I was born in Wisconsin, Racine to be exact. Being a girl from a family of modest means I did not have an exciting life, in fact it was rather mundane. I guess that is OK but still I always hoped for more. I was an only child. My mother was a homemaker, while my father worked as a foreman at Mitchell Wagon Works. The company is the major supplier of wagons, wheels, and parts for the surrounding area. The company takes up most of the north side of the downtown of Racine and is not too far from the Root River. I remember going with my father to visit and was amazed at the high stacks of wood planks. They seemed to reach the sky. My father often talked about how he was concerned about fire and the loss of jobs and life that this event would cause. If I had only knew.
I don't know how it happened but the year was 1908. It was a quiet night. I was 15 years old at the time. I was downtown for some event that I don't remember exactly. All I know is the panic. There was an ear splitting explosion as the wood planks , across the river flew into the air. Splinters of planks were blown clear across the river raining down on me and the others. As I tried to avoid the remenants of the planks, the fire broke out. First small sparks then ablaze. It seemed to happen so quick. How could the fire spread enveloping the whole sky so soon. The explosions continued as the wood planks shot into the air raining down unrelenting. The heat from the blaze made breathing nearly impossible. How could the heat be so intense. Sparks from the blaze started to light other structures on fire. The shards of wood hit me burning me over and over. People around were running in panic pushing and shoving me and others out of the way. It was everyone for themselves. I was terrified. I was alone. The fire was all around me. What was I to do. Where was I to go. Would no one help me. I begged passers by to help. They turned a deaf ear as they pushed and shoved. Finally I saw a familar face in the crowd. I ran to him expecting him to save me. He knew me. But it was not to be. As he turned and saw me he just continued on without me. Smiling as he went. Why, I shall never know for this is where it ends..