I hope this finds you well today. I am very busy on my ambulance today, but I will continue to write in between patients. Sorry I didn't write yesterday, but I was in one of my mother modes. As the kids have
gotten older, it has been hard to have individual birthdays so now I group them together. We have quite a few in the month of January counting grandparents and grandbabies. So yesterday Jimmy and I planned a new game for them to play. I call it the Birthday games, (since they love reading the Hunger games). Lol
Jimmy made four Sponge Bob Square Pants cakes, and a big batch of frosting. I picked up a lot of color tubes of frosting plus the kind you can mix in your frosting to change a color. We paired the kids off and had a decorating contest. It was so much fun to see what they were going to do. I told them they didn’t have to decorate it as Sponge Bob. I had the idea they would make maybe a clown or policeman.
Their ideas were completely different than I expected and they had so much fun. We ended up with a cake for the Wonder Pets, a Butterfly, a Star and a Bikini.
Now on with my story.
The year went by with a visit from my parents and went tubing in Arcadia, Oklahoma. We enjoy the summer with the circus and the zoo and before you knew it school was here again with the carving of
pumpkins and making Christmas happen. Of course when it snowed we made snowmen and it was hard to believe but Jenny was now sixteen yrs old. We had her party at a pool hall called Norman Billiards Ballroom that had a separate room with a pool table plus table and chairs for our pizza. Music was piped in, lots of kids standing around, talking and playing pool, and then our meal with the birthday
cake. If you have read my book The Silver Locket this is where I got part of my story.
I also changed jobs, quitting the job at National Hair Care and decided to get a job in a little beauty shop where I could rent a chair. It was getting pretty hard to keep up the demands of that job along with keeping an eye on Jennifer. It was not easy to start this way. When you rent a chair, you have to pay the owner whether you make any money or not. I also decided to try and do wedding photography on my own. I am the mother of five children and could not afford a lot of things, so I could not charge a lot either. I would put my shoes on their feet and decided that the customer shouldn’t have to pay a big price for their hair to be done or pictures and that was how I charged.
It was the morning of April 19, 1995 when we felt the beauty shop shake. If you read my book called A Sruggle of the Heart, this is where I got part of my story. It was a weird and scary feeling. I remember the boss putting on the TV set and listening to the announcer talking about a bomb in a van parked outside of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building before the terrible explosion. I had a customer under
the dryer and I was setting another ones hair. The TV set was asking for volunteers to help the wounded. I felt compelled to be there. So I called the rest of my customers and told them I would not be in the rest of the day. My boss gave me directions to where the building was and in no time after finishing the two women I was on the road. Sometimes you cannot control your emotions, and I was just crying. When I got close to the sight the National Guard was all around in their uniforms which scared me to death. I guess I should have been use to seeing men in uniform living in Lawton, but I wasn’t.
In fact I remember one time while I was living in Lawton, when I first moved there and trying to find Mt. Scott, I saw army men running in uniform in the mountain with their weapons. I got scared, what was going on, my mind kept saying. When I saw the tanks roaming around I actually went back home too safely. That is when I found out I accidently was on the army base and they were doing their daily exercise.
Anyway the people in uniform stopped my car, checked it out and asked me what I was doing there. I told them I wanted to help with the wounded, and they let me pass telling me where to park. My body was shaking, I am not sure I was ever this scared. I parked my car and the uniform people that were standing around pointed and showed me where to go. The guard I talked to was not real pleasant. He asked me for some identification and then turned me away. I cried and pleaded with him that they were saying on TV they needed help, but it was no good. I am not sure I had ever cried so hard as I tried driving home with the tears making my vision blurry. Putting on the TV set they were asking for blankets and so I gathered up a bunch to drop off. What else could I do? I watched the devastation on the TV set.
The announcer said a man with the name of Timothy McVeigh made a bomb out of ammonium nitrate and loaded it in a Ryder truck parked in front of the Murrah Federal Building, lit the bomb’s fuse and left the keys in the truck, locked the door before walking across the parking lot and out of view.
