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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Forest fire anyone?

It's funny the things that stick with you from your childhood.

I've said many times, my childhood wasn't positive. That does not mean that my brothers and I didn't have fun.  We made plenty of fun.  Plenty of trouble, but plenty of fun.

Often times, I felt it necessary to keep my brother's out of the house.  Even as a child there were things I wasn't always comfortable with.  So I'd get creative.  Creativity as a ten year old isn't always fabulous.  Especially if you're a ten year old well beyond their years, with no supervision and a wild imagination.


One day, I decided that I was going to take my brothers to a picnic in the woods back behind our house.  We'd go up over the other side of the "mountain" (which I'm sure was just a large hill) and have a campfire and roast hot dogs and marshmallows and have a grand old time.

Yes, I did say campfire.

With this decision in mind, I set my brothers outside on the swing set to wait for me and guard our picnic basket.  I went inside and dialed up my cousin, Michelle, so that she and her brother Craig could meet us for the picnic in the woods.

Michelle and Craig only lived a few blocks away.  Things were different when we were younger.  We could just go out and say I'm going... wherever... and it was fine.  We just went.  No questions asked.

I had it all set up.  It was fabulous.  I had an old bed sheet from the rag pile in the basement for us to sit on.  I had toys to entertain my baby brother and whatever food I could find in the refrigerator that wouldn't be missed.  Two hot dogs, a few slices of bread, a jar of Goober Peanut Butter & Jelly spread and a bag of mini marshmallows someone had brought over.  My cousin, Michelle, also brought animal crackers and some other snacks from her house.

We were ready to feast.

Oh yes, I also had matches.

We very carefully set rocks and stones around a bigger ring we'd already found.  Clearly someone else had the same idea to picnic in our woods.  We loaded our pit with sticks and leaves and whatever we could find and lit the fire.  Did I mention it was October?  Leaves had fallen & began to dry on the ground.  We loved the smell of the crisp air and the crunch of the leaves under our feet.

We climbed, we laughed and we ate.

We had a grand 'ol time... All 5 of us, under the tender age of 10 with the youngest being 4.  Picnicking and roasting hot dogs and marshmallows around an open fire.  Ahhhh that was the life.

When we were done, we did our best to clean up.  We didn't want to pollute - so we took all of our trash and put it into our bags to bring back home and set off on our way.  We dealt with everything properly.

Everything except....the fire.

I took my brothers by the hand and led them back to our house and my cousins walked the few blocks back to their house.  All was well in our little worlds.  We had a fabulous day picnicking in the woods.  Being campfire people.

And shortly thereafter, there it was.....Sirens.


Not sirens in the distance - sirens in the woods behind my house.  Fire trucks racing through the next door neighbor's driveway and through the easement up to the woods.

Around our mountain and over to where...

We had our campfire.

Unbeknownst to us, we set the woods on fire.  Five children, having a picnic in the woods - totally unsupervised managed to create a fire that brought 5 fire trucks to contain.

Thankfully no one was injured.

It's a moment I'll never forget, and one we didn't speak of until we were adults.

At the time, none of our parents knew we were responsible for the brush fire that people in our neighborhood discussed for weeks.

None of us told this story for years.

At the time it was a horrible secret.  Now, it's a funny little memory of the things we did as kids - with the thank God no one was hurt, still resonating in our minds.

It's also a huge lesson to never leave my children alone with any type of fire.

Having kids so much like me, it's just not a chance I want to take.

Thank you so much for reading my blog!


This one's for you, Eric.  <3  Happy Birthday (yesterday) in Heaven.  I love you, I miss you.  Rest in sweet peace little brother.

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  1. I have two stories about my older brother that are 60 years old and will never be told unless I outlive my brother...and then I still may not tell!

  2. Oh my gosh, Jenn! I never knew about this! Thank goodness no one was hurt. Mu sister-in-law burned down her entire family home when she was a little girl. I cannot even imagine. So sorry about your brother--sending you hugs today! XO


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