Thankful

On this Thanksgiving Day, 2018, I am thankful for firefighters.  I am thankful for the neighbors and guards in my community who risked their lives to save homes.  Who saved my home.

I could go into minute detail about what it was like to see the beginnings of the Woolsey Fire from the top of my hill and I instantly knew “This isn’t going to go well”.  About rushing through my house, packing, knowing I had three hours before the sheriff came through, getting us out as the fire raged towards Calabasas.  What it was like to stay in a mid century modern motel in Burbank with other evacuees from Agoura Hills, Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks for five days, watching the news, checking Twitter and Facebook to know what was happening.  The horror of the images of what the Woolsey Fire did to whole neighborhoods, wiping out homes in fancy and not so fancy communities, altering people’s lives forever.

I could tell you about the punch in my gut when I finally was allowed to return to my home with my dog and saw the devastation of my city.  What it was like to see the entire hill my property sits on completely burned out and how close the fire came to my home.  I could show you images I took of burned houses and melted fences, torched trees.  But I can’t.  I cannot cross that boundary.  It doesn’t feel right.

So on this Thanksgiving Day, 2018 I am giving you firefighters.  Because they are who I’m truly thankful for.

Calabasas, California

4 thoughts

  1. I can only imagine how terrifying and soul-destroying this experience is for you. I hope your community can rebuild, though never forget. Kia Kaha — stand strong.

  2. Wonderful tribute! I hope you and your family have a blessed Thanksgiving.

    Sent from my iPhone All the best Dr. Laurie Bulkeley

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    • Thank you. Actually, you can’t imagine what it was like. In reality, I wasn’t here! Not really. I left. I left and went to Burbank where I watched it on television and checked our neighborhood Facebook page and watched #woolseyfire on Twitter just to keep up with what was going on. It was a video that someone posted on Facebook that a firefighter had taken of the out-of-control flames burning around my neighborhood and torching the street that leads to it that was disturbing. Then hearing reports that a house four doors down was in flames and I thought, “Well, here we go.” Once one catches, it simply moves from house to house. Strangely, however, I was resigned to the fact that I was going to lose my house and was okay with it. Would I want to? No. Would I be okay if I did? Sure. I’d be just fine. It’s simply stuff. By the way, that house four doors down was not in flames. Only one home in the neighborhood was lost.

      It was when I actually came home that I saw the ravaged hills, burned homes and businesses. Talking with the people in the neighborhood who had stayed behind to fight the fire, some nearly becoming engulfed in flames that impacted me. The story from the man who stocks the dairy section of my supermarket I think was the most surreal. Everything was burning around the market. Everything. The firefighters were panicking, winds blowing smoke and flames everywhere, the parking lot filled with evacuees and everyone was trapped. No, you don’t know what it’s like unless you are there. I wasn’t. But now I’m dealing with the aftermath of having the insurance adjuster come because there is damage, burned landscaping, melted irrigation, scorched fencing, smoke damage on and inside the house. And then all of the vultures circling, like emergency services wanting your business and attorneys sending flyers wanting to suck you up into a vortex of class action lawsuits against Southern California Edison… I don’t like that.

      But I have a home, and I will be eternally grateful for that.

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