May 21st, 1976, a school bus from Yuba City, California was on it's way to Martinez for a school choir event. The bus drove through the railing on an overpass, flipping on it's back, and 29 people were killed. I knew almost all of those young people, and it changed me forever. I NEVER take my life for granted, I NEVER take my family for granted, ESPECIALLY my children, and I ALWAYS want to make the world a better place. The young woman in the left of the picture above is Carrie. She was one of my best friends, and my daughter Cari is named after her. She had a wicked sense of humour, was smart as a whip, and even though I was a bit older than her, we 'got' each other. She was only 15 years old. How very young that sounds to me at this stage in the game. Kathy, shown in the picture with her, is now married with four children. I know she was changed forever as well.
Lori played the piano, sang beautifully, had an infectious laugh (one of the best I've ever heard, and I miss that most of all, even now), and she always worried about her looks. She thought she was too heavy and she never got the chance to find out how truly beautiful she was.
Tom was Lori's boyfriend, he could be rather quiet, when not getting himself in a jam (and he was good at that, but it was always something funny), his birthday was on April Fools Day (he hated that), and the two of us led singing for our youth group. He and Lori are buried next to each other.
Also, one day in the hallway at work a guy stopped me, asking if I had lived in Yuba City. Come to find out he had been in the youth group with me. He's in the left hand side of the picture. It's a very small world.
A week after the accident Carrie's parents took a group of us up to the mountains, renting a small house. They needed to get away. The girl at the far left is Carrie's sister Dori, and her other sister is the second girl from the right (I do not remember her name, but I didn't know her very well) sitting next to me. My sister is the gal in the glasses, sitting right in front of me.
I had given Cari a pair of earrings and she was wearing them the day of the accident. They only found one of them, and her parents gave me the earring, set in a special made card. I had it for years, and wish I knew what happened to it.
Too many amazing young people died that day. My first boyfriend's little brother Larry, who was only 14. Amy, who lived down the street from us for many years. Marla, who introduced me to the Chronicles of Narnia. I always gave her a bad time because she started me at the fourth book in the series....her older sister was a good friend of mine during high school, and many times Marla would tag along and we never minded. She was one of the sweetest girls I've ever known. Truly kind.
And Christina, who was a student teacher, had married our choir director, and was along to help out. We all admired her, many of us had gone to their wedding, and she was pregnant. I could go on and on.
Life is too short people. Live it well. Love a lot. And make the world a better place.
And Carrie, Lori, Tom, Marla and all those we lost that day: I will NEVER forget.