****Update: Our friends have rented a large farmhouse. I've been busy soliciting donations from local businesses and people and trying to help get them set up in a home again. Tomorrow they will begin moving in to the new house. It's been quite an experience and I've been touched by people's compassion and generosity. One woman called me today who had lost her 1 yo in a fire and wanted to help them by sending some clothes.
As many of you homeschoolers will know, the loss of their books and homeschooling materials was very hard. When you take years to build a home library and watch it all burn in minutes, it is very disheartening to say the least. Clothes and other household items are the first to come in, but not everyone can appreciate the need for books. If any of you would like to buy amazon gift cards so they can begin replacing their lost books, you can do this online and send it to my email address - firstname.lastname@example.org . I am trying to get things together for them as soon as possible because I know they will appreciate doing something "normal" with some old familiar book-friends.
This evening I watched my dear friend's home burn. Nearly every possession that was dear to her is gone. All of her pictures, heirlooms, books, clothing, dishes...everything. We watched it go even though many firefighters worked hard to save what they could. I thank God that no lives were lost and that no one was hurt but it was still hard watching it burn.
And I thank God that my son left his shoes at their house and that I suggested Priscilla go over there this evening to retrieve them.
You see, Priscilla bought a new car today and wanted to take her brothers for a ride. So I suggested she go get her brother's shoes from my friend's house where he left them a couple of days ago. The family was resting after a hard day's work in the yard. My friend was dozing in a chair, while five of her children were watching cartoons and some of them were dozing too. (Her oldest 12yoson was away.) They awoke to Priscilla knocking at the door. After getting the shoes for her, some of them came out the front door to the driveway to see her car. One of the boys came through the walk-out basement out to the driveway and he saw that there was a fire in their basement, where he had just been a few minutes before to fetch the sought-after shoes, but there was no fire then. He ran outside and told his mom.
My friend ran in to wake her husband, who was sleeping in their basement bedroom (with no windows). He ran through the fire and when he came outside he tried to open the garage door when flames leaped out and singed his hair. (Their garage was a part of the walk-out basement) Two of the children who were still in the house came out right away. Within minutes smoke was pouring out of the upstairs windows. The children were put into Priscilla's car and she drove them to the neighbors.
911 was called. Neighbors were called. We were called. I could see the smoke very soon after we left our house. By the time I got there fire trucks were everywhere but the flames were consuming the house. The majority of the roof was gone. We sat on the grass and watched in shock. Over and over we thought about if Priscilla had not come over and disturbed them and asked them to come outside to see her car, her husband would very possibly have been trapped in the back corner of the basement. And possibly other loss of life. It happened so fast.
I am very sober tonight with the thought of how quickly our lives can be changed. And at how many little things came together and affected the sequence of events. I was so irritated that my son had left those shoes there. And now I am so grateful. SO VERY GRATEFUL.