Friday, October 2, 2009

Day Twenty-six - Maybe seven - Back to San Francisco Reunion

Alright, so I'm tired and don't edit very well. When I use "their" instead of "there" please swap words for me. Back home from ANOTHER football game. Fortunately, my sixteen year old son did get to play tonight. Yea, Go Bears!! Football is not a pretty game anyway you slice it. For those of you following my youngest (fourteen) son's injury last night - when we spent 5 hours in the emergency room - he is doing well. Probably will be back playing next week. Yikes.

I hope you enjoyed memories of the shrine story that I posted this morning. Or was it last night? I can't remember. That was fun. Listening to Mr. J tell the shrine story and challenging us to walk to the shrine, alone. I didn't make it the first time, or the second. It took me several times before I got up the nerve to go.

I remember when my oldest son, now 27, was a cub-scout and I was the "Cub master" I revised the shrine story and told it to a group of scouts one night at a camporee. They believed me and I had parents the next day telling me that their boys didn't sleep the entire night. It was great!!

I hope you enjoyed that memory. Isn't it interesting that amidst the abuse there are good memories? I guess that is what makes it so difficult to disseminate.

Okay, back to the reunion in San Francisco. My brother-in-law was engaged in the picture taking of each of the classes. When the class of 1973 or 1974 came into the room he evidently ran across this woman who was asking some questions about the past. I don't know exactly what she was asking, but what ever it was prompted my brother-in-law to come find me. When he came and got me and said, "Come, there is someone I think you need to meet.", I went. When he put this woman together with me I instantly recognized her. It was Michele Conner. The then girl who helped me and let me put my futon next to hers. That was when the abuse stopped.

Michele and I began talking and I reminded her that I had approached her during the reunion in Long Beach in 1990 and she admitted that she didn't remember that I had talked to her. That night, Michele and I began a long journey together.

The rest of the reunion was smothered in memories of Mr. J and the abuse he imposed upon, not only me but others. Up to this point I had no knowledge that anybody else had been molested. I only knew that I had been. I heard rumors that there were others but I didn't pursue it. Michele's memories only helped to solidify At this point, she was on a mission. And by association, I was on one with her.

Day Twenty Six - Tired but resolved

Something strange is going on. Yesterday afternoon I got home and decided to write a little bit before the kids got home from football practice. We had college night at the River Center and I knew we wouldn't be home very long. I wrote two paragraphs and got a call from the football trainer/orthopedist saying that my youngest son got hurt. He was going for a tackle and put his head down - evidently you are supposed to do that in football - and went helmet to helmet with the other guy. He hurt his neck and as precautionary steps I took him to get an x-ray/ct scan. Etc. All the scans came back normal - thank God and thank you to all who prayed and communicated to us in the emergency room. He'll have to sit out for a few days but back in a few to get brutalized again, I'm sure. Whew!! This football stuff is crazy.

When the call came in, I was in the middle of writing Day Twenty Five. I didn't get to finish it and so I saved it. Well, somehow it got published to Facebook (but not to my blog) without it being finished and it had a tag line on it that I had not put on there. Weird. Anyway, I'm going forward from yesterday by copying the shrine story below. Sorry about the confusion.

The story of the shrine at Miyakejima - as told by a classmate who I didn't really know very well. Based upon her communications with me, I get the feeling we would be good friends now. Thanks for sharing.

"Jack would tell this story as if it were true.Long ago in old Japan, when an older person felt like it was time for them to die, they would often simply leave their families and wander off into the woods or head to the mountains and find a spot where death could claim them and they wouldn’t be a burden to their families.

Many years ago, on the island of Miyake, an old woman wandered off alone.Several weeks later, a young man was found dead on the steps of the shrine at Miyakejima. Oddly, he had scratch marks on him. His body was on the fourth step of the fourth flight of stairs leading up to the shrine. (There were seven flights of seven steps.) Four, in Japanese, also means death.

His friend found his body, and was shocked and appalled. Who or what could have done this? He decided to camp out one night on the fourth step of the fourth flight of stairs, to see for himself. He went to the shrine and sat on the step, and waited and waited. Finally, around midnight, he heard a slow whistling that rose and then fell. [You have to do the whistle thing here.]

Before long, he saw a ghostly old woman with straggly hair and long fingernails and eyes like hot coals, and the whistling, louder and louder, coming right at him!So he ran off, as fast as he could!

