Thursday, May 5, 2011

Chapter Three: The First Omen, The Explosion


Chapter Three: The First Omen: The Explosion

Sadly the First Omen was not actually a Loaded Gun,the "Annie Oakley " Omen, abandoned in our Kitchen. The first omen was actually a much bigger omen....An Explosion that killed three people, three Children. The Explosion happened at a Park on June 10,1999 on a beautiful sunny afternoon changing the future of a beautiful small Northwest Town Forever.

The Spring of 1999 we had narrowed our Home Search to three Locations, Whitbey Island, Olympia and Bellingham. I had created lists as to what was best for our family and was within our budget. These Three were the top Contenders. Every Thursday was Road Trip Day, my son and the dogs would pile into the car and go exploring these three areas. Lunches were packed, and extra play clothes. Our Favorite Destination became Bellingham. There were great bookstores and libraries and coffee shops. There was a wonderful Lake and a Park not far from the wonderful Lake. There was barely any traffic, and the people seemed very nice. And the Homeshool Opportunities were huge.

We had been looking at homes near the Lake, as it was quiet and peaceful and restful. That spring we noticed that it was lush and green, full of huge trees. My son and I joked it was like going to camp. We did look throughout the County though. We had a few favorite spots, Birch Bay, Fairhaven, Blaine, and Lake Whatcom. We also liked Bellingham. Bellingham Thursdays were special. We would stop and get chowder at one of the local shops or we would go to The Park by the lake and have a packed lunch or we would drive to Birch Bay if it was warm. The Park in Bellingham was our First park that my son ever hiked in , he loved it, and he loved standing on the Bridge and admiring the Falls and listening to them hit the rocks. It was special.

That Thursday morning I got up early and packed lunches and walked dogs and was ready to go. At Noon my son said nope- he did not want to go. I said what ? He said he just did not want to go, he could not explain it, but he did not want to go. Something "Felt Wrong". I was puzzled it was a beautiful sunny day. I tried to persuade him that the Park would be there, and the Ice Cream Lady always came at 3pm. We usually would hop in the car, look at a few houses and then be to the park by 3pm. He shook his head.

I thought it was odd, but I unloaded the car. I knew that he would still want to go swimming at the Complex Pool and watch Arthur C.Clarke, that we would still have a Day. When one Homeschools, everything is in flux, but everything is a learning experience. I called our Realtor that we were supposed to meet and told her my son was not up to the trip and she nicely said that was fine. I told her we would see her next Thursday.

As the afternoon plotted on, we swam, did orgami and fed his animals,and I made cookies, and at 3pm we turned on the TV to get ready to watch Aruthur C.Clarke. At a little after 3:30 PM there was Breaking News, there was aerial footage on news station of a large explosion and Fire.In that instant my son and I both recognized the Area, and took a deep breath. I don't know How we knew, but we knew it was Bellingham and we knew it was Whatcom Falls Park, "our" park. We watched silently as they showed the huge mushroom cloud and all angles showed it was a huge fire. I had chills as I realized that my son had kept us away from Something so awful I was grateful.

And yet at that moment, I did not realize the Explosion for what it was.....I just felt sadness for this lovely little Northwest Town. I called our realtor and checked on her and asked if she was okay. She said the Smoke was bad, and that things were confusing, and that she did not know what was going to happen. I asked her if they were evacuating. She said no, she did not think so. My heart was tugged there to the town on fire, and I realized that I cared about this little town in a way that was inexplicable. This Explosion should have been looked at as an Omen, a Sign, a Warning. Yet I did not see it, I was too worried about the Little Town.

And oddly enough over the next three years my path would be accidentally interwoven to the Tale of the Explosion and the Victims and their families.....and the enormity of the Explosion was to be only fully understood later. Much Later.