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My friend Maria, in Kenyon, has had one hell of a week… she’s a teacher at the Village School, well, until last Tuesday, and then on Monday, well, here’s her report:

Friends and family, everyone who has sent us support,

On Monday afternoon, for no apparent reason, our house started on fire and burned up. I was the only one in the house at the time, sitting peacefully in the basement doing school work. Something caused a fire to start in the kitchen. It must have been electrical. I heard popping noises and then banging sounds like something was falling, and by the time I came upstairs to see what was going on, it was already out of control and the house was filled with smoke. I bolted out the door and yelled “FIRE”! That was the end of our life in that lovely old farmhouse where we have spent the last 13 years of our lives. The house burned while we waited for the fire trucks to come. It took 5 trucks and 15 people to put out the blaze and when they were done, our house was gone. We are still trying to grasp the reality of this.

We are trying to go day by day and figure out the little stuff and the big stuff at the same time. The Red Cross has given us 4 nights in a hotel in Faribault to camp out and regroup. We have to find a place to live by Friday which is really big. And we need things like underwear which is kind of small, but still… It’s pretty overwhelming.

When people ask “what do you need?” I keep thinking, a house! That doesn’t really get me anywhere. So then I think, underwear, dog food, socks… well that’s not exactly it either. This is just hard to figure out in a step by step way.

We did decide that we need to get our barn sorted out because that appears to be our home at this time. Not that we will live there but that is where we will keep our stuff for the time being. Two of out bedrooms didn’t burn up in the fire, smoke but no flames, so we have stuff from there, and our basement didn’t burn either so there’s stuff from there. But it’s such a weird jumble and collection of stuff and it doesn’t make up a household so sorting it seems really confusing. When my mom died I remember going in to her house and feeling this way. I just stared at everything and it all reminded me of stories and I was useless at doing anything practical. That is how I am right now. Kind of at a loss.

We are inviting anyone who can come to help us on Thurs. (tomorrow) to get everything out of the house that can be saved and to help us produce some sort of order in the barn. We will hopefully have a dumpster there. We might try to save some of the plants that have been living around the perimeter of the house. We are counting on the power of the collective mind to make this happen as our minds are not really able to figure this out alone. If you can’t come, don’t worry. Prayers are always helpful.

So that’s where we are so far. We hope that everyone who comes can also bring some food to share, remembering there is no kitchen, no serving spoons, no chairs… you know… We will have a saw horse and plywood table, and probably will discover other useful things as we go along.

We will be getting cell phones today so we can be in touch with people soon. Sorry for not talking to every one of you. I’m having a hard time figuring out what to do moment to moment and end up thinking up things but doing very little. I really appreciate your love and concern.

Thanks, Maria

From Maria this morning, it’s a whole new day:

Thank you to everyone for your love and support, your positive energy, your donations and condolences.

Yesterday was amazing. We had about 50 people at our place and everyone was busy, which only goes to show how much work there was to be done. Our devastation was transformed and we now have a home again. Lois lent her camper for sleeping, stocked with dishes, beds, fuel, even tape! We cleaned out the barn and made room for all the random things that survived the fire, then organized them so that we can now take stock of what is left.

Many people took home photo albums to revive and bags of clothes to wash. They brought food to stock our “summer kitchen”, and we ate really well for the first time all week. All the plants around the house were transplanted so they will be out of harms way when the house is taken down. A set of dishes I had forgotten about was retrieved from the attic. My school files that I was working on at the time of the fire were found! I feel so grateful. I can’t even put in to words how much it has meant to me to be helped by all of you and to be healed by your love.

With the power of this incredible group of friends and family we moved in one day, from chaos to order, from hopelessness to clarity. I was so overwhelmed yesterday that I could barely bring myself to show up at our farm. I felt at a loss about where to start, what to do, and I was feeling so inept. How could I ask people to come and not even know what I was asking for? But it didn’t matter. Each person found their place and stayed with their task, made do with what was there, and created a vision that came to be: We are no longer homeless.

We are ready to move to the next phase. Knowing you are there to help us through is going to make this all possible. A phrase we use in AVP kept floating through my mind yesterday, “Trust the process.” Well, this is a process and you have all really helped me to trust. Things are going much better than I could have imagined.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.


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One Response to “FIRE! From chaos to order, from hopelessness to clarity…”

  1. Jan Marie Munz Says:

    Hi Carol,
    Thanks for the info on Maria and Peter’s house burning experience.

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