can even stay at the cabins in a few. For free.
              There is not much traffic on 60 going East to the coast.
              A day trip.
              CHEAP.
              He would enjoy it if he would just do it.
              He has stopped asking me what I want for my birthday……A trip to the beach. Simple.
              A Weekend at a motel .
              I know he is WORN out from working outside in the heat and humidity….So summers are out. I agree. You couldn’t get me out then.
              Well actually you could. The truck has AC and the beaches get a breeze.
              We have so much fun together.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. After so many years people then become complacent to not really venture too far from home-its understandable. If you are in Kissimmee are you near US192? You can link over to US17/92 into Daytona area? Stay off I-4

                Like

                1. Lake Kissimmee State Park out Lake Wales.
                  South of Orlando
                  I- 4 is terrible. Lake Wales is off US 17. It’s hard getting him to get out here at where we live. We have thousands of areas to roam at the park and on the property we live on.
                  I don’t want to go anywhere ALL summer because of the heat so I understand him not wanting to go anywhere after working outside in it all day
                  The winter months are cooler but more traffic. More people.
                  It is a no win situation. For me anyway.
                  So I read everyone’s blogs. Look at all of their wonderful vacation photos and dream.
                  🙂
                  We use to go to the Daytona 500 races but it was just too expensive.
                  I wish we could still go to Daytona and stay on the beach that weekend. Watch the race from the motel room and cut the costs. Or go in the summer when it’s a bit cheaper.

                  Yes, Danny has become way too complacent. I have yet to see a good part of Florida and I have lived here for 9 years.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. Wow I have been all over but then I was raised here and still reside here. So as a family we always went somewhere in State. Your hubs is tired I imagine? Hang in there! Hugs, Cheryl

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. I have traveled all over the US. I know less about Florida than I do about many other states. And I live here.
                      I read about it yet it is not the same.
                      It doesn’t happen much any more but Danny and I use to travel to other Florida State Parks while working. I love that. We have stayed in real nice cabins to barely a cabin at all places.

                      Liked by 1 person

  17. shyutgal says:

    My goodness!! How awful and what a heart warming ending. I’m so sorry to hear you had to endure that..but aren’t our lives made up of such stories..some pretty and some really sad? A kind of quilt of our lives..

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes they are
      I love your “quilt” of our lives. What a good way to look at it.

      Like

  18. Sarah….I’m speechless after reading this! That must have been so traumatic to watch!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It really was. I was 17. So It really made an impression. Once I got past the “MY STUFF” and really watched my mom and my dad…it really sunk in what had just happened.
      This was their dream house that just burned to the ground.
      I would only be living with my parents another years or so. I had a whole lifetime to make memories.
      My mom is the strongest women I know and she was lost for a long time after that. She missed the everyday things for a long time. She would be cooking and go to get something and we didn’t have it any more.
      She never said a word them but I knew. My dad knew.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can only imagine what your mom, your family went through at that time! You really are a special person Sarah. In spite of all the adversities life threw your way….you are positive! I admire that about you! ❤

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Today is one of those hard days.
          I wanted to cry earlier. My dad’s birthday is tomorrow and I wish I was there.
          I haven’t seen the work done from Danny’s ADA Project this past week.
          A volunteer family /friend of our died this morning.
          Most of all: It was 92 outside today. 87percent humidy. It rained again.
          Just one of those I feel sorry for me days.
          I had trouble being positive when I did this weekend’s motivational quotes.
          I know we all have days where it’s hard.
          What is on your family agenda for this weekend? Enjoy,

          Liked by 1 person

          1. This week as been hard on me too. My boy is really driving me up the wall! Work has been really hectic, the writing 101 has been tough too….and I’m not able to focus much on it because of all this. I am hoping to relax and calm down this weekend at home!

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I’d offer to babysit if I lived near you.
              Writing 101 has been wonderful for me but it is also causing me to spend WAY too much time focusing on silly things. I can’t slow down.

              Here’s to a relaxing weekend.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Cheers to that! Hope you have a relaxing weekend Sarah!

                Liked by 1 person

                1. I plan to. Danny is in the Ranger Station and Out Of The HEAT and Humidity. So I can relax at home/
                  Hugs

                  Liked by 1 person

    2. I still sometimes forget mom is gone and write as if she is still here.
      To me she still seems to be.

      I need to write about the Colorado Springs Fire that took Bobby’s and My things. Everything From our house and his apartment …Except for a very few things I sent to my sisters for safe keeping.
      Danny and I were going to get everything but the fire destroyed a friends house and barn where everything of mine was also stored.
      That was the hardest because I have no way of making new memories with Bobby.
      I have yet to write about any of that loss.
      I am the one who had all the family history. Genealogy records. My aunt has a duplicate of most of it.
      Thank God I sent it to her.
      No one in our family ever took many photos. I took thousands even with film….
      I have nothing of Bobby’s from when he was a baby.
      No letters from him. I remember the gifts he made. What happens when I can’t remember as much? That scares me.

      Yet I haven’t written about it except in my journal.
      I haven’t really shared much about Bobby here either. I shared lot’s with the angel moms and dads on Facebook. I have journals full of it.
      My mom’s death has made me afraid of losing people I love again….
      MAN where are these words coming from?
      Danny just told me one of our favorite volunteers died suddenly this morning. Maybe yesterday morning.
      She was old but healthy.
      I have few people I really LIKE/LOVE who I KNOW anymore.
      Danny is upset as well. She and her hubby are family to us.
      WOW I wrote a book here. Love you

      Like

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