Saturday, May 21, 2011


Awoke at 3 a.m. to a loud humming sound and wondered why the furnace was so loud and wouldn't shut off.  Opened my eyes and saw bright flashing red and blue lights through the bedroom window. And then smelled smoke.  I looked out to see the hum was the idling engines of about five fire engines and numerous other emergency vehicles in the street behind my house.  In my grogginess I thought it might be my own house but as I quickly dressed, realized it had to be a next door neighbor.  It was.  I stood outside long enough to see that they had brought out all the people, though I didn't see the pets.  Smoke was pouring from the roof but no visible flames from here.

Very alarming.

I could see no way to be of help without getting in the way, so I went inside.  No more sleep.  I would just sit and watch and wait.  Now about two hours later, a few of the vehicles are starting to put equipment away and leave. 

It was Frost's house -- Gene and Donna's.  Well, that was until Gene died and Donna moved away.  Years ago.  Friends of ours -- of Doug before he died, and mine. And after several subsequent owners, the present ones who are a young couple.  The young guy of the loud stereo, loud parties, loud motorcycle, and on one occasion, brandishing guns in the front yard, all which disturbs my peace.  The young woman who just moved in with him a few months ago.  I saw they both were safely out of the house.  But I don't see their dogs.  A house fire is something you wouldn't wish on even someone like this who has been most unneighborly to the rest of us on the street.  It's a terrible, frightening thing.

I looked at the house now with dark windows, some standing open.  A tall ladder to one.  A really pretty house.  Gene and Donna had made it so lovely.  It triggers so many memories of when the kids were small and growing up.  And now to see it suffer this tragedy. 

You think of the fragility of life.  Of the passage of time.  Where we have come to.  How quickly things can change.  The lessons of life.  I wonder how to start my day, doing my cleaning, buying the flowers for my patio pots, tending the grandchildren, when such an event has shattered lives so nearby. 


Jacqui Binford-Bell said...

My sister says life is about the memories we make because it is the only thing we are sure of taking with us, but for me a brain injury proved that even that is not the case always.

Given the life style you describe for your new neighbors my mind immediately jumps to drugs and alcohol before zooming back to the poor innocent pets. I so want to know what became of them.

Life can change very suddenly but to worry about that happening only ruins the chance we have at living this moment.

Yes, plant flowers. Life for today.

Catfish Tales said...

Oh, Becky, I'm so sad for you and your neighbours. Like Jacqui, I also think of their pets. How could they forget them? Nikki would be the first I would think of, but cats are harder to find as they hunker down and quietly hide from impending danger.

I wish I could come over and give you a hug today, reminding you that you did a job well done, raising your family like you did, still influencing the grandchildren with you being the exceptional individual that you are. Yes, our generation is passing. I lost a husband too, who was brilliant and complex, making my life difficult and the children's too. Now he is dead and they are grown and gone. They are lovely individuals, though, who don't seem to bear the hangups that their parents had. I had the most wonderful lover in-between then and now, but he never grew up and I had to leave him too. Just didn't want to be a mother to one refusing responsibility. It gets old - fast. Now I live with someone offering a semblance more security than I had after all the destruction and loss of the first marriage and the irresponsibility of the love affair, but he's also one who often appears irritated by my every move. Such is life, eh?

Excuse my self-centred reflection, but your reflecting on those well missed neighbours who took such care of the house you now see eaten by flames of possible young neglect provoked such strong feelings and sighs. I'm glad too that it wasn't your house, darlin'. HUGS

Bee's Blog said...

I am so sorry you had to experience this. It leaves a mark even though we move on. Jacqui's sister is right. I watched as a friend's home burned and the feeling of helplessness was devastating. Sadly she is no longer my friend but that is life.

My thoughts when you described the life style of the owners were I'm ashamed to say, the same as Jacqui's. I judged without knowing the details.

Hopefully the pets will have run away in fear.

Yes, some things are beyond our control so we have to make the most of it. Plant flowers, live life and make more memories.

Bekkieann said...

Thanks everyone for your understanding comments. The reflections are quite all right, Shers. It was surprising to me how the event triggered way back memories for me. The whole thing was surreal and it was only after all the emergency vehicles left that I felt shaky and ill. In a few hours, I pulled myself together and went to the garden show, which did wonders for my perspective. I'll have some pretty pots soon on the patio.

I am sorry for those people. I wouldn't wish such a horrible thing on anyone, and I won't speculate about any culpability on their part. But I am weary of certain neighbors, single no children, lots of expensive toys, and irresponsible about their home and ignorant about good neighbor habits.

troutbirder said...

We had a similar story in our neighborhood a few years back. He was "street wise" according to the police skirting the law and common decency, brandishing his guns from a "look out platform" he built. Burning copper sheathing in the dead of night etc. He is dying of cander now but it is hard to be sympathetic.....

Bekkieann said...

People, can be very strange, TB.