Her eyes were still sleepy when her father woke her and she fought the light in them when she saw that it was still dark inside her room. Her dad was excited and rushed she and her sister into the kitchen of their second floor apartment. The lights were off but the room glowed in red. She could not figure out why until her mom said look girls there is a big fire downtown and you can see it all the way up here at our house. She felt butterflies in her stomach because she had never seen anything like it before.
The next day the family piled into their pick up truck and drove down the street to town. There were lots of people gathered on the side walk. As they neared the intersection Dad looked at Mom and said oh no it is the Panther Rubber. That was the factory in town where they made soles for shoes. Her eyes grew wide as they passed it by and she saw the charred wooden structure standing against the blue sky like a monster. Then she heard her mother say that a young fireman had been hurt and was in the hospital. She began to cry.
Decades later the sun shone in her eyes as she waited for the owner to help her with a request for custom moulding. The workroom was empty now and clean. The twelve pane windows hung high in the loft and streamed sunlight onto the now quiet tables. The wood was worn and hollowed out on one end where workers stood for eight or ten hours crafting mill work. She could see dust particles floating in the beams of sunlight when her thoughts were disrupted. We don't make moulding here any more miss, he said. Her heart sank because she had always ordered unusual pieces of wood intricately molded to fit her turn of the century decor from them. "What?" she replied. "I am retiring and no one wants to do this type of work anymore. I wanted to sell the shop to someone who loved to work with their hands but I got no offers. Do you know I have worked here since I was twelve!" He began to reminisce about his days of work and she could see the picture he painted for her. She could see the older men teaching him the craft. Her throat began to choke up because she was sentimental and loved the stories of those times.
That story came to mind as she drove the district of town that had rows of warehouses lined up along the railway. Some were made of brick and some were wooden and all with stories that were silenced now from years of neglect. She came to ferret out the story she had heard the night before on the 11:00 news. BREAKING NEWS: a fire was burning in the city. She quickly got out of bed and looked out the window to see the orange glow and a smile came across her face as she remembered being five. She almost threw on her clothes to get in the car and fetch her grandchildren out of bed to experience what she had experienced as five. Then she thought better of it, for her daughter would surely think her crazy.
The sun was bright this particular morning and the air had a prelude of fall in it. The news called the building an abandoned warehouse. They reprted that the fire began around 10:30pm and quickly went to five alarms. It was big fire for this day and age when there are smoke detectors in almost every building. As she drove the mile from home people were rushing off to work but she could see the red lights of firetrucks on the left. As she approached the intersection her heart sank. She felt sad at seeing the charred scraps of wood because she recognized that building, it was the old Batson Millworks Building. That lovely old wooden building from the early 1900's where the ghosts of carpenters have been released. It will all be forgotten now. She eyed one 12 paned window still in tact along the sidewalk and wanted to jump out of her car to rescue it....for no one will remember what it was like to have the sunbeams stream through it onto the heavy wooden floors as the whir of saw blades hummed and the men began their work day. Pin It Now!