This I Believe

Jackie - Waucoma, Iowa
Entered on May 24, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: family, gratitude

When I woke up on April 13, 2004 it started off as any other day. I was a freshman in high school and all I could think about was graduating from school as soon as possible and getting out of my house. My family would drive me so insane sometimes that I thought I would never last another three years.

When I returned home from school that day I had a pile of homework to do. Of course I put it off until I knew that I had to start cracking away at it. It was about 6:30 p.m. when I sat on my bed to start working. I pulled out my English homework. As I lay on my bed reading “Romeo and Juliet” my lights started to flicker and then they went out. I immediately stopped what I was doing and looked up. Then I heard my mom downstairs telling my younger brother, Joe, to keep the light on in the computer room because it would hurt his eyes to stare at the computer in the dark. He replied by saying, “ I didn’t do anything.”

Normally I would have thought that maybe a fuse blew but this was different, I had a gut feeling that something was wrong. I turned and looked out my window and there appeared to be a red glow coming from outside. I stood up and walked over to the window. I looked up and saw flames coming out of my attic. “Mom” I calmly yelled as I ran out of my room. She didn’t hear me but by the time I yelled it again I was starting to panic. “The house is on fire!” I yelled. She ran up the stairs to see what was going on. When she got to my window she told me to call 911. I was so scared, I told her I wouldn’t know what to say, so she ran downstairs to call, and gave me a pitcher to start throwing water on the fire. After calling 911 my mom told me to pull the vehicles away from the house and stay over by our shed. What only took two minutes for the fire trucks to arrive seemed like 15. I stood by the cars with my younger brother and sister in a daze, watching as the firemen ran into our house. I thought our house was gone. I began thinking of all the photos and memories that I had in my house, all of them with my family. My house was luckily saved and that night my family and I all slept in our living room, because of the smoke upstairs. As we all lay there saying the rosary together, I realized what it felt like to be truly grateful for everything that I have; I realized that family means everything. This I believe.