Janet is starting to discover the writer within reflecting on her own life and that of her larger family.
My father loved to chase fires. The second the sirens began wailing on a westerly wind he would be off looking for the fire. Sometimes he took us.
It was July 1967 just before tea-time. The sky was starting to turn pinky orange from the glow of the flames in the quickening dusk as my father, gripped with fire fever, let my two brothers and I bundle into the back of the old green Hillman Humber. We left behind my mother staring at the vanishing Humber, a baby brother and uneaten dinners.
My Dad was hunched over the wheel heading speeding towards the flames, determined to get as close as possible for the best view. I sat in the back adrenalin pumping my system in mounting trepidation and excitement.
When we got closer, I realized, with a sinking feeling, that the burning building was the Henderson Picture Theatre, the place where I had spent many a Saturday afternoon watching the news of the world segments, the westerns in black and white, The Wizard of OZ and also the place where I, carefully, spent my 6d pocket money on lollies, sherbet, or a chocolate bomb ice cream.
As the flames leapt into the darkening sky and timber cracked, popped and exploded we watched, in morbid fascination, what seemed to be half the population of Henderson and the firemen desperately trying but not succeeding to bring the fire under control.
It had burnt to the ground. Gone.
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