De Ja Vu

De Ja Vu

This morning started like every other…The oldest started knocking on my door at 0’Dark 30 asking if the carpool was going to pick him up….Why wouldn’t they pick you up? …Did you call them?…I don’t need to call them, they pick you up every morning…Should you take me to the bus stop?….You know there’s medication for this….Mama, am I going to miss the bus?…Turn on the front porch light and wait for the carpool.- At this point I shut the door on him and crawled back into my bed.

Half an hour later my daughters obnoxious alarm started going off with all it’s bleeps, bloops, and chittering. You’d think it was a Furbee, almost. The alarm is designed to go off, snooze, and then roll off the table and make all the same racket while rolling around the room. It works as promised but she still doesn’t hear it. But I do. Today I chose to stay annoyed and let her earn the tardy slip. She woke up livid, with me, and then griped all morning long. I stayed in my room until it was time to go. I was happy there. And then, just out of spite, I let the dogs out before we left and let her stew with her backpack on, holding her trumpet.

As we drove in, tardy, we saw a thick cloud of smoke, in the general direction of the school, and our old neighborhood. I cannot express the instant dread that clenched my gut watching the plume hanging out over the water and knowing the geography of the area as I do. My daughter thought it might be the school. It’s not the school. There would be so much more activity if it was the school. Maybe it’s a boat at the marina we were about to pass….No, not a boat. We arrived at the school and my fears were confirmed. It was my old neighborhood. We have a rental property in that neighborhood. It’s a new thing for us, just 2 months into being “Landlords”. Please God, tell me my house is not burning down, and everyone I know and care about is okay.

Roughly a year ago we experienced a horrendous event as a community. In the middle of the night our neighbor’s house caught fire and burned. Our neighbor died in the fire. Several of us woke up to discover the fire and tried to get him out. We called 911, and witnessed the whole god-awful tragedy first hand. It’s a miracle there was no wind that night. It is a blessing we all care for each other the way we do in Owings Beach. And it’s a shock we won’t soon forget.

Today, as I wound through my old neighborhood, I passed people standing outside their homes. I stopped every now and again to ask: “Which one is it?” They never knew. It was always: About 6 blocks down. My house was 6 blocks down. I finally found a place to park, just outside of the fire truck circus, and walked the rest of the way. The fire was my old neighbors house, the one that had burned down before, again. His house/land had recently been bought by a local builder and rebuilt into this HUGE monstrosity of a house among all these cute little cottages. Some said it’s propane tanks had blown up, same thing that happened to my old neighbors house. I was experiencing de ja vu.

The absolute destruction is so hard to imagine. Due to the size of the build and how close it is to the properties on either side, the neighbor’s homes on the right and left were melted messes. After checking in with all the neighbors, the same crew that were present last year, I decided to make my way out of the neighborhood. It’s just so sad. Luckily, I don’t have any ties to the house that burned but it brought back all the memories from the night we all came together and tried to help the one who perished. It’s a helpless feeling, watching a fire. All that can be done is to call the fire department and wait….

I don’t know how my other neighbors will be feeling today. I know I feel a lot of what I felt last year. Today is a day for saying kind things to one another, For being kind to yourself, And for saying a prayer or whatever it is that makes us feel good-for those we have lost.


To Owings Beach with love and comfort.


The night we all came out to help.


The new, rebuilt home that burned today 1/15/15.