Hi! My name is Timmy. I’ve just got to tell you what happened to my Nonny. That’s what I call my daddy’s mom. She called me the other day and said she got caught on an elevator with some other people and firemen had to rescue them! I thought she meant that the elevator caught on fire! But that’s not what happened.
Nonny and her friend Miss Loulou (her real name, I think, is Miss Louise) went downtown to look at some fancy places to live. I don’t think Nonny is interested in a new place to live. If she is, I’d tell her to come live in Chickynooga close to me so I could visit her all the time! But she said Miss Loulou sometimes talks about living downtown close to lots of places to go like theaters and museums and places like that.
Well . . . back to the story. Nonny and Miss Loulou went into a building called The Glass House. It’s called that because it has lots and lots of windows and on the top level of the building, they stretch all the way from the floor to the ceiling. They met a realtor lady who was showing off a big, fancy place to live in that building, hoping somebody would be interested in buying it as their new home.
The realtor lady, Miss Loulou and Nonny got on the elevator to go up to the fifth floor penthouse. I don’t know what the “pent” in penthouse means but Nonny says a penthouse is a very big place to live that is fancy and on the top of a building. Then a lot of other people wanting to see the fifth-floor penthouse started getting on, too. The last two ladies who got on could barely squeeze in.
Somebody on the elevator said, “I think there are too many people on here.”
“No, no,” said the two ladies. Then the elevator door struggled to close but it finally did.
You know what? Nonny told me there was barely an inch from one person to the next. Miss Loulou told Nonny later that she was already getting worried as soon as those two ladies got on and she was wishing she had just said, “Wait a minute. I’m getting off!” But she didn’t and the elevator started on its way up to the fifth floor.
Then it came to a stop, but the door didn’t open! “What’s going on here?” everyone must have been thinking; but they all—all twelve of them—seemed calm except for Miss Loulou. She whispered to Nonny to pray. It’s funny that people are always asking Nonny to pray when they think something bad is going on. Nonny told me she turned her head toward Miss Loulou who was standing right in the corner and thought she just might slide down the wall and curl up into a little ball!
Nonny said there was a man next to all those elevator buttons that you push when you get on. There are numbers for the different floors so you have to know what floor you are going to. That man pushed an alarm button that made a really loud “br . . . ring!” After he had pushed it several times, somebody told him to stop. Nonny looked over at him and said, “Honey, you just keep on ringing that bell until somebody knows we are stuck in here!” I don’t know why Nonny would call somebody “honey” when she doesn’t even know him!
He did keep on ringing that bell and then he tried to use the emergency elevator phone but Nonny wasn’t sure if anybody answered him. However, Miss Loulou and a young guy standing close to her were both using their cell phones to call 911. They both were told that firemen would be coming to their rescue!
It was beginning to get really hot and stuffy in the elevator. Somebody pushed on a ceiling tile to see if pushing it over to one side would bring in a little cool air. Nonny thought doing that might disturb the electric wiring and she said, “Don’t do that! We might end up in the dark!”
There were four guys, Nonny said, and eight ladies and it was a very little elevator! Two of the guys tried pulling the doors apart with their hands and managed to make a little crack. They said there was a little cool air coming through the crack.
Somebody said, “Well, so much for this place!”
Somebody else said, “You know, my side of town doesn’t look all that bad about now!”
One of the ladies said, “It’s good nobody has claustrophobia!” Nonny told me if you have claustrophobia that means you are afraid of being in close, tight places like an elevator.
Oops! That lady was wrong! “She does,” Nonny said pointing toward a very pale Miss Loulou.
By this time Nonny thought maybe she should say a prayer out loud, especially to help Miss Loulou feel better. So that’s what she did! She told me she said a short prayer that they would get help soon and that the people coming to help would know what they were doing.
That’s a funny prayer! Of course the firemen would know what to do! They rescue people all the time! Three people said “Amen” out loud and maybe the others didn’t mind, Nonny said.
They had all been in the elevator fifteen minutes now and outside of what Miss Loulou and the guy with the cell phone had been told when they called 911, they had not heard from anyone outside the elevator. The guy close to the buttons kept ringing the alarm from time to time. He had Nonny’s permission, you know!
All of a sudden, the elevator doors opened! Wow! There was a nice breeze of cool air. Firemen in their uniforms were on their knees, bent down looking into the elevator. It was between the fourth and fifth floors; so no one could just walk off. They all were going to have to be boosted up and pulled out!
Somebody said, “Let her go first,” meaning Miss Loulou as everybody had been looking her direction from time to time. Miss Loulou made her way to the front of the elevator and turned with her back toward the firemen. She put her feet in the palms of the hands of two fellows. They started pushing her up and the firemen pulled her up the rest of the way. Nonny got off next the same way and soon everyone was out of the elevator. Everyone was feeling relieved and very thankful that the firemen had rescued them.
Most everyone started toward the stairs to walk back down to the ground floor. The realtor lady who was going to show the fancy penthouse, hoping someone would buy it, looked very upset that all these people had been stuck in the elevator. She was surprised when Miss Loulou didn’t head for the stairs.
The pale scrunched-up Miss Loulou was now standing tall and ready to look at the luxury apartment. She said, “I didn’t go through all that torture of being in a cage with eleven other people for fifteen long, hot minutes and then not see the penthouse!”
“O, of course,” said the realtor lady. “Do you need to sit down first?” she asked; but Miss Loulou seemed to be fine and was already walking through the door of this really flashy place! Nonny said it has lots of tall glass windows that you can look through to see the busy city, the river, and the bridges below.
Nonny told me that she and Miss Loulou walked all over downtown that day and looked at a lot of other places to live, too. They used stairs instead of elevators to get up to some of the lofts. Lofts are another name for showy up-in-the-air places to live but maybe they are not on the very top of the building.
Nonny also told me she and Miss Loulou did get on an elevator or two when nobody else was around. She said if they were waiting for an elevator and other people walked up, Miss Loulou would say, “O, you go ahead. We have plenty of time. We’ll just take the next one!” Wonder why she would say that?
By Connie Carlisle Polley, 2018
With a Relaxing Read to Make You Chuckle