The photos were in a big suitcase upstairs in the big, historic house we lived in. The man who owned the house put a new box on the outside of the house, didn’t replace the old, out-dated wiring in the house. He told us after we moved in.
The stairs were burnt, and unstable after the fire. I wanted to go up those steps to see if there was anything at all to save in Tommy’s room, and to get the photos. The fireman wouldn’t let me when it was burning.
I waited until I was the only one at the house to salvage through the rubble to find anything that was left to show we had a life there. There was very little. I meant to go up those stairs … go up them I did.
The sad thing was we were looking for what was ours in the burnt shell of the house, on the ground … everyone was driving by, stopping to see what they could find that was ours … and taking it with them.
People were stealing from a house that burned down … stealing anything they thought was of value. Some people didn’t know me … I watched them steal. Why didn’t I tell them to go?
I was in shock … if you’ve never been in shock … I can’t tell you how it does one. You aren’t yourself … not at all. You are in a world where everything is quiet, far away … you are in a vacuum that is trying to protect you. You see, hear … at a distance even if you are … right there. Your soul is numb.
I would never have the nerve to let my face be seen doing at someone’s home that had just burned down … stealing. The sad thing was … I knew some of them … if you are reading this now, I won’t ever forget.
Not only that, our neighbors were also, telling us who stopped to look for anything to take away with them. Shame on you for stealing, kicking someone in the face while they were down.
Truthfully, it doesn’t matter any more … I let go of that anger several years ago … when Tommy died, I forgot everything.
I went up those stairs, grabbed the big, heavy suitcase. I prayed that the weight of it, and myself … wouldn’t go crashing through the steps. The suitcase was dripping water … water from the firemen’s hose.
The photos were ruint … there was black, wet and messy charring, and soot. I took the photos out and began trying to separate them.
They had stuck together … it took weeks to salvage as many photos as I could. I had to cut, trim photos. I put them in a pan of water to try to get them apart. It was awful, but I managed to save a lot of them.
So when you see damage of any kind to a photo of mine … know that it’s from the house-fire. I’m lucky I have them to show we had a life prior to the house fire.
I found about 4 photos I never could look at closely. Why? Well, they were taken at a time I didn’t want photos taken of me. I didn’t have any hair … and I’m a female. The photos hurt me deeply … I knew I could never let anyone see them … even let myself look at.
I was just told by the oncologist last week that I shouldn’t be here … well, I’ve survived 16 years and 98% patients died from what I had.
The photos … I made myself look into them … look into my face. I couldn’t believe it … I couldn’t see Death lurking around me, but … it was.
I couldn’t see that the photos don’t look bad at all. I couldn’t see that I didn’t look hideous with the beautiful human hair wig Skip chose for me to look like my own hair.
I never looked at the photos until 16 years later … during the past several days. Now, I can see that those photos aren’t awful at all. I look normal … you wouldn’t know I had a beautiful wig on unless I told you.
You wouldn’t know Death was lurking around me when you looked at them … if I hadn’t told you.
Note by this author: I own all photos you see on my stories, posts, blogs. All stories I write in my words, I also … own. Gloria Faye Brown bates/aka Granny Gee/@grannygee