Herald-Journal
Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal,October 26, 1998

The day the roof fell in

By OPAL "GRANDMA" HABISCH

I am five years old and I used to go to work with my mother every day. There was a big day care center where she worked and all the children whose mothers worked in the building went to the center. I liked to go to work with her because at the day care center there were a lot of toys and many children to play with.

We had three teachers in the day care center. They showed us how to paint pictures. We wore aprons to keep our clothes clean, but we did get our hands full of paint, and sometimes, we even got it on our faces. Another fun thing we did was sing. I have a good voice and the teacher let me sing alone.

We ate our lunch at noon and sometimes our mothers came and ate lunch with us. If I didn't like the lunch that they were serving at the center that day, I could eat some of my mother's lunch instead.

After lunch, we took a nap. Sometimes, after our nap, we went on a walk through the building and we could see where our mothers worked. It was a very big building and often we would run down the halls and laugh and scream. Then the teacher had to tell us to be quiet.

There was a special room for all the babies that came to the day care center. Most of the babies slept during the day.

At 2:30 p.m., our mothers picked us up to take us home. Sometimes we went shopping on the way. When we got home, mother made supper, dad came home from work, and then we would eat.

When I was sick, my dad would stay home from work with me and then I didn't go to the day care center.

I was home with my dad one day, watching TV, when all at once the news came on. As my dad listened to the news, he said, "Oh my God." He quickly got me dressed. I could tell that something was very wrong.

We got in the car and drove very fast to where my mother worked. There were a lot of policemen there and cars. And then I realized that the building where my mother worked was gone. In its place stood a smoking pile of rubble. I looked at my dad and he was crying.

We found some firemen and a policeman and asked if anyone had made it out of the building. They said they didn't know. I started to cry, too, and I wanted my mother. My dad picked me up and held me tight. The fireman said they thought it was a bomb that made the building fall apart.

The rescue workers were digging and bringing out the bodies of some of my friends in day care and some other people who worked in the building. My dad and I waited all day for some word about my mother, but when night came they still didn't know anything.

We went to the hospital to see if my mother was there, but we didn't find her. Then we saw a lady who worked with mother. She was hurt real bad, but she remembered me. I asked if she knew about my mother and she started to cry. She said a big wall fell in on my mother and she didn't make it.

A few days later there was a funeral and many people came. And now my dad is both my mother and my father.

I am glad that my mother and I always said "I love you," because now I know that she loved me and she knew that I loved her. Don't forget to tell each other that you care, because you never know when the end will come.


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