Monday, September 14, 2015

Fire and Family

Fire and Family

On the blog Ancestor Seekers by the Root Bound- Information for Fall, I posted a link to saving documents by a company.

But it stares us in the face, "Have you saved Your DOCUMENTS, PHOTO"S etc ?"

Ironically, I was exposed to fire before the age of 5 as the flames crept up the hill towards my favorite tree about 5 in the evening.  It came from over the hill and thankfully it was put out before it was into the buildings and our homes.  I remember standing and watching them in the window. Morelli's, my Uncle's Dairy ranch Ollimac Diary. on road to Pt Reyes from Petaluma about 18 miles out?

Again when I was at our next home, a dairy, chicken ranch, Dad was a Milker and Ranch hand.
Mom candled the eggs with the owners wife in the evenings. Moretti's. on west side of Petaluma, Ca going to Point Reyes out of Petaluma.  About 7 miles out of town.  I was 7 + years maybe 8 at the time.

When those flames came up over the hills into the trees and started down the west side it was like a freight train.  At first I did not believe what I saw. I ran into the house and told MOM who then had me go to the Barn and tell the Milkers (Dad, etc).  Mom drove to house above us, for help and they called the  other neighbors to tell them it was headed their way.  The fireman were able to stop it before it burned the barn and candling house and our home and garage.  They went across the ditch and set up a perimeter between us and the fire.  The wind was wiping it more west ward along the ridge but it would creep down at times and head towards the main part of the ranch.  They lost 4 chicken buildings. They were long buildings and wide with laying hens in them.  I think there was 8 others not damaged.  But the chickens backed off on eggs and the cows backed off on milk production big time.  We then got a phone.  That  fire started on the back side of San Rafael.

We moved then after much searching for a different home.  We ended up in Valley Ford, CA.
Two of the ranchers on the other side (near Morelli's) had moved also to this region into Bloomfield, CA. Atkinson's and Fred Zimmerman's.  We were about 5 miles apart and we used to ride bikes back and forth to each others homes.  I also rode my horse over a couple times to Bloomfield.  I had grown up with the Atkinson children and the Zimmerman children along with my cousins the Morelli's.. They were also affected by both of these fires.

We had a couple small fire skirmishs in the school yard after 1948 (when we moved there) a couple years in a row and the Board of Trustees finally got the grass cut so our fence did not get burned.  The school was my front yard. We had several acres and the  road run down the side of the school grounds to our home.

I married and moved away in fall of 1959.  We had moved in in 1948 just as school had started.

In 1961, my parents were celebrating their Anniversary at Dinucci's and boys set fire to the grass by the railroad berm. Dad had just completed the Grade A Dairy and inspection was to be the next day.

The fire roared into action and wiped out the new barn, never used, Cement mind you, the feed barns, the chicken, pig and calve pens.  The firemen did a gallant stand and saved their home.  We have always had a Volunteer Fire Department there. So it was our neighbors both near and far and 4-H families from near and far that fought the blaze. The 1848 barn  near the county road was saved, our we would have lost several more homes across the street.

For years, every time you stepped on a spot you had not already stepped, ash would fly up. Even at the time of clearing Mom's home we had ash particles in her upper closets, I bet we had cleaned  them at least 5 times before. 2012.

Neighbors helped them empty house into trucks and cars but we lost a few things.  But no lives were lost.

My first trip home after the fire,  consisted full of massive allergy pills to breathe and the amazement of the silting ash everywhere no matter how you cleaned.  This was at Thanksgiving.1961. As I said in 2012 we still were sifting ash, in drawers, cupboards and various shelves.

We traveled to many places and then back to San Diego.  When we bought our home it was clean, new and as a just developed area no Fire Department. Not even Volunteer.

Before we moved in, in the fall (1970) fire came screaming from the east and literally was stopped by the Cal Fire and other units before our new, (not moved into home) was not burned. It took us almost a week to clean 3+ inches of ash out of the house before we could move in.

We stood on the front yard, porch area of our house we rented on Palomar  St. CV(apartments there now) and watched the fire come over the hills heading south west towards our home and the bottom of Chula Vista.  We learned the next day they stopped the fire on what is today Firethorn St.

 In later years we were at our dear friends who helped us move, who helped us watch that fire, in 1970, almost have fire consume their home in Spring Valley. We had gone to have a BBQ.  Suddenly we looked up the hill in their back yard to see smoke then see flames. Mrs or Mr. Austin called in the Fire Department and our children grabbed water hoses and started spraying the lower part of the hill. Someone opened the gate and the Fire men and truck went up to the edge of the fence and their big power hoses shot higher up the hill and stopped the fire.  Ice plant run along the chain link fence line.

That fire took many homes on the other side of the hill.

I did not mention the fires we experienced with the cotton fields in Lemoore but it was a smoke issue then.

So for our children who do not remember,  and were not yet born. Here is an mini update on some of the Fires I have been experienced with.

Send your special pictures via copy to another family member some where else. Do the same for the special documents. Thumbdrive, disc, cloud anything.  Please do not loose the past by not taking care of the now, for the future.

I have found I have pictures of Aunt Bethel Jones Coopers' children family.  My Aunt and Uncle lost much of their home many years ago. I am now trying to catch up with Aubie Dee, David, James, Little Bethel and Aden  Cooper and get these pictures to them.  I suspect the pictures came from what they shared with (Her MOM) my Grandmother because Dad was given the pictures.  Or maybe from another Great Aunt that they shared with that Dad got the pictures from. I know my Aunt told me they lost their pictures in that fire in their home.. I had sent her some long ago. Now she passed this spring and I am attempting to find all the children for them to become the keeper of the treasurers.

Aubie Dee Cooper Jr.  You took your first steps walking to me and I have pictures for you.

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