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Friday, November 14, 2008

Sycamore Canyon Fire - Take Tea

Funny how certain things stick in your mind when you are a kid. I remember the "Sycamore Canyon Fire" in 1977 like it was yesterday. Not that I ever saw any flames, we didn't live close enough, but I remember sitting under a huge cloud of smoke for days and watching the fire fighting efforts on the local news channel.

Houses burning in the Tea fire - November 13, 2008
I remember feeling really embarrassed and kind of dumb because I called up our swim club and asked them if they were open - I had heard the fire department on TV telling residents to use as little water as possible to keep the pressure up for the fire hoses - so I thought the club might be closed - and I wanted to go swimming.

"Yeah - why wouldn't we be open?" The guy had said in 1977.
"Uh.. OK, Thanks, Bye" I had said and hung up as quickly as I could without slamming down the phone.

The 11 year old me was mortified at having asked such a dumb question.

That is what was running through my 2008 brain as I stood on the balcony and watched the homes of at least two families go up in smoke. As tragedies go, our Santa Barbara fires are on the lesser end of the scale - the wealthy areas are the ones that get hit the hardest and people who live there know they are at risk - but I am sure that for those families who are presently watching their worldly possessions go up in smoke - it doesn't feel like that.

Some friends of ours most likely lost everything - they were only able to grab a few photos before they were forced to flee the encroaching flames.

That's what people take in such a situation - memories - the mementos of lives lived, family stories.

If nothing else, the light from those red hot fires lets you see with unusual clarity what is important and what is not. And a new generation of 11-year-olds is experiencing the events - from the terrible to the trivial - that they will remember 31 years from now, also with unusual clarity.

RH

Landscaping tips for the fire prone

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Retro, it's Llewyn from the Retro Housewife Forums. I don't know if you've gotten many complaints about this, but for some reason I haven't been able to get to the forums in days. I would have sent you a PM, but I can't even get to the main page of the forums to send messages to members. =(

Thanks for your time!

--Llewyn

Retro Housewife said...

OH NO! I WILL TRY AND FIX THAT ASAP!

Anonymous said...

Hi...I was reading some of your posts and wonderif the reason the woman at the senior home looked at you that way is because here in Maryland, the election board sends people to our nursing home 1st to see who wants to vote, and if they are capable, and then comes back another day for the election. It makes me insane because demented people who don't know whether green is blue or wet is dry and can't think of anything except a befuddled version of the year they were 10 years old and their mother threw the baby down the well (not really, but not far from the truth of it) are somehow considered by these 2 women from the election board to be perfectly capable of making an informed decision as to who should be president. Then on the day of our center's election, the same two women have each resident pushed into the room by a family member who is yelling in their ear OBAMA OBAMA! or MCCAIN MCCain! hoping that when the ladies ask the person will recognize the sound and grunt or something in agreement. It is ludicrous and disturbing, and it makes me crazy. We have probably 3 people out of the 20 or more that they deem suitable, who actually can say, yes, I am a democrat/republican, or yes, I know who I want to vote for. And of course I am totally in favor of them having their voices heard. But the rest of it is maddening. Thanks for listening! Bobbi

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much. I can finally get on. :)