On April 4th, 1975, the junior high school I was attending burned down. (I was busy yesterday, so didn’t get this posted on the anniversary day.) It was a scary thing for youngsters to go through, and, I know it was scary for the school employees.
Most of the students were eating lunch in the basement cafeteria when the fire alarm rang. Most thought it was a drill. A strange time for a drill, but, a drill none the less. I, however, KNEW. I knew it was the real thing. After all, I had dreamed about it the night before. I kept trying to tell my friends that I thought it really was a fire, but, they just poo-pooed that, and we continued outside to the sidewalk.
Students were standing around, laughing and having a good time, when I looked up and saw the smoke. I pointed to it, and said to my friends, “Look! It IS on fire!”. Everybody scattered. They all “ran for the hills”. Near total chaos ensued, but, the teachers were finally able to get the students rounded back up, and gathered across the street from the school while the fire trucks whizzed by, then parked and the fire fighters did their thing.
Fortunately, nobody was injured, except for a few bruises the principal earned after going back in to make sure all were out, and, while heading out himself, was literally blown out the doors when something in the science room exploded. He also earned a few minor scrapes and cuts from the glass that was blown out of the doors.
The staff eventually got the students to a couple nearby churches to wait for parents to pick them up. Thank goodness, no loss of life. But, a lot of loss of personal items. As for myself, I lost my coat, but, most disappointing to me was the loss of my ancestry workbooks. I had had plans to go to the public library to work on the family tree tracing project I had started in 3rd grade as part of an “International Celebration” day. All that work – all those years of information I had accumulated. Up in smoke. For a long time, I had not the heart to start over. (I finally did start again in 2011, but, it’s more difficult now because most of my family who remembers “who’s who” are gone.)
After a few days off school, we started back, going the second half of half days in the high school. I’d have rather have gone the first half, but, they reserved that for high school students. It was an interesting time – schedules had to be rearranged, lockers had to be rearranged, rooms had to be rearranged…
But, we made it though, and Clear Lake got a brand new junior high, which was attached to the high school. They also got a brand new auditorium, which was a really great addition to the town. It was used, during my time in high school, as a class room at times. Let me tell you, those nice comfy chairs were not a great thing to be sitting in after lunch!!! LOL
So, that’s my exciting seventh grade story. And, here is my small remembrance:
I wish I could find pictures of it after it burned ALL THE WAY to the ground. I’d also like pictures of it from the east side. After my mother picked my sister and I up, she took us to our aunt’s house about 10 miles away. From there, we watched the flames and smoke through her living room window. The flames finally died around 5:00 p.m. – some four and a half hours after the fire was discovered.
If you look at the black and white photo, you will see the spot where I was standing when I first spotted the smoke. I was just to the right of the steps, on the sidewalk when I looked up and spotted the smoke near the north east section of the roof. And, you will see that we had plenty of snow still on the ground. It was cold that day, for so many to be standing around without coats.