At this point, Jack would switch on the lights and ask who wanted to go to the shrine and replace the wooden spoon he had placed on the fourth step of the fourth flight of stairs with a metal one. If you did this, you got to write your name in a special book, AND if you didn’t, you really couldn’t run for class office or expect to do anything else important for the rest of your life. (Editors note: This sentence is probably my favorite.)

I was the first one in my group to do it, because I knew my older brothers would be waiting for me back in Tokyo, saying, “Dja go to the shrine?! Dja go to the shrine?”"

For those who didn't read through the entire blog, this is relating to previous posts on Day Five towards the end and Day Fifteen - Diving Back In.

It is now eight hours after I got back home from spending five hours in the emergency room. I have to be at work this morning at 7:00 so I shall end now and hopefully get some time to write tonight.

© Copyright 2009 Janet Calcote Simmons All rights reserved.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Day Twenty Five - A little digression before I go forward

I received an email today from my friend, Michele Connor. The reason I'm using her name is because she told me I could. If you go back to Day Fifteen and read about the girl who let me put my futon next to hers, that was Michele Connor. If you go back to Day Eighteen - Long Beach Reunion you will also find her there. It is to my friend and protector, Michele Connor, that I say, "Thank you for holding my hand." I will be talking more about Michele as the story progresses. I will say one more thing about her, however, I don't think she really understands what she did that night when she said, "Janet, you can sleep by me tonight."

I also received several other emails recalling specific things and people who were with me during the barbecue and other times. Another classmate sent me the shrine story. Her recollection of it is not only good but quite humorous.

© Copyright 2009 Janet Calcote Simmons All rights reserved.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Day Twenty-four - Going forward - ASIJ 75 Anniversary

As I continue to write, my thoughts about going forward become a little more fearful. The reason is that everything I experienced with Jack as an eleven, twelve and thirteen year old pales to what I experienced as a forty-four year old. And you wonder why it took so long for the young men who were abused by their priests (almost God himself) to finally come out and tell. So sad. Don't tell........

In June of 2003, ASIJ hosted the 75 year anniversary of the school in SanFrancisco, California. My husband and I attended with my oldest sister and her husband. We were pumped. I was so excited about connecting with old friends. I thought that because of all the information I had given the school, Jack was in the past and I wouldn't have to worry about anything associated with him. Because it was a very broad reunion, alumni from every year and age were there. I think there were over 1000 people there but I can't remember precisely.

Can you imagine an American School from another country bringing together that many people? It was incredible. I think the spouses of alumni were completely overwhelmed that we could bring together that many people at a high school reunion. That shows the bond, passion and love people had for this school. As an aside, I have never attended any of my college reunions. There is just something about high school. As my two youngest children experience high school, I hope I can recognize the importance of that in their lives. For some reason, we want to prove ourselves to our high-school class mates. Maybe it's because we were all in such a vulnerable state, going through puberty, competing with classmates in sports, popularity, looks, academics, and many other things. High school is where we prove ourselves. It's an interesting phenomena.

What happens after you attend a high school reunion? Doesn't everybody say, "Wow, did you see how great so and so looks? He/she was so fat but lost so much weight." "Man, blank looks so old. He's bald. What happened? Or she's bald. Yikes." "I never expected so and so to be soooo successful." "Wow, and to think he was the quarter back." And on and on we evaluated everyone based upon our thoughts about them from high school. We also evaluate ourselves based upon that. Don't we want to look our best? Don't we want to say we've moved mountains and cured cancer? Don't we want to be recognized as the "most successful" and not the "most likely to fail"? We talk about whale watching in the northern Pacific, deep sea fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, traversing the highest mountains in Austria, landing the most lucrative deal in all of American history. We all compete for recognition. We all compete for acceptance. We all want to be the "best" unless we aren't and then we criticize those who have made it to the top. Wow, lots of psychological stuff. Maybe it's the red wine talking...... I told you before I like red wine. Particularly a nice 1995 Liberty School Cabernet. Okay - sorry - so I digress - my oldest sister can relate.

Okay - I've been busy catching up on facebook and got sidetracked. Alrighty then. (No, I'm not an Ace Ventura fan - even though everyone of my kids can recite verbatim the lines in the movie.) I'm really getting off track......sometimes humor can cure all illnesses.

