Monique Walker (MW) and Cody Walker (CW)
Monique Walker (MW): When we left that night, we already had the glow of the fire behind us. You’re hearing on the radio all the places that you can go to but nobody’s telling you which way to go.
Cody Walker (CW): And people start driving up onto the sidewalks and the front yards because the street is completely packed.
MW: You’re like an ant with a magnifying glass chasing you and you’re just randomly going, but you don’t know if it’s gonna be safe ahead of you.
CW: We were able to get back to our house right away after the fire.
MW: It looked normal until you got closer to the railroad tracks and then you’d see one house burned, and then two houses were fine. And then all of a sudden you got past the railroad, and everything was gone. And you don’t know what street you’re on because everything looks the same — burnt and twisted metal, and just ash everywhere. Our oldest daughter almost fell over when she saw the house. She cried. And we just held each other for a long time.
CW: It just was a numbing feeling, you know? It’s like, what do you do? I mean, it’s gone. I just wanted to punch stuff, really. But that doesn’t do anything.
MW: It’s hard not thinking that maybe there was a chance that you could’ve saved something else. And I keep going back there, and I’m like, okay, maybe I should sift one more time and I might find my wedding ring, or maybe if I look I can find my daughter’s rock that she really liked. And you’re Native American and we had these beautiful baskets for each one of our children.
CW: Yeah, you’d have designs weaved into the basketry. So when we lost all of those things it was the hardest part to deal with. You don’t want to let go of the past, because that’s how we learned how to live and be who we are. It’s hard to say, ’Okay, all we have carrying forward really at this point is our DNA.’ You know?
MW: Yeah. Friends and family call us and ask how we’re doing and they don’t wanna hear that we’re not doing okay.
CW: There’s always the talk about getting back to normal or getting over it, but I think everything will forever be different for us.