I watched as the news portrayed the devastation. An aerial view panned the building, which showed one side of it missing like someone sheered it off. I could see open floors with desks, chairs and papers
fluttering down. The ground outside was covered with bricks, construction material and debris. Black smoke and ash covered the skyline and land around the area. Cars in the parking lot were damaged and smoking. Sirens were blaring and people were yelling as they ran down the street crying, dirty and bleeding.
I would hear that they would need help and to call a number. Whenever I called the number it would be busy. I was getting frustrated as I continued to watch. Finally they put on a number and I got through. It was not what I had planned but I was to go in a couple of weeks and help clean up the devastation. At least that was something, and that made me feel a little bit better. When the time came and I got my call, I drove to the spot and encountered the FBI and National Guard all around. They put us in a line, gave us boot, jackets, gloves and respirator masks to wear before we entered the building. We were not allowed to talk, or even go to the bathroom alone. They made us do everything as a group. It was one of the hardest jobs I ever had picking up brick and debris.
I had an uneasy feeling after this experience. I was forty years old and what have I done with my life.
I ran two to three miles a day and my mind would wonder. I want to do more, but what. I did have something also that kept me from wanting to continue, and that was I was not very good in high school with grades in the C’s and D’s and if I wanted to do something else that would mean I would have to go back to school.
They say when God wants you to do something he will keep pestering you and that is what he did to me.
I would try to fight my thoughts, and keep myself busy with work and my kids, but I kept hearing a voice telling me I have to do something else with my life and that means I will have to accept the challenge of going back to school.
During this time I kept busy with my patrons at the beauty shop. Most of my patrons were elderly women and I just seem to have a big place in my heart for them. I loved to make them look good and feel good. I
even had them over to my house for meals just so they could all get together and talk and just have a good time. May and June rolled around with the kids getting back into softball, Jimmy taking turns fishing with the kids and a little vacation with Jimmy’s sister at Quartz Mountain. My nephew Bradley came for a visit and we enjoyed Turner Falls.
I got a phone call and I was on my way to Florida. My brother Johnny was found dead in one of his limousines. The police said he was in the limousine for a few days dead and his body we decomposed pretty bad because of the Florida heat, so they would not let us see him. My parents were devastated; this was the second of my siblings to die. It was not an easy job to go through his apartment, trying to clean it out, maybe seeing what we thought was blood on the carpet, but not really a clue how he died. My parents and my three sisters and I cried together and had a memorial for him at his favorite bar.
I also joined a sport for the first time in my life. I was on a soccer team and for my 41st birthday in August I had my first black eye from a head bunt with a player from the other team as we fought for the ball. And yes I scored so it was worth it. Jimmy had bought me tickets to see the Dobie Brothers and Steve Miller Band for my gift. We finished with the summer by taking the kids fishing and out on the lake tubing behind our boat or let them take turns steering it around the lake.
I also decided it was time to act upon the thoughts that kept creeping in my head. So I went to Moore Norman Vo-tech about becoming a nurse. The excitement rose in body when I went inside but I was quickly let down when I found out I would have to go to school full time, five days a week, eight hours
a day. I could not afford to not work and who would be there for my kids.
A lady brought me in her room and talked to me. “Why,” she asked, “Do you want to be a nurse?” I told her the story about the bombing, and how help less I felt not being able to help. I want to help people I said just as the tears started running down my face. She seemed quite impressed with me, and my sincerity so she had an idea for me. She told me about EMT’s who are ambulance drivers and help people all the time. The best part was I would be able to keep my job, and go to school one or two nights a week. All I had to do was pass their test. So she gave me a piece of paper with questions that would be like on the test so I could have an idea how to study for the test. This frightened me. I now had to face my fear of school. I didn’t take much arithmetic in high school and I had no idea what the math questions were so Kristina and Jenny quickly started to tutor me.
Well this is enough for today. Remember you were given the gift of life so let it count.
I am the Author
a wife, a mother, a grandmother, and still believe in the power of love &