Katie was three years old and I was fourteen. It was a warmer than usual Friday afternoon between four and five PM.
Every Friday after school I would clean the three bedrooms very thoroughly. My Mom and I cleaned house from top to bottom on the weekends so I liked to get started on Friday night after school and thus not have so many rooms to clean on Saturdays.
I don't even know if I had finished the upstairs or had simply started on Mom and Dad's bedroom first on this particular Friday night. As I was dust mopping the floor and dusting the furniture I kept hearing what I thought was a rooster crowing. Since the 'rooster' persisted I decided to go see what in the world was wrong with the thing.
As I rounded the corner of the house I suddenly realized it was a child crying and as I neared the well I realized it was my sister crying and almost at the same instant I realized the boards covering the opening to the well were not all in place. (My Dad had been working on cleaning the well or working on the pipes. I honestly do not remember what he was doing with the well, but I do remember he worked on it yearly and this happened to be the time.)
I ran over and looked in the well and saw Katie crying and clinging to a pipe on the side of the well. I ran into the house screaming at my Mom that Kate was in the well and she panicked and said she was going to jump in and save her.
Then, I really panicked myself and knew in my heart that no way was I going to lose a mother and a sister at the same time since Mom could not swim either and I certainly was not brave enough to jump in!!!
So, I yelled at Mom as she raced out the door to not dare jump in cause I was calling a neighbor and on the first ring someone at Gerald Hays house answered. (Later Joe Maher's house) Gerald said he was on his way! (The Hays family lived a mile away.)
Providentially, Gerald had two other neighbors visiting him and all three came. (Gerald is Mom's first cousin, Lambert Buckman and Roy Finch. . . some of you older kids well remember Theresa Finch from across the street from Mom in Monroe and some of you might know Greg Buckman, Lambert was his dad.) One of the men ran to the shed and found a ladder and with ropes attached they lowered the ladder and one of the fellows climbed down the ladder while the other two held the ladder.
Kate swears the ladder was too wide at the bottom and the lower part had to be sawed off but I do not recall that. Anyway, Aunt Kate was brought up to the loving arms of her Mom and taken to a washtub full of warm water to warm up. I honestly do not remember if she even caught a cold from the cold water.
And, where was our Dad??? Probably in Monroe with the Bill and Dick. At least he was not at home and seemed to make it a habit of being absent when there was a big crisis. The well was covered with heavy boards and a huge rock from that day forward!
Can you see the Hand of God in this???
Praise the Lord. God Bless.
Read times since 12/20/1997