Sunday, November 16, 2008

Memories - Sylmar California

November 16 - You may do as you wish without fear of retribution. It may serve you, however, to be aware of consequences. Consequences are results. Natural outcomes. These are not at all the same as retributions or punishments. Meditations from Conversations with God, Book 1, page 42
I pulled this headline from Sundays news from from the San Fernando Valley, Ca. The headline "SYLMAR MOBILE HOME PARK DEVASTATED BY FIRE" With 600 households, well-manicured lawns and luxury amenities, Oakridge Mobile Home Park was no trailer park.
The gate community, most of which was reduced to ash by a roaring wildfire that swept through Symar hills late Friday and early Saturday, featured a putting green, an Olympic-size swimming pool and tennis courts. It wasn't just a mobile home park, it was the Beverly Hills of mobile homes.
Oakridge Mobile Home Park was my home for the four years before I returned to Houston in 2004. Of all the many houses I have had over the years, this house was my most favorite. The house was a three bedroom, 2 path home in 1848 square feet. It had a utility room, formal living and dining rooms and a family room that connected to a lovely kitchen with a breakfast area. The home was all electric. I bought some of the furniture I have today to fit that house. I have very few small pieces. I am not bragging just telling it like it is. I love the home I have today but my mobile home in the Sylmar Hills is by far my favorite of all time.
I celebrated my 10th year of sobriety in that house. I celebrated my 60th Birthday in that house. I had great neighbors whom I knew and talked and visited with. It was a very quiet neighborhood. The park was very strict in the colors you could paint your home and any and all additions, major changes, and landscaping had to be approved by the park management. All of the roofs had to be the same medium brown shingles that had a special treatment to have a continuity in design. These homes were from 1100 square feet to 4200 square feet. This may seem like a pain in the ass, but it was designed to keep the property values. I had a very nice, but small back yard, fenced and Dolly just loved to play out back. It was not unusual to see deer, or rabbits, foxes, or other wild animals wondering through the park. I had 36 rose bushes that I had to do very little to except keep them fed and watered. I loved my home and my intentions was to live there until I was boxed and planted.
However, that was not to be. I was on medical leave from March 26 2002 until I was medically retired in July 2004. With my new fixed income, it was apparent that I could no longer enjoy my beloved home in Sylmar. I put it on the market and it sold in one day. There was a 30 day escrow and that just sailed through. Seven days before the close there was another fire that came within two blocks of the park. The streets were covered with white powder, it looked like snow. Rather an eerie sight to see in the first week of August in 110 heat. I was very shaky during that fire and we were put on evacuation notice and then the winds just stopped and we were spared. The following week, the movers came, packed me up and I drove away from that home on Friday, August 13, 2004.
I spent the night at my friend's Dana that night. He lived around the corner on the street down the hill from me. And I left there on Saturday August 14, 2004. Dana sold his place in June of 2005 and Moved to Maine. He called me yesterday and told me about the fire. I was wrapped up in the CNN and MSNBC news for a good bit of yesterday. I did see my former home on tv yesterday and it was burning. I was just heartsick. Early this afternoon Dana called and told me about the internet story so I logged on and we went to the photo site. We looked at the photos together and commented on the various pictures, that was where so and so lived and that is where the clubhouse was, etc. Then we got to the aerial photos and he located his old house. His whole street survived the inferno. The street behind his home was my street and the first three houses on the right side of the street were gone. The first few houses across the street were gone. My house was the third house from the corner. GONE.
I cried a few tears, my stomach was in a knot, and then I felt a calm knowing that what I was looking at was my past. A so called wreckage of my past. Looking at the houses that were left standing I compared it to when I got sober. There was this terrible last weekend of drinking and then I had my moment of clarity and have almost 17 years of sobriety. Looking at that picture just brought it all into perspective. The block after block of total destruction and then at my old house the destruction ended and a row of houses sort of represented the new experiences, strength and hope I have found in Alcoholics Anonymous. I'm not being a Drama Queen, just telling it like it is. I have my memories of those days in Sylmar Cal. I feel for all those people that lost their homes, many of them I never knew, and many of them I did know. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of them. The park will probably rebuild just as it did after the Northridge Earthquake of 1994 and there will be new people to enjoy the beauty of a very special neighborhood.
God has blessed me and I know He will bless them.
Tonight I am Grateful for:
God, my Higher Power.
My Sobriety.
Mamie, my schnauzer.
My sponsor.
Experience Strength and Hope from last nights Speaker at Lambda.
Dinner with Daave and Rick
My friends.
A wonderful week with Larry.
Y'all be pretty now, ya heah.


J-Online said...

I'm sorry to hear about your beloved house but am impressed at the memories you have of it. I couldn't describe the house I've owned for the past five ysars (and still do today) with such good recollection and memory. You deescrbed what waas one a wonderful and beatuful experience in your life and the memories will be thete forever. I'm glad you are ok

big Jenn said...

I'm sorry about the fire. Thanks for the feedback. I look foward to more.P.S. Menatal illness is a terrible thing. I've worked with many people who are as tormented by it as our friend MP. He suffers more than you, or I know. His terrible words are an extention of that suffering. jeNN

Scott W said...

That is some big square footage for mobile homes! Glad you made it outta there.

dAAve said...

... the journey continues.

AlkySeltzer said...

Zane, those are sorrowful moments--to see the places you loved burning...burning. You wrote so well, in describing your thoughts and feelings. Thank you.

Patrick David has visited me also, but so far he cannot get past "Mail Washer", which monitors all mail before it appears on my own computer.

It is an HONOR to be attacked by one like Patricl M David, because it means you are on the right track spiritually, and the devils who poossess Patrick, cannot STAND that.

My opinion, of course.


Your post reminded me of the "powerlessness" that is our lot.

Thank God the Alcoholics Anonymous and Alanon programs have led me to the only solution there is for this powerlessness - a relationship with my Higher Power - God.

God bless those who lost their homes. God bless you.