Lebanon Reporter

State News

November 2, 2013

1963 coliseum blast still shapes survivor's life

(Continued)

They made chitchat, keeping the conversation away from what they were about to do. "That was a Daddy thing," Anne said. If you're scared, you do your best not to show it.

Janie had psyched herself up for this. It helped that she had already made it into the building once before, by herself. "I knew that I could stand in there," she says now, "and not fall apart like a baby."

Anne's presence provided an added incentive. Maybe she'd tear up, sure, but she was not going to allow her sister to see her become a blubbering mess.

It was a hot summer morning, unlike the rainy fall night decades ago. Janie was at the steering wheel this time, and the car was a rental.

She turned onto 38th Street, and then into the fairgrounds. She pointed out where the manufacturer's building had been — where Daddy had claimed they were going even after Janie had figured out the surprise.

She parked, and they walked inside together. Through the corridor and into the arena. No ice on the ground this time, at least. A horse show had left the floor covered in dirt.

Janie showed Anne where they had been sitting, where she had woken up, where she had waited to be taken to the hospital. A coliseum employee showed them what it would all look like after renovations were complete.

She was managing. It was even a little bit exciting, seeing the renovation plans at least.

But the feeling that it was time to go came quickly. Anne kept asking questions of the employee. "I'm like, OK — we can go outside and talk," Janie said.

Soon enough, they were back on the road.

They didn't talk about it much as they drove away. But Anne could see Janie was at ease now. It was time to get on with the rest of the trip.

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Information from: The Indianapolis Star, http://www.indystar.com

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