Sunday, October 21, 2007

Malibu is on fire, again. I grew up in Monte Nido, a tiny rural community nestled in Malibu Canyon, 10 minutes from the beautiful blue beach in Malibu. About an hour ago I heard that this community was under a mandated evacuation order, so I called my Dad who still lives there, in my childhood home. He and his wife were in the process of a hurried evacuation and couldn't stop to talk. I guess I'll find out if they burn up by watching it on the news along with everybody else.





Fires were not unusual when I was growing up - and in 1971 when the fire swept through our yard and burned our corral, we were evacuated. We crammed 3 peacocks, a cat (couldn't find the other one who was hiding under a bed), two dogs, (I cried when I learned that my Dad had deemed my 2 geese not important enough to bring along) 6 kids, 1 Grandma and 2 parents into 2 cars and drove around for hours. We put our horse in a neighbor's large corral along with all the other horses in the area. I remember parking along the creek by Tapia Park, and watching a tremendous firestorm 1/4 of a mile away turn the canyonside into a solid wall of fire. The heat was so intense we had to keep the windows rolled tightly shut - it's searing hotness making the windows warm to touch.

When we returned to our little hamlet many hours later, against the suggestion of all the fire people, I remember the audible gasp of relief from my Mom as she saw the green oak trees which surround our home still there. We had no electricity for a week, and camped out with the bbq, lanterns and candles, watching the entire side of Saddle Peak glow during the night with hotspots.






This morning I watched on the news with tears of sorrow in my eyes, as my beloved Malibu Presbyterian Church burned to the ground. The church has survived all of the fires through the past 50 years or more, having the landscaping burn right up against the building but never burning itself.

I was married in that church, as were 2 of my sisters. My 3 children and I were baptised there, and the many memories of ice cream socials, Christmas plays, Easter sunrise services over the beautiful pacific, overnights, and so many wonderful people, are flooding back. A few years ago, Malibu Pres held its 50 year reunion at the famous Malibu "Castle" and estate, (which also burned down today) whose owner was a member of the church. It is stunning to look at the profile of the beautiful mountains of Malibu, and see those two landmarks missing. I heard that the Malibu Animal Hospital also was destroyed... many more memories there as we took all of our animals there for treatment over the years. My heart goes out to all those who lost their homes or businesses.

21 comments:

jillie said...

Oh Terry, I am SO SO sorry to hear about the fires. I just feel heart sick for you. I hope and pray that your dad and his wife are ok and that their house survives the fire. We have them going on around down here as well. I just spoke with my friend, he's been evacuated. He had been watering his house all day. I always want to cry when I hear about these devastating fires.

Keep me posted ok?

luv ya!
xo

Anonymous said...

You would survive well in Australia ... can't count how many times I've packed the pets, photo albums and (yes potplants haha) to evacuate. It's fire season here now. I'll be thinking about your Dad and family/home with the very best wishes!!! It's difficult to describe how it feels to see memories go up in smoke but you have done really well posting, helping to keep them alive :)

Crazy Me said...

I have never had to deal with anything like that. We live in "tornado alley" and I thought that was bad but geesh.

Anonymous said...

Lemonade--We burned up these phones lines many years ago :-)

Tom & Icy said...

Fire has always been my greatest fear. Sorry to hear that. Makes me quiver.

actonbell said...

You've been through scary times. I hope things go as well as possible for your Dad & his wife, and I'm sorry to hear that the places of your childhood memories are being destroyed. This is very sad and upsetting {{Terry}}

ariel said...

Oh dear, it's terrible that you see your childhood place burning down. I wish the best to your Dad and his wife!!

ariel said...

Tell us if the oak trees are still there.

Jodes said...

oh lord - fires there too? WOW - My friends in Ramona were evac'd last night. I hope the fire misses your family home. stay strong and safe. hugs

jeff@sally said...

I wonder if Mom's story is anywhere to be found. The I forgot the goose story. :) She loved to tell about that event. I know all about it even though I was only around 1. And Las Virgenes School District is still open!!! Go figure. Nothing closes those schools!

lime said...

i'm so sorry. i'ts so hard to see a meaningful place destroyed.

Nessa said...

These fires are just devastating.

Kelly said...

Sally, you are so right about those school! I can remember the fire that Terry described back in 1971. I was in 4th grade at A.E. Wright when it was both elementary and middle school. They moved us down to air conditioned class rooms, those mobile ones back closer to where they parked the buses. When I went out ('cause Mom came to get us in the packed blue & white harvester), all the hills were burned right across the field, but school went right on. I crammed in the back with the animals in cages and remember sitting under the tree on Piuma waiting and waiting, feeling like I should be crying, but mostly just numb. Later we went home, and even later, when we went back down Piuma, the tree that we had been sitting beneath was all burned up. And we found Jinxy safe in the laundryroom cupboard where he always went to hide out and sleep. :D

Toby said...

I wish you and yours the best.

RED MOJO said...

How sad, I'm so sorry about your church. It is so hard to watch a place that is such an important part of your life, be destroyed. I hope your childhood home evades the fire, and they get it under control very soon.

Autumn Storm said...

Terry, so relieved to hear your father and his wife are okay! Echoing the above in a earnest hope that the fires are under control soon. Take care!

javajazz said...

i'm sorry Terry...
beautiful memories
gone up in smoke.
fire is horrible and
unpredictable...
i pray for safety
of your loved ones
and everyone.
i did a pendulum prayer
and shifting
for the sanata ana winds
asking them to die down
and for rain.
its all you can hope for.
xoxo

Minka said...

I remember driving with my brother through our childhood area. All the places that seemed so huge to us as children, were actually tiny areas. What seemed a kingdom turned into a village. But walking there, brought back all those nostalgic, touching and lovign memories...so I can only imagine how looking at your childhood in flame is touching your head and makes your head spin with memories. But it seems to me, you alreayd took quite lasting impressions from that place!

Doug said...

Fire is a rude way of saying "everything is temporary." I'm sorry for your losses and I hope your family is ok. If it helps, as of last night no one had been injured in that particular fire.

15,000 people and two dogs were evacuated in Santa Clarita.

tsduff said...

Thank you ever so much EVERYBODY for your kind thoughts and comments. Jillie - I'm so glad you have opened your home to everyone displaced by the fire - I think being with people can sometimes help minimize the horror. I am hoping for the best - although I've heard nothing today at all about the north side of the Malibu/Canyon fire, or how far it has progessed back up the canyon. Lisa - thanks for the prayers for shifting winds... I think rain is in the forecast at the end of this week. I wish safety for all of you and your loved ones, for those who are in or near one of the fire zones. I feel so helpless and useless up north while all this horror is playing out down south. I know that buildings can be rebuilt - but people can't be replaced.

Djaddi said...

Sorry about your childhood area burning down :(... It sucks having "your" landmarks being destroyed. I hope the fires will subside soon.