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August 12, 2005

Emergency!

Do y'all remember that show?
I sure do! I loved it soooooo much! I wanted to BE Johnny and/or Roy.

Oh yeah, Emergency! was the SHIT! That show had a huge impact on me, and my future.

My Dad has been a volunteer firefighter for as long as dirts been around,

and in 1974, he decided that he no longer wanted to be a chemist.
He wanted to dedicate his life to medicine, and helping people.
He became one of the very first paramedics in the State of New York
and went to work for the Town of Tonawanda.

But it was his volunteer work as a firefighter that entranced us kids. We were firehouse brats. We would put on someones gear, climb into the seat of the pumper, or maybe the ladder truck, and pretend we were off to fight the beast. As we got older, we all eventually joined the fire service. My Dad and brothers belonged to the fire department right up the block, but I waited till I moved to a neighboring fire district before I joined. Not that I didn't love my family, I knew that I would never be able to do what I wanted to do, and become my own person if we were all in the same department. So, I joined the Kenmore Volunteer Fire Department. As in most 'clubs', rookies get harassed unmercifully. I was no different. I can still remember (quite vividly) a Monday morning drill that turned into one of the worst drunks of my life! The 'boys' decided to stop off in the firehouse meeting room/rec center/bar that was on the 2nd floor of the firehouse for a couple of barley pops after we finished the drill. I was asked to join, and wanting to be accepted as 'one of the guys', did
. After a couple of beers, someone suggested doing shots of vodka. Well, i'm sure you can see where this is headed. Yes, I was the only one doing shots of vodka. The boys were doing shots of WATER! Bastards got my stupid sorry ass! I have no idea how many shots I did, I only remember being carried down the back stairs by the FIRE CHIEF, poured into my car, driven home by ???????, and then poured into my apartment. Did I mention that the Chief had to get me from the ladies room floor?
I sure do know how to make an impression don't I?!

Being a female in a predominantly male occupation is tough. The all-boy network was hardly ever outright hateful, but the underlying current was always there. The women had to work harder, and we did. I was lucky to have:
a). Followed some incredibly dedicated, strong women, and
b). Work with a bunch (6 to be exact) of women who were just as dedicated and strong.

Ok folks, I looked ALL over the place for my 'action' shots, and I have no idea where in bloody hell they are! So, y'all get to see my 'glamour girl' firefighter shot. Lucky you!


This was taken in February 1994. My last year as a firefighter.
I had no idea when I decided to do this that it would
cause such a controversy!

Oh yes, I was reprimanded for such 'risque' pictures while
in uniform. Oops, my bad!
Technically, the only part of the
'uniform' I had on was my helmet. I REALLY wanted to bring in my turnout gear, but the photographer flat out refused
to take my picture in it. He said it wouldn't 'look right'.

Yeah, whatever.
Stupid-ass photographer.

Anywho, this really is one of my favorite pictures of me.
It was a wonderful time in my life, and it shows.
Enjoy it as I do!!!!!

Not too long after this was taken, I found out I was pregnant with my first born, The Boy. In 1995, after I gave birth to him, I gave up what I loved.
It was just too difficult to maintain my standards, and those of the Fire Department as a single Mom. I no longer had the luxury of running off to fight a fire, or tend to an accident victim when the alarm went off. I had a baby who needed me to be there for him.
To this day, whenever I see or hear a fire truck, I want to follow it, jump out of my car, throw on some turn-out gear, strap on an SCBA tank, grab the first in hose line and go tackle The Beast head on!!!!
It's hard to describe, but the adrenaline rush I get from running into a burning building is like the most addictive, intoxicating drug I have ever taken.
Oh yea, my heartbeat quickens at the mere thought of it!

I look back on that time in my life with such fond memories.
I don't regret giving it up, but I sure do miss it .........

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