Back to 2003. We arrived in San Francisco to attend the reunion. I can't remember the sequence but while we were there we visited Sonoma Valley and the many of the wineries there and in between. Remember I like red wine. We didn't make it to Napa, which I believe, produces some of the best Cabernets. It also is home to the remake of Parent Trap and Dennis Quaid - swooooooooon.

I had visited Carmel during one of our furloughs and so we did go south to Carmel for a day - too short. Carmel is probably one of the most beautiful places I have visited. Would love to spend some time there one day. My daughter and son-in-law went to Carmel for their honeymoon. Wish I could be there.

Okay - back to the reunion. On the first day of the reunion the class of 1976 planned to connect at a blues/jazz bar in San Francisco. We also invited anybody else who wanted to join us to come. I remember being scared, anticipating seeing old friends I had not seen for years. I was with my husband and sister and her husband. We arrived and as we entered started seeing people we knew. It was fabulous. I loved seeing old friends, old boy friends, old girl friends. It was what I had imagined seeing people for the first time after high-school would be like. We talked, laughed, drank, shared, laughed, talked, drank - you get the picture. It was great!!

After meeting at the club, we all proceeded to go to the hotel where the reunion was to be held. I can't even remember the name because we actually didn't stay in the same hotel. There were massive amounts of people at the hotel. We registered and after registration decided to see the extra things available for purchase at the registration table. We stumbled across the book, written by one of the former headmaster's wife called, "The American School in Japan: A history of our first century." Of course, because of the radar in my mind caused by the three years of abuse (need I remind you),I immediately went to see if there was mention of Jack Moyer in there. Of course there was. But rather than down play his successes in Marine Biology or his contribution to the school, there was an entire chapter dedicated to him. To me, it was as if he was the king of ASIJ.

My sister, her husband, my husband and I began reading the chapter about Jack and Miyake. My husband, who has a good sense of humor, began adding after each sentence or name the words "child molester" or "pedophile". It really was quite a humorous read. We got a pretty good laugh at it. I guess that was the way I was going to get through the next few days.

Alright - I'm feeling that some of you aren't sure why this was such a big deal. For those of you who can't understand this yet.... I want you to imagine if this were your daughter. How would you respond? Would you defend her? Would you try to cover up the truth?

Quite frankly, I was disappointed but not surprised. After thirty three years of expecting people and institutions to change I don't know why I expected change when it had not happened before. What cowards! (Oh - you don't like that description of yourself.) Of course, I did not purchase a book. Hind site being twenty twenty I now wish I had - because I could then share with you the sickening eulogies being attributed to this celebrated child molester.

All of this happened in what seemed a whirlwind. We descended down to the area designated for our reunion, connecting to friends along the way. It was exciting, scary and electrifying. Many of the alumni were being summoned to take pictures with their class. I think they started back in the 1930's or 1940's and moved forward. Quite impressive. As they moved up the years, more and more people gathered to capture their class photo. My brother-in-law got caught up in the picture taking process and began participating in the banter consistent with this environment.

All of a sudden, he appeared out of nowhere and said to me, "Come, there is someone you have to meet." (My brother-in-law didn't attend ASIJ - although being a military brat, he knew quite a few ASIJ graduates. He hung out at the "coffee shop" with a lot of ASIJ students. That's where he met my sister.) My response was to follow him. We went into the photo room while the class of 1973 or 1974 was posing for the photo. He said, "You have to talk to this girl. She's asking a lot of questions. I think you might can answer some of them."

© Copyright 2009 Janet Calcote Simmons All rights reserved.

Day Twenty four - Few more thoughts about responsibity

Yesterday, I wrote about lessons learned. Those lessons weren't actually stated to us, but more implied. We weren't told that it was all our responsibility, we were told that "men can't help themselves." These "lessons" told me that if I was not being pursued by a man, then something was wrong with me. With these lessons and the sexual abuse my entire sexual psyche was screwed up.

I also shared with you that I could finally tell my parents when I was 36 years old. Why did it take so long? I had anticipated their response. I had to get to a place where I was strong enough to take their response. It pains me to say this in writing because my dad has changed (my mom died in 2004) and is willing to accept his responsibility in this, but often times when we had an issue with someone the first thing my dad would ask was, "What did you do to cause this to happen to you?" Now, to be sure, he DID NOT ask me that when I told them about the sexual abuse. What he did say though was that he was proud of me for being strong and seeing that I had forgiven and "gotten over" the pain and suffering. I don't think he knew what he was saying. I don't really remember my Mom's reaction. What I really wanted them to say was, "Where is that bastard? I'll kill him." But I knew that wasn't going to be the response so I had to be okay with that.

