This is a continuation of yesterdays memories of Elizabeth, know to family and friends as Biss, during her High School fays.
Lad was living in the attic and used an oil stove for heat. He lit the stove and then came downstairs to light the oil stove in the kitchen. I was sitting out in the backyard with my boyfriend. Lad noticed the lights begin to flicker, go up and down, so he dashed upstairs and when he opened the attic door, all he could see was an orange glow. He knew the place was on fire so he ran down and called the fire department. I heard the siren and said to Vinny, “Let’s go to the fire.” As we drove down the little driveway, I could see a haze of smoke between Laufer’s house (across the street) and ours, sort of drifting across, but I didn’t think too much about it.
We parked in the driveway near the firehouse so no matter which way the truck went, we could follow it. It turned right onto White Plains Rd. and I said “If that fire truck turns at Kurtz’s corner, then it’s my house.” So, by the time we got to Kurtz’s corner, the fire truck was going up the driveway. I said, “I knew it, I knew it”. When we got to the
house, I dashed inside and got Vinny’s picture, Mother’s picture and the clock that Vinny had given me. I had everything I needed, so the rest of the house could burn down. I didn’t care.
Now Dad was giving a talk at the Algonquin Club so I decided I had better call Dad and let him know that he better not come home tonight because he might not have a house to come home to. I called and the operator said, “He’s giving a talk right now. Is it important?” I said, “Yeah, I think so.” Dad came to the phone and said “What did you call me for? I was in the middle of a talk. It better be important.” I said “I just wanted to tell you that the house is on fire and you’d better stay in a hotel down there tonight.” You know, perfectly calm, as if there was nothing to it.
Of course, within 20 minutes, Dad came up the driveway. In the meantime, Ethel Bushey had come and she asked me if I had gotten my clothes. “Clothes?” I asked, “No, what for?” She said “At least you’ll have something to wear.” So she made me go upstairs and get my clothes. I put them on the lawn. After the fire was out I was furious that I had to put them all back. I was furious because I didn’t give a hoot about the clothes. I had what I needed. There was a lot of water damage but the only part that burned was up in the attic itself. If it had started in the cellar, I’m sure it would have gone up fast because it was such an old, dry house.
Dan and Lad used to be competitive with the girls; they always seemed to like the same girls. There would be an upheaval because she would pick one or the other. It might have been Adele O’Brien that they both liked. She was another pretty girl. Jimmy (her brother) was in my class and Adele was older. I think both Lad and Dan took a shine to her. I think it was the most serious difference of opinion; apparently they both like her, so neither of them married her.
We never had an allowance, and I can remember, in high school, we would bring sandwiches to school. All the other kids, with their allowances, would get ice cream and stuff. My mouth would be watering and I’d wish I could get one of those ice cream sandwiches. Once in a while, Barbie Plumb would treat me and boy, that was great. That ice cream sandwich – – when they put them in the freezer now, the cracker gets all soggy. I don’t like them that way. I like the fresh ones with the crisp cookie and then the ice cream.
On Monday, a week of letters written in 1942, when both Lad and Dan are in the Army, learning their lifetime skills.
Who do you know who might enjoy stories of the 1940’s? Why not share this blog with them? They might really appreciate it.