A New Year in the Neighborhood

fireworks
    Neighborhoods form their own personalities. I don’t know who started the cycle in our watershed—which person reached out and did a little more and her neighbor in turn helped someone else—but we have a wonderful place to live. We have our own small (10 kid!) community school that my husband went to when he was a boy, that I taught at for years, and my littlest goes to now. We have a volunteer fire company with new trucks and our own EMT! We even have a group that keeps the road in good condition. Other people tell me how lucky I am to live in such an exceptional community but I don’t have to be told, I see it in action.
    Last night, many gazed up at fireworks cascading down into the yard of one household on our hill. My neighbors understand that gathering together creates warm feelings that translate into great communities that get work done (and, besides, it’s fun to hang out!).
    Our area attracts people like these–people who grab a shovel and start digging if that’s what needs to happen. They don’t stand around waiting for someone else to do the work. These neighbors have a yearly firework bash on New Year’s Eve that lights up the sky for everyone to see. They not only fundraise for, but are part of, the volunteer fire department. They are always willing to lend a hand. Their house is point central for the phone tree if anything goes wrong.
    I remember, as the fire two years ago swept over the mountain in front of our house, standing shaking in the driveway, buckling my littlest one into a car seat to be taken down the hill for safety as my husband and older sons frantically set up a pump to fight the fire. This wonderful neighbor called me gathering information to relay to others about how close the danger is and where the volunteer firemen need to be. Her voice expressed what her family (and this community) delivers—“We’ll be there if you need us.”
    On New Year’s Day, I’m not only celebrating the New Year but I’m loving living in a neighborhood with people who give a damn.
  • Laytonville Rock
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15 comments

  • How could I forget the fires that ravaged Southern Humboldt two years ago? It didn’t even occur to me that you might have experienced that terror. What a wonderful place to live where others lend a hand.
    That must have been so scary.
    Beautiful fireworks.

  • How could I forget the fires that ravaged Southern Humboldt two years ago? It didn’t even occur to me that you might have experienced that terror. What a wonderful place to live where others lend a hand.
    That must have been so scary.
    Beautiful fireworks.

  • We were the houses on the front line. The fun part was being interviewed by the tv news and the newspapers. The scary part was watching the flames pour over the hill. They had a fire engine parked in our front yard for a day or two.
    I wrote about it here
    http://kymk.wordpress.com/2007/10/23/fire-in-the-heart/

    But not only were the neighbors wonderful, the fire crews who left their homes and came up were very nice too.

  • We were the houses on the front line. The fun part was being interviewed by the tv news and the newspapers. The scary part was watching the flames pour over the hill. They had a fire engine parked in our front yard for a day or two.
    I wrote about it here
    http://kymk.wordpress.com/2007/10/23/fire-in-the-heart/

    But not only were the neighbors wonderful, the fire crews who left their homes and came up were very nice too.

  • Ten kids in the entire school? That is amazing.

  • It was fun being the teacher. One year I had Kids from Kindergarden through 6th grade and two of them were my sons. I also had an aide so while there was a long span of ages. We were able to be very personal with each kid. Its the same now they have two teachers one for k-2 and one for 3-4 so the kids get lots of individual help.

  • It was fun being the teacher. One year I had Kids from Kindergarden through 6th grade and two of them were my sons. I also had an aide so while there was a long span of ages. We were able to be very personal with each kid. Its the same now they have two teachers one for k-2 and one for 3-4 so the kids get lots of individual help.

  • That’s a great photo Kym.

  • That’s a great photo Kym.

  • Thanks, I’m still learning how to photograph fireworks. I spent most of the night using the wrong settings but I’m getting better.

  • Thanks, I’m still learning how to photograph fireworks. I spent most of the night using the wrong settings but I’m getting better.

  • Kym

    I went to the page of your blog about the fire that came close to overrunning you. As a volunteer firefighter I was stationed along with the Redway Fire Dept at the Eel River Con Camp. We were “Landing Zone Safety, Rescue, and Fire Suppression” for the dozens of helicopters that were based there.

    I noticed that the photo that you used of the burning hollow tree was credited to Estelle Fennell.

    Estelle was valuable beyond description to the people of that were involved in the fire operation. She was able to relay to the folks in the hills, where the fire was happening, exactly what the fire crews were doing. If any information was needed to be sent out to the residences, it was instantly put on the KMUD news station. She was tireless, and dedicated, to all of us through this very dire emergency.

    Because of her noticeable dedication to our community she was elected as Garberville’s Citizen of the Year. C.D.F and most of the fire departments were in attendance at her award banquet, to thank her, and give her plaques to record her service to us.

    We performed noticeably better here in the hills than they did at the Katrina hurricane. We didn’t wait for FEMA to take care of us, we took care of ourselves, and we should be proud of that. Thanks to you Kym and people that live in “your community”, we are outstanding.

  • Kym

    I went to the page of your blog about the fire that came close to overrunning you. As a volunteer firefighter I was stationed along with the Redway Fire Dept at the Eel River Con Camp. We were “Landing Zone Safety, Rescue, and Fire Suppression” for the dozens of helicopters that were based there.

    I noticed that the photo that you used of the burning hollow tree was credited to Estelle Fennell.

    Estelle was valuable beyond description to the people of that were involved in the fire operation. She was able to relay to the folks in the hills, where the fire was happening, exactly what the fire crews were doing. If any information was needed to be sent out to the residences, it was instantly put on the KMUD news station. She was tireless, and dedicated, to all of us through this very dire emergency.

    Because of her noticeable dedication to our community she was elected as Garberville’s Citizen of the Year. C.D.F and most of the fire departments were in attendance at her award banquet, to thank her, and give her plaques to record her service to us.

    We performed noticeably better here in the hills than they did at the Katrina hurricane. We didn’t wait for FEMA to take care of us, we took care of ourselves, and we should be proud of that. Thanks to you Kym and people that live in “your community”, we are outstanding.

  • Ernie,
    Estelle and KMUD news were wonderful. She went out of her way to attend neighborhood meetings and not just to report the news but to inform us of what she knew. Everyone that I know had the radio on at all times to keep abreast of what was happening. I remember how impressed I was at the coverage–It felt like our community had a big News Department instead, it was frequently just Estelle. I remember at one meeting she got asked if she ever slept and she replied saying something about she had had like 4 hours sleep in the last 48 hrs. (I don’t remember the exact figures but I was awed by her dedication!

  • Ernie,
    Estelle and KMUD news were wonderful. She went out of her way to attend neighborhood meetings and not just to report the news but to inform us of what she knew. Everyone that I know had the radio on at all times to keep abreast of what was happening. I remember how impressed I was at the coverage–It felt like our community had a big News Department instead, it was frequently just Estelle. I remember at one meeting she got asked if she ever slept and she replied saying something about she had had like 4 hours sleep in the last 48 hrs. (I don’t remember the exact figures but I was awed by her dedication!

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