Tuesday, November 07, 2006
I’ll never forget that phone call. It was about 7:15 am, it was winter. The yellow phone rang in our kitchen. There was a fire at the marina. My heart knew, our boat was gone. I was in either 2nd or 3rd grade. I can’t remember. I cried, hysterically. My dad told me “let’s not worry about it yet, maybe our boat isn’t gone”, he told me in later years that he knew. My dad worked the entire summer before on our boat because it was not in good condition when we bought it (we got a good deal). We hadn’t even put the boat in the water until August! I spent my entire summer running around a marina, eating McDonald’s, Arby’s, and Wendy’s and Larry Bullingtion would ask me every day if I brought him French fries. Oh, my heart was broken in about 10,000 pieces.
We went to the marina after work that day. There was my boat, the Margie Lou IV. Burnt to a crisp, the only thing that you could even make out was part of the hull and a few melted MC numbers. Our boat was the fire line because wood burns much slower than fiberglass. My dad’s friend’s boat was only burnt on one side, his was on the fire line too, it saved the boat we have now. It was a sad, sad day in the Maierle household. 3 kids had broken into a bunch of boats and couldn’t find anything to steal (no one keeps valuables on their boats for that very reason – duh) so they got mad, and set one boat on fire, the rest were “an act of God” and the kids couldn’t be charged for all the boats that burnt, just the one they set on fire.
Today on my way to work, down Grand River, there was a huge fire. I was so saddened to see it, it broke my heart. As I was driving home with the windows down, was that smell. The smell of burnt wood, of water, and of firefighter's blood, sweat, and tears, trying to save what they could. I had found myself, during the fire praying for everyone to be safe, for the fire to stop. On my way home, I prayed for store owners, and investigators. The smell of the fire brought me back to the fire at Ecorse Boat Basin all those years ago, and how our boat was one of the sacrifices for the memories my daughter will have on our boat.
I’ll never forget that smell or that day.