Lorry Myers’ column has graced the pages of Missouri Life for many years. We read about her ups and downs. This column shows us how her love of family and her fear of elevators come together for a wild ride and a fortunate emergency brake.

High-Rise Heroine

By Lorry Myers

Love in the Elevator

We are the first of six children, four sisters born within five years. We survived hand-me-downs and hormones and hair rollers and now, here we are. Our children are grown and we are grown-ups and still we need each other.

My sisters are who I am.

With six children, our mother at 86 has many grandchildren and now great-grandchildren scattered around the country. Her most recent great-granddaughter was born in New York City.

That’s a long way from a small town in Missouri.

So, my sisters and I decided to take our mother to New York City to see the baby she thought she’d never see. We rented a condo two blocks from my niece’s Manhattan apartment. That way, we could load my mother into her wheelchair, and off we would go on a mother-daughter adventure.

Five crazy girls in the big city.

The only problem: our high-rise rental was on the 26th floor of a building with two elevators. Since I am slightly claustrophobic, elevators creep me out a bit. I typically avoid using one and will take the stairs when it is feasible, but climbing 26 floors is not feasible for me.

I had to get in that elevator.

Mother and daughters had a fantastic time in New York City. Much to my mom’s delight, we saw a Broadway play, ate interesting food, and kissed on a sweet baby girl. On our last night, we were out late and arrived at our condo tired and full of rich food and warm wine. As I reluctantly entered the elevator, I was grateful that this would be my last ride up to the 26th floor. Every day my sisters had teased me about my issues with elevators and my reluctance to ride, but still I followed them inside.

I’d follow them anywhere.

With four grown women and another in a wheelchair, we were shoulder to shoulder in that elevator car. I stood by the door in the corner practicing deep breathing as a sister poked button 26, and up we went. I focused on the floors as they lit up, silently counting them off.

When we hit floor 19, the elevator made a jarring noise and jerked in a way that quieted the other women’s chatter. Then, floor 19 quickly changed to floor 18 and then 17, 16, 15 …

The elevator was falling.

We were falling.

In that falling elevator were the most influential women in my life, the very heart of my family. We are proud women, strong in our faith and love for each other—love enough to fill up an elevator. Between us, we can move mountains and solve problems and rule the world if someone would let us. The women who surrounded me could do anything.

Anything but stop a falling elevator.

In stunned silence, we hit the 10th floor and again heard a terrible, grinding noise. With that, the elevator abruptly stopped and we forced the door open and scrambled out, kissing and clutching and clinging to each other. Later we would learn that the emergency brake had kicked in and stopped the free-falling car.

We like to think it was much more than the emergency brake.

This year, my three sisters and I will once again take my mother on an adventure. Who knows what we will get ourselves into, but no matter what, we will make lasting memories wherever we go.

We just won’t be going in an elevator.

Read another No Place Like Home column by Lorry here.

Article originally published in the August/September 2018  issue of Missouri Life.