Letter 1 - To William and Peter Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   

To William and Peter (my two sons)
Written four days after the fire, on the night we found one of our cats.


Dear William and Peter:

I wanted to write to you as part of my Tea Fire Anthology and tell you how proud I am of both of you.  I know that 2008 was not an easy year and life has not been a very level balance beam, more like a wild rollercoaster ride.  You have handled the stress and the two new homes with amazing grace.  You have managed your schoolwork, club soccer, and all your other extracurricular activities including your violin and drum lessons.  On top of all of that you have done a fantastic job of getting to school early for your Mallet Masters, Vibes, and Math Counts.  On top of that, you are thoughtful, kind and honest. There is nothing more that I can ask of you.  I am so very, very proud of both of you. 

I remember the fun time that you both had last summer when we decided to spray paint the garage door that led into the study.  We bought all kinds of colors and you created an incredible masterpiece.  You had such a blast that day.  What is ironic on the day of the fire, after school that same day, we went to the craft store to pick up some materials for one of Peter’s English projects and we decided to buy canvases so that you could do some more graffiti art.  We didn’t buy more paint that day and had planned to use the leftover paint cans in the garage.  After the craft store, we dropped Peter off at soccer practice.  Normally I would have picked up Peter at 6:00pm from soccer, but for some reason practice was scheduled until 6:30pm. William and I went home to go on a short run.  It was a really hot day, very hot for November.  It was also especially windy.  William and I left the house about five that afternoon and headed up Coyote with Aro.  We decided to turn left on Mountain Drive, passing the fire sign that was pointed to either high or extreme.  It definitely felt like fire weather, but it had rained the week before so I was hoping the fire season had ended.  It was a little less windy on Mountain Drive and William and I ran to the infamous bicycle butt mailbox that day and got home about 5:35.

William was on the computer and I may have been checking my e-mail messages, too, when our friend Ann Fristoe called to ask me if I could see a fire out the back door.  She was on her way to her house that directly faced the Tea Gardens.  I stepped outside and it was huge, a roaring fire.  I called your dad to have him pick up Peter and then William and I scrambled to pack whatever we could - lucky for us that we had on our running clothes and shoes.  We packed for almost an hour.  Aro was in his crate in the garage while we packed to keep him out of the way, but safe.  At the very end of our packing, I found Einstein.  She was the last edition to the car that night.  We had to leave our other kitty, Midnight behind.  We had no idea what would happen to her.  How could she possibly have survived the ferocious fire that night?  The next morning we were pretty sure that we had lost our homes, including dad’s, too.  I was able to sneak up to the property late on Friday.  I parked my car at the bottom of Barker Pass and ran up to see the devastation. I found out the truth that night. Our house was gone, but not the memories and also remember that.  You never lose the memories.  There was also no sign of Midnight.

Saturday, I received a call from our neighbor Sunny, letting me know that she thought she had seen Midnight.  Fortunately, for the Robinson’s they did not lose their home, but they had a tremendous amount of smoke damage.  They did have an extra kitty litter and food that they had placed on the sidewalk that had led to our front door for Midnight.  We went to the house on Saturday and again on Sunday.  On Monday afternoon, we borrowed spray paint from Crane’s art teacher, Gretel Huglin Ridge, put the canvases that we had bought on the day of the fire in the car and drove up to Coyote again, planning to spray paint while at the same time hoping that we might find signs of Midnight. 

The property was a mess, but what fun to place the canvases on the grass and not care if we ruined the grass.  It was already charred, so a little spray paint was not going to cause anymore damage.  You guys seem to enjoy spray painting the canvases, the trees, and the ground. We should probably buy Crane some more spray paint since we used quite a bit that day.  Your canvases truly represent the emotions we were feeling that day.  The brilliant reds, blacks and golds all blended together to create your own art symbolizing how we were feeling.  Just as we finished and started to clean up as the sun was sinking lower in the sky - who should appear?  Midnight!  Do you remember how Midnight appeared on the far side of the property, near where the hot tub stood and where the fence with the honeysuckle had been.  I can picture Midnight slowly sauntering along the property line and coming closer to us.  What was she thinking?  I was wondering if she was mad at us for deserting her.  There was no way for us to find her on the night of the fire.  That was her nature – the mysterious Midnight.

I slowly approached Midnight, fearing that she might skirt away again, but she stayed and let me pick her up.  I had a crate in the  car which was not what she was wishing for.  We could reunite Aro and Einstein in Michelle’s guest house. It was such a good feeling to know that Midnight had survived.  We figured she must have found shelter at the Robinson’s house.  I can picture her sitting in the open carport looking over at our house.  Her big black eyes captured the entire scene that night and only she knows where she hid that night.

I am looking forward to taking you to the craft store to buy some more canvases and spray paint so that you can have some more fun on the property to create art for your bedrooms.  You haven’t been up there in a while to see that some of the plants are coming back.  Many of the trees are gone, but some day they will flourish again.

Your art will forever remind us of the day that we reunited with Midnight.  Thank you for coming with me to Coyote Road that day.  You are my heroes.
I love you both with all my heart and soul.
Hugs and kisses, Mom

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