There were these cookies…”
Chapter 5 “The Fire…”
Durwood had gotten a junior chemistry set for his birthday a few months ago and “young and carefree “Uncle Jack”, who lived downstairs from us in the duplex that our grandma owned, gave Durwood some gun powder to use in his experiments.
(Of course, young and carefree Uncle Jack had fought in the Battle of the Bulge during World War II, so he probably figured a little gun powder was just…a little gun powder…and not a big deal.)
The day of the fire, mom and I were peacefully sitting at the kitchen table having so much fun coloring in my new Little Lulu coloring book.
We were drinking cherry Kool Aid and planning our bus trip to downtown Minneapolis that afternoon to buy me new school clothes…when suddenly we heard dopey Durwood frantically screaming from his bedroom…“FIRE!! FIRE!!”
Mom jumped up and raced into his bedroom. I was right behind her…holding my glass of Kool Aid.
Durwood was standing on his bed, jumping up and down and screaming hysterically as he wildly pointed to the window curtains above his desk.
The bottom half were completely engulfed in flames and they were spreading!
Mom reached over and quickly yanked them down…curtain rods and all and then turned and snatched the blanket from Durwood’s bed, sending him sailing to the floor and in one swift move she smothered the fire.
It happened so fast! I couldn’t believe it! I also couldn’t breathe!
When I had seen the flames, I had started to scream and I couldn’t seem to stop…even when I saw that there was no more fire…
Mom gently took me by the shoulders, looked me in the eyes and gave me a little shake…
“Lottie! Everything is okay…the fire is out!”
I stopped screaming right away because that’s what you do when your mother tells you “everything is okay”.
But I was still shaking…and the glass of cherry Kool Aid I had grabbed to help put out the fire was spilling onto my hand.
I turned, looked at Durwood and threw the Kool Aid in his face.
Later that night, mom said she thought I had been in shock and that I probably didn’t really mean to throw the Kool Aid at Durwood.
Hmmmmmmm……that could be one reason…
The next day, Uncle Jack “very foolishly” tried to defend himself to my mom…who was his older and much wiser sister…by saying...
“It’s not like I gave him a gun, Gee. Just relax…”
It should be noted here…that after making that idiotic statement to my mother…Uncle Jack was ordered (by his mother) to turn over half of his paychecks to my mother for 6 weeks…so that she was able to buy new curtains and window hardware, new bedding, new rugs, a new desk and a new lamp for Durwood’s room.
She was also able to pay professionals to come in and repaint Durwood’s bedroom walls and ceiling and re-sand the hardwood floor.
Durwood…showing absolutely no brains whatsoever…had voiced a request for his own television set…which was met with a very dark look from our mom…and so…
Not only would there be no personal television set in his bedroom…
Durwood would not be watching any television for two months…which was too bad since a television series based on the movie “Tarzan” was just starting…and Durwood would miss the beginning…