What Helpers Do You Remember?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by susiestar, Apr 17, 2013.

  1. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I love the video of Mr. Rogers that witz posted. It is truly beautiful and a great way to deal with tragedies. It is also inspiring to hear stories about helpers after tragedies whether they are on a massive scale or a small scale.

    So what helpers have you seen in your life?

    We had moved to OH a few months before the Oklahoma City Bombing but we had many loved ones in OKC. Most especially husband's parents and sister and her family and my dad. My dad drove to OKC to teach every day. We were blessed that none of our family was hurt though we had many friends who were or who lost family.

    The state restaurant association was supposed to open their yearly show on the day of the bombing. It was downtown near the bombing but fare enough away for safety. If you have not been to a restaurant assoc show, you are missing quite a party. Manufacturers bring their best wares and newest items and set them up to promote them. Everything from new equipment to food and even utility companies are there.

    Within just a couple of hours the vendors at the show had set up all the equipment and brought in more and were serving coffee and food for anyone who needed it. They continued non stop for days. People who worked in restaurants all over the state showed up to help fix that food and serve it. Many vendors had very expensive equipment that later had to be sold as used because they used the equipment to serve the victims and the helpers. They took huge financial losses for the equipment and the food but they didn't ever complain or even stop to think about it until later. They just set it up and brought in more until they were no longer needed.

    This is part of the story of the bombing that few people hear about. The restaurants and vendors and the entire association didn't make a big deal about it even though it probably would have increased sales to be seen as helping that much. If I hadn't know vendors and restaurant owners/managers, I probably wouldn't have known.

    What helpers have you noticed?
  2. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    In September of 2000 a third tornado hit Xenia Ohio. It wiped out the Wal-Mart, a church and some other stuff. I worked at Target in a nearby city at the time and a bunch of our people got together to help the employees of that Wal-Mart with necessities till they could find new jobs. With the money raised from employees and family they wiped Target out of toilet paper...

    In the aftermath of 9/11 my dentist volunteered in NYC as a forensic dentist... He tried to go right away and they wouldn't let him in the city!

    When Hurricane Ike ran through in 2008, our area got some pretty bad straight-line winds. Trees and power lines down all over the place. No electricity. People went knocking on doors to find the elderly and families with infants and took them into their own homes. I saw a lot of men with chainsaws cutting apart trees that were blocking roads... And, no, they weren't professionals.

    Shortly after that (brag coming on) the next-door neighbors' house caught fire (bad wiring). The little 10-y/o girl was home with her 16-y/o brother and she came over and pounded on the door freaking out. husband called 911 and took our kitchen fire extinguisher over... Got the cats and dogs and brother out. The family spent 2 weeks with us before Section 8 found them another house. Then when they re-built husband donated spray foam & the application to the parts that needed it. (My husband likes to help other people!)
  3. nerfherder

    nerfherder Active Member

    This one goes a looong way back. Before I was born. It also comes forward to the modern day. If you get emotional, get your tissues ready. Not exaggerating.

    Way back during WWII, my mom and aunt were slave labor in a munitions factory. Poland, or Germany, I don't remember which.

    One distant cousin of theirs (lost his fingernails from working with the gunpowder, they just were burned off from the chemicals I think) ended up working in the kitchen. (My mom's family has a reputation for being very opportunistic - a survival trait that runs strong in Kiddo, go figure.)

    He would stash the margarine wrappers (butter? Who has butter in a war?) someplace safe, sneak them to my mom and aunt, who rigged up a way over the lone woodstove in the barracks to boil the remaining oil out of them, get some precious extra calories. They lost contact during the war as slave labor was shipped hither and yon, and it was always safest to assume someone was dead - that way you just move on.

    Years later, and this might be "outing" my family, Mom and my aunt were watching the TV miniseries "Holocaust." During one of the "slideshow" scenes, they saw... the last photo of their mother, moments before she was shot with a bunch of other women and dumped in a ravine in Latvia.

    They went to the agency in NYC that provided the photos, found the image (how they knew she ended up in Latvia) and the story was reported in our local paper, which made it to the AP wire - and People Magazine sent out a reporter and photographer, did a really gorgeous 3 or 4 page spread on the story. (The "Star" tabloid did one too, and got nearly everything wrong, which cracked us all up.)

    We got phone calls and letters, some were pretty funny or pathetic of course. A call from the son of her dad's ne'er do well brother who ditched the family and left for NYC so long ago nobody even knew about him, total difficult child type, and great crazy stories from that. Great friends and family came out of that contact.

    And one phone call from a woman outside a deep south city with that delightful Southern drawl. Well, her dad who died a few years back used to talk about his cousins who died in the war. After a few frantic minutes of playing the Jewish Geography game, hindered by her Classic Southern Pronunciation of unpronounceable Polish towns, it turns out...

    Her dad was that cousin, the one who helped them. She was his only daughter. And she was named after my mom.

    When we all met a few months later, lo and behold. She and I shared the same white streak in our hair ('though hers was larger.) She's now the family archivist, and I have Southern Cousins, accents and all. The few summers we spent visiting allowed the "y'all" to creep into my speech, which is a lot of fun to think about.
  4. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    It was only 3 weeks after 9/11, and NO ONE was going to NYC. We all felt bad for NYC, but what could we do? A travel agent in town organized the first "Flight for Freedom" to NYC, and filled a plane full of people who were going there to do the touristy things in NY that no one was doing anymore. It was so popular with NYC and with Portlanders, that they did several more over the weeks. You have to get things back to normal.

    I'm sure that some of you remember "the troubles" with Great Britain and the IRA. They would be bombed at a market or on a bus and the next day they'd do whatever they had to do to get that bus running and that market open. They were NOT going to let the terrorists (on either side) stop their way of life. If you do, then they win. "Keep Calm and Carry On".