Monday, December 01, 2008

Our local paper ran this AP Story yesterday about the 50th anniversary of the fire that killed several students and teachers at the Our Lady of Angels School in Chicago's West Side.

Why did this story make me stop and read it? It has close family ties. Years ago (1996 to be precise) my mother gave me a Christmas present. A book called To Sleep with the Angels by David Cowan and John Kuenster.

And while nobody in our family died in that fire, my grandfather (my mom's dad) knew many of the firefighters involved in fighting the blaze. You see, my grandfather was a photographer for the fire department. And while I never knew him (he died when my mom was a kid), I feel proud that he was such a friend and asset to the department.

So, if you have kids in school, say a little prayer today for those that lost there lives 50 years ago today. If it weren't for their sacrifice, we wouldn't have such high standards for fire protection and prevention in our schools.


cinda1212 said...

He photographed the fire.... you knew that, right? Dad clearly remembers (and can never forget) the film he helped Andy develop that night.

TK42ONE said...

I knew photographed it, but have never really researched the photos to see which ones he took. The book (and note mom sent with it) are haunting enough.

cinda1212 said...

I've never found any photos credited to him - but that doesn't mean they're not out there. They were likely the CFD property, and almost all of their archives were lost (due to flood, I think) a long time ago. I've been to their photo lab and met with the guys there looking for any proof that he helped them - and they have nothing. That was when I was on my 'quest' back in 97 or so?

Freakiness: I'd set up an appt to meet with one of the commanders there, tuesday afternoon or something. And I got the whole training facility tour, photo lab, etc. Once i was done with all the non-public stuff, he walked me down tot he 'museum'/photo gallery part. Turned the corner, and Andy and Amy were standing there! They were looking for stuff on Grandpa, and Amy's Dad, who worked for CFD. What are the chances I'd run into them like that? Freaky.

TK42ONE said...

That certainly is freaky.

Too bad about the photos. It would have been nice to have an archive of his work.