FIRE!!!

FIRE ON THE PRARIE
(BY ROBERT- L. YOUNG IN DECEMBER 1996)
IN THE FALL OF 1929,
I WAS FOUR YEARS OLD. IT WAS A SUNNY WINDY MORNING AND DAD WAS IN THE FIELDS SHUCKING CORN. SUDDENLY, MOM AND I NOTICED THAT THE CEILING IN THE KITCHEN WAS GLOWING. WE WENT OUTSIDE AND SAW FLAME SHOOTING OUT OF THE UPSTAIRS DORMER WINDOWS. FROM THE FIELD, DAD SAW THE SMOKE AND RUSHED IN. SEVERAL NEIGHBORS CAME,AND FROM THE FRONT YARD I REMEMBER SEEING FOUR OF THEM LIFT THE PIANO AND SEVER OTHER PIECES OF FURNITURE DOWN THE FRONT STEPS. SOON THE HOUSE WAS COMPLETELY BURNED DOWN.

LATER IF WAS BELIEVED DAD HAD SET THE HOUSE ON FIRE EARLY THAT COLD MORNING USED A BLOW TORCH TO FREE SOME FROZEN PIPES UPSTAIRS. THE OLD HOUSE WAS NOT IN GOOD SHAPE AND IT TURNED OUT TO BE A BLESSING THAT IT BURNED DOWN. BUT THAT WAS DURING THE DEPRESSION AND CASH WAS SHORT.

I BELIEVE THAT WE STAYED AT DAD'S FOLKS ABOUT 1 AND 1/2 MILES SOUTH UNTIL THE DEBRIS WAS CLEARED AND THE PRESENT CAR GARAGE WAS BUILT. WE MOVED INTO THAT GARAGE AND CONSTRUCTION WAS STARTED ON THE PRESENT HOUSE. EDWIN PETERS WAS THE CARPENTER, AND THE TWO STORY HOUSE WITH BASEMENT COST $3,000.00.

ALTHOUGH WE HAD NO ELECTRIC LINES IN PLACE THE HOUSE WAS WIRED FOR ELECTRICITY ON THE BASIS THAT ELECTRIC LINES WOULD SOON BE RUN TO OUR HOUSE BY CENTRAL ILLINOIS PUBLIC SERVICE (CIPS) OR RURAL ELECTRIFICATION ASSOCIATION (REA). AFTER WE MOVED INTO THE NEW HOUSE, NEITHER CIPS OF REA WAS PROVIDING ELECTRICITY SO WE HAD A NOISY ONE CYLINDER GASOLINE MOTOR AND MANY BATTERIES IN THE BASEMENT TO PROVIDE A LIMITED AMOUNT OF ELECTRICITY.

ABOUT A YEAR LATER, CIPS HAD POWER AT THE TRILLA ROAD AND THE ALEXANDERS GORDONS AND US CONVINCED THEM TO EXTEND A LINE ABOUT ONE MILE TO OUR HOUSE.


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