I immediately hung up and tried to call 911. It took me three tries. I kept hitting the wrong keys on my phone. When the lady answered I explained that I was calling about a possible drowning in Lake Murray. She sounded disinterested and said she had already had many calls. I said, “It is my husband”. She perked up. She wanted to know his name and his age and what he was wearing. I gave her the information and she said to hang up, the rescuers were on the way.
Having my hip replaced only three weeks prior, I could not bend over to put on shoes so I grabbed a red canvas pair of slip ons. I remember thinking, “Ray would be so embarrassed to see me.” I had on aqua clam diggers, white pressure hose and these red canvas shoes that were half on. As I hurried down stairs to direct the rescue truck I was screaming at God. “No God, No. Please no. Don’t let this be true. I really need him. Please God, don’t let this be happening”. I got to the door as the rescuers were passing the house. I got out to the driveway as they passed in the other direction. Even though I waved at them they went on down the road. But my neighbor was coming home and she asked me what had happened. I told her that I thought Ray had drown. That was the beginning.
Before I could turn around my house was full of people. All, and I mean all, of my neighbors came to my house. They were in the living room, the kitchen and the porches. They were the most caring people I have ever known. I am a very independent and controlling person and these people were taking over my house. They were serving water and waiting on everyone. I kept feeling like I needed to take care of them. They were guests in my house. It was very strange, but comforting. I can never express enough gratitude to these wonderful people who were so supportive in those moments.
Next came the children and grandchildren. The rescuers had dismissed them from the lake and sent them all to the house. I will never forget my grandchildren shaking with sobs as they slowly walked up the hill from the lake. Too young to be a part of this horrible tragedy. Our beautiful day had suddenly turned to be an unreal and unthinkable event. It was happening too fast. I could not breathe. I could not find anything that I could do. My chest was tight. I could not think. I was in a panic.