Later, my mom mentioned that Daddy didn't understand - or couldn't understand - something like that. But, even after I told them I don't think they really understood - or maybe they didn't want to understand - because it meant they had to look at their own involvement or lack there of - in my life. But for me, just telling them was very significant. It meant that I could handle their rejection - if that's what they gave me, which they didn't. It meant that I was strong enough to hear - "what did you do to bring this on?" - which I didn't. It meant that I was strong enough to stand up against other people who would make me feel inferior for shaking up the apple cart, or those who want to suppress the truth. It showed me that I was finally strong.

I plan on continuing to write tonight, however, would like to post this separately because I'm going to go in a different direction.

© Copyright 2009 Janet Calcote Simmons All rights reserved.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Day Twenty Three - Tired - Short post

Sometime around the summer of 1994 , my oldest brother and two sisters and I met at my parent's house in Mississippi. It was a great time. I don't recall any of our spouses being there except my soon to be sister-in-law. While mother and daddy kept the kids, we drove over to Natchez to visit with my cousin, Willie Ray Huff. At the time he was the sheriff of Natchez, Mississippi. If you were to characterize a Mississippi sheriff, my cousin would be it. His tall and broad stature shadowed the doorway as we entered the sheriff's office.

We had such a great time on the drive over. I remember joking about Mississippi and the stereotypical person who grew up in Mississippi. While driving we took in the beauty of the land and the culture of the state. Although our parents grew up in the south, this was still even foreign land to us.

During the time with our parents a lot of complicated stuff was discussed. We spoke of the difficult transitions each of us made into the States. My older brother shared about his arrival in America with a trunk of possesions and no money. Like me, he was young and vulnerable. We talked of being third culture kids, not being able to call anywhere home. Japan was where we grew up, but the reality was that, although we grew up there it wasn't our home. Even the monkeys starred at us. But niether was America our home. We didn't belong really anywhere.

Yet, we had a strange confidence about us. One American spouse of a fellow MK (missionary kid) identified it as "covert superiority". My brother described it as having the kings privelages with a paupers salary. When we traveled we traveled first class. Not necessarily by plane but traveling on the President Lines (cruise ships across the Pacific with a stop in Hawaii) for two weeks on a cruise, really didn't do us good. Having our own private server, being able to order what we wanted to eat, be treated like kings and enjoying all the privelages of the rich did cause us as children to expect that later in life. What we didn't realize was the privelages we had were way beyond our reality. But somehow it became our reality. Thus the "covert superiority". Others could describe it better than that.

Another reality was this: most of our parents had, not only a college degree, but a post secondary degree. Not just our fathers but our mothers as well. Not many people raised in the 60's and 70's had parents with college degrees much less both parents with post secondary degrees. That affected our attitude.

So, we struggled with being accepted yet we had a "covert superiority" about us. What gives? ( I think that was a phrase penned during the 80's.)

It was during this weekend that I finally had the courage to tell my parents about the abuse. The reason it took so long was because I had anticipated their response. I was ready to accept that they might make me responsible for his actions. Because, you see, men can't help themselves.

One of the lessons we were taught as young girls was that boys/men think about sex every 8-9 seconds. Because men think about sex so often, it is the responsibility of the girls to remain stoic and pure. I don't quite agree with that lesson. It' s not my responsibility to keep a man pure. I do agree that girls do need to be careful with their suggestive clothing etc. however, I don't think it's all on the girls. Men have at least equal responsibility or more. That was not the lesson we were taught.

© Copyright 2009 Janet Calcote Simmons All rights reserved.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Day Twenty-two - Miyake Volcano

Need I mention Roman Polanski? Thirty years ago, at 44, he raped a 13 year old girl . She is now 43. I wonder where she is in her life? Can she comfortably speak with people about this? Every time he received an award it was thrown up in her face. Where are the people coming out of the wood work to protect her like they are attempting to protect him? Unbelievable!! Yes, some would say, but it was 30 years ago. Why would you continue to hold someone accountable for their behavior 30 years ago? Well come to the year 2000 - 30 years before I began my three year prison term being the target and subject of child molestation, sexual abuse, etc. At this point I still didn't realize that there were others..........

