The mother purchased her first home when the daughter was about two. It was a double-wide mobile home in a mobile home park. It was good. The daughter had her room, a small yard, and some friends her age in the same park. The mother was struggling to make ends meet, so with the help of her mother (as a babysitter), she was able to take on a second job. Then a third job. Then sign up for business classes. She was determined to provide her daughter with a good role model and decent place to grow up.
(Please note that these pictures are a resemblance of my past. After the fire of 2014, all was lost.)
Imagine the mother working so hard that she could purchase their first real “stick” home (as the Realtors call it). It was beautiful. Plenty of room in the bedrooms. A nice office room for her to do her studies. A HUGE back yard with enormous trees and a covered patio. Perfect place to add a dog for the daughter, so they did.
The mother met a man in her second job that appeared to want all the same things she wanted: a nice home in the country, some space, a nice house, and maybe a horse or two. She allowed to man to meet her daughter, and the two seemed to get along well. Imagine being totally fooled by this man and his smooth talking. After two years and a beating, she finally threw him out. This left her and her daughter on their own again – as God apparently wanted it to be.
Imagine things are going well. The mom still has three jobs. The daughter is in a nice elementary school. Both are doing well in their classes (A-students no less!), and the dog brings laughter and joy to both. Now imagine you are sitting at work, your daughter is safe in school, and you get a phone call:
“This is the Fire Marshall; you need to come home right now!”
The first thought in this young woman’s mind is this is a prank from one of her co-workers. She stated as much on the phone, and the Fire Marshall responded:
“No Ms. Helberg, this is not a joke, your home is on fire.”
This was June of 1992. She was thirty-three years old, and her daughter was seven.
What the fire didn’t take, the water from the hoses did. The dog also disappeared when the firemen had to go through to the back of the house. The dog bolted. The mother put up fliers, checked animal shelters, but never found the dog.
The mother and daughter spent that whole summer in a nice condo (provided by her stellar insurance company) with a pool. It was ok, but it was not home. By the time school started up again, they were back in their home. The daughter found a kitten and so it became a new addition to the family.
Life goes on as it will, and the Grandmother died. The daughter was now old enough not to need a babysitter anymore, but the loss of the beloved family member left a hole that could not be filled.
Things in Denver became ugly. The Columbine shooting happened and almost all of the schools, at every age level became a type of prison. The daughter, who was in middle school now, was let go early when another child thought it would be funny to bring in a flair gun – not funny! After that, complete lockdown.
The mother was now scared for the safety of her and her daughter. She devised a plan with her younger sister (who also lived in Denver), to seek out a small farm or country place. The urgency was to get out of Denver baby go-go (yes, that is a song.).
to be continued…