Maureen's Reviews > To Sleep with the Angels: The Story of a Fire

To Sleep with the Angels by David Cowan
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This is a book that I have read at least three times over the years. This incident really affected our family, and was talked about often as I was growing up. I was in first grade, my sister in 7th grade and my brother in 8th grade. In those days there were Catholic churches and schools every few blocks. The day of the fire my parents heard the reports on a Chicago radio station, but the the name of the school was not mentioned at first. Our school was a short distance from Our Lady of Angels, and our parents thought it was our school, they were frantic. Thankfully, it wasn't. I don't remember the day of the actual fire, but I do remember the new and repeated fire drills we were put through following this fire. Some of the staircases in the school would often be blocked off to teach the children and Nuns different escape routes in case of fire. We were all petrified, praying as we quickly escaped the ever present danger of another fire. Most of the children who perished were buried in a Catholic cemetery where most of my family is buried. Our seasonal visits to Queen of Heaven Cemetery always included a somber visit to the children's area that was always festively decorated by the families of these "Little Angels". Even today, when you pass this sad section of graves, you will see Easter baskets, Christmas decorations, pinwheels and balloons depending on the season. Most of the parents are probably gone now, so I imagine it is brothers and sisters of the victims continuing the ritual. I still get choked up when I see it.

Fabulous book, well written and a must read for all. If you grew up in the 1950's in Chicago you might well remember this horrible tragedy.
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Finished Reading
August 19, 2012 – Shelved

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Julie My mother remembers the news reports very vividly as well.


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