California fire victims in need of help
My son Mac, his wife Jaime, their two daughters and their two dogs and two cats escaped from what is being called the worst fire in the history of California. They had what I thought was an idyllic life in Redwood Valley, a small rural town near Ukiah. The weather is temperate and their neighbors included the Frey Vineyards and people who brought pies over to welcome them to the neighborhood. Isabella started kindergarten this year and was thriving; Lourdes was attending nursery school at the college where Mac works.
But on Monday morning, Oct. 9, at 1:30 a.m., a fire roared down the mountain behind their home.
So many people have lost their homes in the fires that tent cities are popping up in fields and families are camping along the sides of roads. The shelters are full and so are all the local motels and hotels. This fire is an ugly, take-no-prisoners blaze. When it finishes destroying one area, it moves onto the next. It has taken lives, homes, farms, vineyards, beautiful forests, wildlife, and anything else it has been able to engulf in its malevolent flames. When it is done destroying, it leaves behind a pile of ashes. I believe if helicopters could fly over the area, all of America would see what has happened and be as shocked and sickened as I am.
My son and his family are lucky to be safe and alive. The chimney of their house is standing; everything else is gone. All their clothing, furniture, books, toys and food are gone. All the things you never think about have vanished: their toothbrushes, pots and pans, the kids’ art supplies, the dog beds, their camping gear, their lawn and garden equipment (and their lawn and garden). They got out of their house with a few possessions and luckily, their lives.
As you read this, sitting in a chair or on your sofa, perhaps drinking a glass of water, think of the thousands of people who no longer have that luxury. If you’ve watched the fires on TV in disbelief and thought what can I do to help, please donate to the Red Cross, a reputable charity that steps in to help people in need worldwide. If people ever needed assistance, it is those in Northern California, especially in Redwood Valley, who are suddenly homeless, many without relatives or resources.
Our family and our friends are generously helping my son and his family; some people do not have such a wonderful supportive network. What will happen next to all those who lost everything is a huge, unanswerable question, but as always, the Red Cross is there helping.
Karel Weir Lojowsky is a long-time Bay Village resident, wife of George, mother of three (MacAdam, Jesse, and Alexis), and grandmother to four outstanding gorgeous children (two local, two in California). She taught school for 32 years and most of her career was spent in the Cleveland PUblic Schools. Now retired, she enjoys reading, writing, her pets, and naturally, her family.