Lebanon Reporter

State News

November 2, 2013

1963 coliseum blast still shapes survivor's life


Finally, Janie gave in, agreed to go to the hospital and sat in the passenger seat of a crammed ambulance.

Doctors poured ice-cold water on her head to clean the wound, and put in stitches. "It felt like they were sewing two pieces of leather together," Janie said.

X-rays didn't show any broken bones, so it was time for Janie to go home. By then, Mrs. Goeke had come by to find her again.

Janie asked Mrs. Goeke if they had found her mother and father. Mrs. Goeke said no. Janie spent the night on Mrs. Goeke's fold-out living room couch, able to sleep with the help of whatever they had given her at the hospital.

The church minister came by the next morning. Her parents were gone.

Janie's sister, Anne, had been calling home from school in Kansas since the night before, first to wish Janie a happy birthday but now because she had heard about the explosions on the radio. She didn't get through, so she called her father's office. The secretary told her what happened.

The White family doctor had identified Al and Violet, perhaps at the morgue-on-ice. When he visited later in the day, Janie asked him one question: Did they die instantly?

As far as the doctor could tell, yes.

Janie definitely did cry that day. And when Anne returned from college, the sisters hugged, though not for long because Janie's ribs were still sore.

But more than anything, Janie felt numb.

Looking back now, she says it was all too much to process. And besides, there were too many logistics to take care of. What clothes would her parents be buried in? Who would look after her? Where would she live?

Janie stayed with the Goekes a while longer. At one point, Mrs. Goeke noticed Janie had been looking out the window as dump trucks went by, hauling some of the broken coliseum concrete.

Text Only
State News

Featured items
Click below to browse and order photos

Photos from August 2014

Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Johnson: Six Arrests, No Tear Gas in Ferguson Raw: Rescue, Relief Efforts at Japan Landslide Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream Raw: Woman Escorted From Ferguson Protests California Drought Stings Honeybees, Beekeepers Officer Who Pointed Gun at Protesters Suspended Holder Hopes to Bring Calm to Ferguson Today in History August 21 Holder Pledges Top Investigators for Ferguson US Mission to Rescue Hostages in Syria Failed Manfred, Torre and MLB Take Ice Bucket Challenge Bank of America Reaches Record $17B Settlement Holder Reassures Ferguson Community With Visit GlobalPost CEO Remembers Foley As a Brave Man Seth Meyers Rolls Out Emmy Red Carpet Obama: World Is Appalled by Murder of Journalist Israel, Militants Trade Fire After Talks Fail Pres. George W. Bush Takes Ice Bucket Challenge Pierce Brosnan's Call to Join the Expendables Changes Coming to No-Fly List

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide