Monday, August 3, 2009

How It All Started, part one

In 1972, on January 15th, Emergency! debuted on public television. That happened to be my third birthday. I don't know if I actually saw it first on that day, or soon after, but one thing is for sure: As long as I can remember I have been in love with Roy DeSoto! (Yes, I guess I AM nuts! Sigh)

I remember watching Emergency! with my dad when I was very small. I always thought Roy was nice and John was a goofball. I loved when the fire engine or rescue squad would roll out of the station and the sirens would blare. I loved watching the fire scenes and the medical calls and the crazy firehouse antics between the firemen.

At that time in my life it was unheard of that a woman would ever want to be firefighter, the term firefighter wasn't even used yet, it was "fireman." So, I decided to be Dixie McCall when I grew up instead. I wanted to be a nurse.

As I got older, I watched Emergency! sporadically, when it was on in re-runs, and enjoyed it thoroughly. I still liked Roy better than Johnny Gage. I began in about 4th or 5th grade to think about what it would be like to be a "fireman." I wasn't too serious, yet.

By seventh grade, I KNEW I wanted to join the fire department. I started talking about it, a lot. All the time. I drove my family and friends nuts, I am sure. My dad obliged my interests, talking to me about it whenever I wanted him to. My mom bought me Firehouse Magazine. They were taking me seriously! In my English class I wrote a story about a female firefighter. It was called, "One Of The Guys." It won a citywide contest and earned me a spot at the Young Author's Conference where I met Stephen Cosgrove (Wheedle on the Needle, Serendipity, etc.). Then in Home Ec. class we were learning about different cuts of beef. Our teacaher, Gloria Hudson, gave us an outline of a cow and told us to decorate it in some way, for fun, as a contest. The winner would get to choose whatever toppings they wanted to put on a home made pizza we would be making in class. I put Barney Beef in full turnout gear. I won!! Soon my grandfather, a retired firefighter from Portland, Oregon found out I had the bug. He was awesome. He introduced me to some of his firefighter buddies when I visited him. He gave me firefighter decals and other memorabilia.

At school, I was not taken so seriously, at least, not by most. My seventh grade math teacher, Paul Stephens, stated to me in class in front of everyone one day, "No woman fireman is going to climb a four story ladder and save me out of a burning building!" "You're absolutely right!" I said boldly. "You can burn to death!"
Boy was I p'd off! Mom was madder than a wet hen too when I told her about that!

Another day as I was walking home from school, I was heading up the hill towards home and talking to another kid that walked the same direction. I was discussing my interests and he said to me, "You'll never be a firefighter, you won't even ride on the truck!" (he might have said "fire engine") Right then, Engine 8 came around the corner from a block or so away, pulled up along side of us and the driver, Milt Nelson, hollered out, "Want a ride?" (sorry Milt for snitching, but since you are retired, you probably won't get in to too much trouble).

HELL YESS!!!!!!!!!!! ( I thought to myself) as I jumped into the driver's side jump seat and left the jerk I was walking with in a cloud of diesel smoke when Engine 8 roared up the hill. That was the first of the, so far, four best days of my life!

Tune in next time for part two of "How It All Started"

Welcome to Flashpointz!

Welcome to Flashpointz! This is a blog that I am creating so that I have an outlet to ramble about whatever I feel like blah, blah, blahing about. It will probably often have to do with firefighting, firebuffs, fire engines, my brother or who knows what else. For those who are interested, check out my brother's blog the Engine 10 Project. Some of this blog will make more sense if you do.

EDIT: 3/2010  Just a note: The blog referred to above has been re-named the Engine 17 project the reasons of which are outlined within that blog.