It was February 1971. I was living in Flint, Michigan where my husband attended General Motors Institute. Our daughter, Monica, was five months old. We rented a one bedroom apartment and her crib was in the living room.
The phone rang. Thankfully, Monica was not taking her nap. I answered. My mother began to speak and then began to cry before she could get the words out. Immediately, I was scared. My mother did not cry often in my lifetime, at least not that I knew of. She was always calm, cool and collected, even in a crisis. In split second, I remembered her answering a call when I was growing up and bursting into tears. One of the Machias womens’ bowling teams, friends she knew well, had all died that night as they traveled home from a tournament, slid off a bridge in Robbinston in a snowstorm.
In a split second while my mother gathered her breath and words, I thought someone in my family had died.
“What’s wrong Mom?” I asked, choking down tears of my own awaiting her news.
“The garage burned down,” she said. “To the ground. It’s gone.” She went on to explain what had happened.
Well the news was bad but no one died. I breathed a sigh. Although at first Dad did not say he would rebuild, by August that year he was busy constructing a new building for Rier Buick Pontiac at the corner of Dublin Street and the Roque Bluffs road in Machias, Maine. I knew he would.
Years later, Mom gathered the photos and news articles of the fire into a scrap book. Dad was in the nursing home, a victim of multiple strokes. Mom wanted him to remember all his accomplishments in his life. And, remind his children of them too.