So, I've told this story hundreds of times if not thousands, even though I have no real memory of it. Here is the story from all the collective sources. (My mom, my dad, my grandmother and a few newspaper clippings).
My mom and dad who had been together for about five years had three children. There was my sister Kimmy (Kimberly Albina Rhyno) me (Launna Randy Rhyno) and my sister Shelly (Rochelle Lynn Rhyno). My mother's step father had been ill in 1964 and so my dad and mom traveled to Salem, Oregon from Halifax, Nova Scotia with Kimmy, me and mom was pregnant with Shelly.
They also brought Mary (a 16 year old girl they knew from Halifax) to help out. While we were in Oregon Shelly was born that July and by September my parents started home to Halifax, Nova Scotia. They drove through Washington into British Columbia and ended up stopping in Kelowna BC.
They decided to rent a cabin and worked by picking fruit for money. The morning of Monday October, 12 Thanksgiving 1964, mom and dad left for work. It was just Mary and myself that were up, I was nearly 15 months old.
My parents had left the Coleman stove out on the table. Apparently I pulled the stove off the table which had a gas tank attached to it at the exact same time that Mary was lighting the wood stove. Everything burst into flames and I was in the center of it all.
Kimmy was in the bedroom off to one side and Shelly was in the back bedroom. Mary walked through the flames to save me. She tried to talk Kimmy into coming but she was too afraid of the fire. Mary ran to the closest neighbor with me and they drove her and me to the orchard to let my parents know and someone called the firemen.
Mary and I were rushed to the hospital, my parents got back to the cabin to find it burned to the ground. Kimmy had died, Shelly was pronounced dead at the scene (they revived Shelly on the way to the hospital). They had seen me and I was massively burned.
I can see why my mother had a difficult time celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving as she nearly lost her whole family that day. My mom said she remembered very little for the first couple of weeks due to shock. She remembered Kimmy being buried in red silk, her favorite color.
My father than fell apart and my mom sent him back to Halifax to be with his parents while she looked after Shelly and drove between two hospitals daily to see Mary and me. Then on the 10th day in, Mary died (apparently she couldn't deal with the fact that Kimmy had died).
My mother was a strong woman but this even shook her. She said she had nearly fallen to pieces but she had to be strong for my sister and me. I was going through numerous operations, she was told I wouldn't live, then when I lived, she was told I wouldn't have feet to walk with and I'd be lucky to have patches of hair.
I was a fighter, I survived and beat all the odds. It was pretty amazing to survive after 60% of my body was burned, especially in 1964. Anyhow I'm still walking with my feet the doctors thought I would lose and I have enough hair for two people. The plastic surgeons worked miracles and made it possible for me to live a fairly normal life.
I cry when I think about what my parents had to deal with, losing Kimmy the way they did. They never overcame the grief and although they had my sister Lisa in 1966, they separated within a couple of years. By 1969 my mom had left and I was not to see her again until 1978 when I was 15.
My parents tried to reconcile but it didn't work out, which I feel was horribly sad. My mother loved my father with her whole heart and she did until the day she died. My father was never truly happy, he searched his whole life and had addictions to cover the pain he had.
That fire in October 1964 ended up destroying my family and changing us all for the rest of our lives, we still deal with the repercussions to this day.
I am, however; extremely grateful to Mary for walking through the fire to save me, I'm thankful for the firemen who saved my sister Shelly, I'm indebted to the doctors who worked miracles on me.
There are blessings even in difficult times.
"Everything you want, also wants you" ~ Jack Canfield