Helen lived with her family on a tobacco farm in the CT valley. She planned to go see the circus in Hartford on July 6, 1944. Weather changed her plans.
The previous day, Helen had gone shopping with some friends in Springfield, MA. Arriving home with her parcels, she noticed the fields looked all wrong. A hail storm had passed through leveling the tobacco plants.
“Oh no,” she thought, “all of the things I bought will have to be returned.” The ruin of this crop meant a huge loss of income to her family.
Her father confirmed this. He must spend the next day working in the field and would need Helen to drive the tractor. She would not be going to the circus on the 6th!
Helen wasn’t the type of girl to weep. A Polish farm girl, she did what was expected of her. She was not among the 7000 people who crowded into the big tent pitched on Barbour Street in Hartford. She was at home seated on the family tractor.
She was not one of the 168 people who died that day in the largest circus fire on record. Nor was she among the 487 people (mostly children) who were injured.
Helen lived a long life, raised children of her own, and near the end of her life she thanked God she did not get to attend that circus.