When Linda’s house burned down

I must have been eight when Linda’s house on Second Avenue burned down.    The news of her burning house spread by word of mouth – people passing it on as they walked by – people milling about  in the street, perhaps shouting to a passerby “Did you hear about the Matts’ house?”

My grade three self reeled in shocked disbelief.  Linda was a grade before me, and it seemed like the most horrible thing that could happen to a human being, shattering my sense of a secure world that could be taken completely for granted.

The day after the fire, we walked over to see the smoldering ruin.  I remember the piles of black rubble, and a still-standing chimney.  My sense of horror remains. I obsessed about it for days, insisting that we buy a toy for Linda, as they now had nothing.   I still remember the doll we bought for her.

As it turned out, the fire did ‘ruin’ them.    They did not have insurance, and joined ‘the poor’  in the neighbourhood.   A few years later they were in a rental flat next door to us, and my now 10-year-old mind saw  Linda only as ‘the girl whose house burned down’.  I knew that the black dress she wore was meant for a woman – probably her mother – and that she didn’t have many choices.

In those days, poor people didn’t have TV or order in pizza.   And there was no ‘poor ghetto’ – they had to live next door to people who could afford a more luxurious lifestyle, with the embarrassment of the difference.

From Linda’s lost home,  I learned about insurance and very vividly about how poverty can happen.   I learned about how dramatically life can change overnight.   That experience has been reverberating in me ever since.

This entry was posted in consciousness, education, fear, Feelings, personal power, Reflection, reflections and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to When Linda’s house burned down

  1. that doll must have brought a smile to your friend’s face
    (not sure why I was not getting your posts Fearless but I signed up again to receive them or I hope I did)

    • Glad you mentioned that about not getting the posts! Maybe I’m supposed to do something . Boy, learning something new every day, like you said! If you don’t mind letting me know if you start receiving my blogs, I’ll be grateful. Maybe in July we can sit down and work on WordPress!

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