Monday, October 22, 2007

There's More Out There Than Malibu

I'll be the first to admit that I'm not overly impressed with celebrities. Perhaps it has to do with growing up in the L.A. area where every waiter was really an actor, where parents of classmates made their living in the film industry, and where you get so sick of hearing about celebrities that you want to hurl.

So I would like to remind my dear readers that, when it comes to the horrific fires in California, there are many people who aren't millionaires who are doing their share of suffering.

People like Momma Bluebird.

Momma Bluebird is retired and lives in a charming little cowboy town called Ramona, in San Diego County. This is a town with Title I schools, with residents who barely make minimum wage, with retirees and veterans who've saved to retire out here, and a few folks who have the money to live in Country Estates. (Keep in mind that a "half a million dollar" house in this area is equal to about $200,000 in most of the country.) Momma Bluebird tutors at a local school with kids who probably wouldn't get a meal if it wasn't for the nutrition department of the local school.

I knew when the Santa Anas were setting off fires in Malibu that it was simply a matter of time before Mom was affected. Four years ago the Cedar fire ran through her area and she was darned lucky she didn't lose her house (some neighbors did). By mid-afternoon Momma Bird had called and said that their luck had worn out, that there was a fire between Ramona and Julian and she was packing - just in case. Later that evening they were given a mandatory evacuation order and she packed up Kitty and headed out. (I have to give a big cyber-hug to her neighbor, the retired fire chief, who made sure she was okay, packed and had him follow his family out the single road that gets you out of her neighborhood. What a guy.)

She headed into Ramona to her friend's house, where she rode out the Cedar fire, only to get there in time to find out the whole town was being evacuated. Her friend loaded up her dogs and horses and headed out to Del Mar (this is a very horsey area), and Momma Bluebird found her way to a Red Cross Shelter. She's lost track of most of her other friends so it's just Kitty and Momma Bluebird (and her knitting) right now hanging out at the shelter.

She said it's a little weird and there's "people like your student Scratchy here." Great. She does have a cot, thanks to the National Guard, and a place to stay, thankfully. One of my old college sorority sisters emailed me and offered her a place to stay in Laguna but Momma Bluebird is afraid to leave because they keep closing roads and she doesn't want to get stuck anywhere.


So I'm here in My Beloved South, trying to teach my kids and worrying about my Momma Bluebird at the same time. Rough Day for me, but worse for her.

Keep all these folks in your prayers. They aren't all rich and famous celebrities...many are hard working blue collar folks who live pay check to pay check. And now, they might be burned out.


Wendy said...

This is Wendy from the American Red Cross in DC. I ran across your post this morning looking for news about the fires and just wanted to say that I hope Momma Bluebird stays safe. I'll be thinking about both of you.

Ms M. said...

I'll keep your mom in my thoughts, keep us posted.