In 2000, three years after we moved to Alabama I was checking my email one morning and opened an email from an ASIJ alum requesting help. Anytime I saw anything regarding Japan or ASIJ I naturally was curious about what it said. As I began to read - I don't even remember what was in the subject line - I became agitated. That's probably not a strong enough word. The email, sent to numerous people, requested financial assistance to help Jack Moyer pay a mortgage on his Miyake Farm of  $20,000. In June of 2000, the volcano on Miyake erupted and caused everyone on the island to evacuate. I don't know if Jack's farm actually was damaged but I know he was no longer able to maintain the farm.

I really was unsure how to handle the email. My initial response was disbelief. I couldn't believe that the school would endorse or condone this kind of request. But, at this point after previous responses or lack there of, I wasn't surprised. I didn't really know who was behind the request. I didn't know the former student who made the request but was really surprised that it would land in my mailbox. Initially, I wrote her back and requested that she pull the email and discontinue any activity of solicitation from anyone. I explained to her what had happened to me and that I was very surprised by her zealous request. Her first response to me was to confirm my fears. She said basically, "I'm sorry you experienced this but too bad. Not only am I going to help him but I'm not sure I believe you." Now, I'm not quoting exactly what she said, I'm just recalling what I perceived from her email.

Because of her sardonic response, I decided it was time to blow the top off of this. At least to me it felt like that what I was doing. I proceeded to write a letter to the then administrator of the school, I believe he was the Headmaster, sharing my story and challenging the school to stop endorsing the financial request. I mailed the letter with a return receipt attached. Weeks later I received the return receipt showing that he received the letter. I didn't hear from him or anyone from the school. I started to feel those same old shameful feelings. Why are you upsetting the apple cart, Janet? Why are you causing problems for the school? What is wrong with you? Can't you see this is all your fault? But, for whatever reason, strength from God or inner strength (which still comes from God) I persevered and decided to contact the school to see if the administrator received the letter. I wrote an email to him and waited several days for his response.

As you can imagine, everyday I would open my email expecting some kind of reply. It finally came days later. The sterile response said basically, "We received your letter and the board is reviewing it." There were no additional responses and I have no idea what happened after that. If my memory serves me correctly, I believe I heard that Jack was asked to leave the school sometime in the 1990's, however, I believe he still hosted the seventh grade class trip until the volcano hit in 2000. Even after the the school was notified via the reunion committee in 1990, that a student made an accusation against him, they continued to allow their children to work with him and stay in his home. Why would a school continue to harbor a known pedophile? Are you in anyway baffled about this like I am?

After the brief email, I didn't hear anything else from the school. I assumed that they would take care of the situation and that would be the end of anything regarding Jack and the school. Well, again I expected people to do the right thing. People don't always do the right thing. My vulnerable self still believed that people would want to do the right thing. But my skeptical self, who kept the story from anyone for years, knew better.

I don't think I received any more requests for money. I spoke with several people about the ludicrous request and was satisfied that he didn't get any money, at least not that I knew of. I did find out that he had asked this former student of his to send out a request to all the email addresses she had from the Alumni list and request money from ASIJ Alumni. What a yellow bellied coward. I could see his droopy basset hound eyes pleading with this young adherent to "please, please help me. If you don't help me I'll be ruined. I have two homes to support, one on Miyake and the other in the Philippines. I don't know what to do. Will you please help me? I'll be financially devastated. After all the good work I've done. I'll lose everything." He was very good at manipulating any situation to his benefit. Exploitation. Even this young woman was being exploited and she didn't even realize it. After I got over my own anger and disbelief at her response, I was able to see that she too had been duped by this master manipulator.

One thing I did find out during this time was that he married a very young woman (possibly in her late teens or early 20's) from Singapore. Rumor has it that she was in her mid teens when they met. The Philippines are known for exploitation of children, primarily sexually exploited children.

You can find more on the Philippines in this article:

I'm not sure about the accuracy of the information about his new wife, however; I know she was very young compared to his now old age. I was also told that together they had two young children, one boy and one girl. What to do with this information? Should I do anything about it? How could I do anything about it with them all the way across the world? Besides, he was old. Surely by now he was tired and didn't attempt to molest little girls, right? He also had his own young girl legally in his own home. I also started hearing "rumors" about other people having experienced similar things that I had. Who were they? Would they be willing to talk to me? So, on I went, hopeful that the school was taking care of it on their end, mildly satisfied that I had done all I could.

This was 30 years later............... I was now 41 years old.

(Next post I need to tell you about the time I told my parents. I'll digress about 5 years.)

© Copyright 2009 Janet Calcote Simmons All rights reserved.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Day Twenty-one - 1997 - 2000

In 1997, we moved to Alabama with my husband's job. I was still a stay-at-home mom with kids in school, out of school, wanting to be in school and wanting to not be in school. Our kids were 15, 13, 4 and 2. Because of the space between our kids, my husband would often introduce the older two as the kids from his first wife. This caused much confusion to any one who we met because I was his first wife. Ha, ha!!

We moved into our new home that my husband purchased without me even seeing it!! Wow, a lot of people thought that was weird. But, he really did a good job in picking a house for our large family.

A lot of stuff happened that year. My father-in-law was very sick. When my husband went on the interview for the new job, my father-in-law anticipated his success. That week, my husband called to tell his dad that he was offered the job and by Saturday, my father-in-law died. It was as if he was waiting to see his son promoted. It was quite moving.

As soon as we knew we were moving, we put our house on the market. We had it listed for maybe a day and we received an offer. We sold our house for $1000 less than our asking price in about a week. It really did seem as though God had planned our move.

Because of the move and the new job, I didn't have time to keep up with email and what was going on in the world beyond us. We moved into our new home. When the movers unloaded the computer, I quickly set it up on the floor in the kitchen so I could reconnect with family, friends and the outside world.

As I started catching up on emails, I started following emails sent to my dad and forwarded on to his kids (us) regarding our house at Nojiri Lake in Nagano, Japan.

For those of you who aren't familiar with Japan, Nojiri Lake is a lake surrounded by mountains, located in Nagano Prefecture north of Tokyo. Many missionaries and few business families owned or leased property and homes on the slopes of the mountain surrounding the lake. Every year we spent our vacation time at Nojiri. It was an incredible experience. We learned how to swim, sail and kiss at Nojiri. Many wonderful memories abound from that time. Our house, 49A, sat on the side of the mountain, overlooking the beautiful lake. At times, when the winds were still and the sun was out I could see a perfect reflection of the mountains and sky in the lake. It was spectacular. During the summer we would celebrate "Obon" or the remembrance of the ancestors. The people in the Japanese village across from us would place boats lit up with candles on the lake and they would float across the water, lighting up the lake in the night for a spectacular display of remembrance. Also, similar to the forth of July in the States, they would set off fire works, for what seemed like, hours and hours. It was a wonderful celebration.

Another thing that is significant about Nojiri is that for a long time there was no water or electricity connected to the homes. We had to hall water down to the house from a local spring and in order to heat up the water we used gas stoves and heaters. During the winter we used a pot bellied stove with wood. We also did not have flush toilets. We had a septic tank in the ground that was emptied once a year by the local "honey bucket truck". We bathed in the ofuro which consisted of a wooden tub capable of holding a 200 pound person without over flowing.

Before electricity, in order to keep food cold, we put it in a snow pit. The snow pit was a pit dug out of the side of the mountain next to the cabin. Every year during the winter, snow was shoveled into the pit with the expectation that the snow would last through-out the summer providing  natural refrigeration for homes on the mountain. I remember storing milk and other things in the snow pit. We would have to climb down a ladder into the pit and retrieve milk or other food from the pit. Later, when electricity was introduced and installed into the homes, the snow pit was no longer needed.

Evidently, this particular summer, the summer of 1997, the family that was leasing the house decided to use the old snow pit for a fire pit. They gathered up all the leaves and limbs lost during the winter and threw them into the snow pit. The dad proceeded to light the leaves and limbs on fire and burn them to get rid of the debris. After all the leaves and limbs were burned they closed the door to the snow pit, thinking that the fire was out. According to my memory, the leaves were still smoldering and the combustion from the closed door caused the snow pit to explode, catching the house on fire. Everyone except their little girl and their dog survived. She was sleeping in my bedroom closest to the snow pit. This family lost their little girl in the fire.

As I read the email describing the fire and loss of child, I began to sob. How devastating that was. Not to lose a house, but to lose a life! This loss impacted me without description. I didn't even know the young girl but felt as though I lost a sister. That memory still pierces my soul.

I thought I could get to 2000 and the volcano tonight but sleep has entered my weary eyes. I shall go forth tomorrow. Until then........

© Copyright 2009 Janet Calcote Simmons All rights reserved.