Saturday, October 16, 2010

Another Phoenix

Never get too far from your trousers and boots.

Ever since I heard this proverb I've been careful about how I keep the things I want around me. I never have to go looking for clothes to wear when I wake up. I know where my important papers are and the books I want to keep. I'm not compulsively organized about it but several times in my vagabond life I have had to pick up in a great hurry and move on, leaving behind some precious things, so I have some experience.

Down the street from me is a big old building, much like many other buildings in this old town. It's an apartment building which housed four tenants. The other day it was set on fire by someone and burned out. All the tenants escaped and no one was hurt but now the building is not able to be lived in.

One of those tenants is someone I know. Colleen is an artist and an excellent photographer. She had a successful sole-employee business in publicity and promotion. She escaped from the fire with her purse and the clothes she was wearing. She lost all of her art work, her photographs, her negatives, her cameras, her equipment, her computer and all of her personal possessions.

I'm sure she has tenants insurance, but her business is wiped out and she has no place to live. She's staying temporarily with a kind friend. She can afford a month's rent but not the double rent and security that so many of the landlords are expecting in this part of the country. In other words she's homeless. I would point to her whenever I hear some ignorant, sarcastic bigot say that people are homeless because they refuse to work.

Colleen wall pull herself together, in spite of the terrible tragedy, and reestablish her business because she has more spirit and energy in her than a room full of girl scouts. And fortunately she has friends who will help out as best they can along the way.

I don't know all the details but the fire was started by a woman who was evidently trying to kill her ex. Now she's in serious trouble for arson and attempted homicide, plus a string of other charges. That doesn't help Colleen and the other uprooted tenants. But at least no one was injured.

There is a lesson and warning in this story. No matter how well organized and careful Colleen was, how could she ever have protected all her "boots and trousers" from such an unexpected attack. It makes me look around my apartment and take stock. I'm not far from my trousers, but what about some other things.

Colleen is a member of the same artists group that I am, the Artists of Bristol. She was one of the most important promoters and organizers of it. Now she's out of business. Please send you good thoughts to my friend Colleen.

DB - The Vagabond

Weekend Contest

Who are these important people?

Good luck.
First place winner gets a blue hat.



Valerie said...

My prayers go out to Colleen and the other tenants of the burned building. I have been thinking about this very thing this week: What would I take in a fire? Would I be disappointed if I lost everything. I am going to get a fireproof lock box next week and put some of the most important things in it. Again, my best to your friend Colleen... Val xox

Arlene (AJ) said...

My heart goes out to Colleen and all the others in this situation. Makes you stop and think about making sure to keep your important thing in a safer environment for sure. Think you're smart to get the fireproof lock box DB.

Arlene (AJ) said...

Meant think you'd be smart to also get the fireproof lock box also DB, I know from my days working in the business office of the Fire Prevention and Arson Bureau in Ohio how important something like this is to have to keep your papers, etc. safe.....personally I'd rather keep them in a safe place away from my residence to guarantee their safety.

pacifica62 said...

Teh phoenix rising from the ashes is a very powerful symbol. I hope all of Colleen's friends will rally round and help her out or can take over when community services are depleted. A very frightening event to happen to a person. I live in a basement suite and let me tell you not a day goes by that I do not think of what I would do in the event of a fire. Yes, what would I take with me? I would be very limited. Nothing is as organized as it should be and perhaps this story about Colleen with spur me into some action. Things can be replaced but people and pets cannot. The latter would be my first priority. Banks rent safe deposit boxes strictly to keep personal items safe and away from harm. Well worth an investment if you have items that would fit in one. Would offer some peace of mind as well. We hope and pray that tragedies such as this never happen to those we love but there are some disturbing people out there who are capable of great harm. I do send my best wishes to Colleen. If she were closer she could stay with me for a while. As friends, rally around her and help her begin her rise. There but for the grace of god go I.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

What a tragedy, hope she can find a way to recover from this.

Gerry said...

We often see people overcome in this manner by some natural disaster like a flood or a tornado. Everything is okay and then quite suddenly it isn't. My sister Linda in SF has been experiencing frightening symptoms in her apartment, so bad she had to move out when she could ill afford to as every time she went back into it, she had an attack. Finally her son discovered mold in a number of places which they now think is the culprit. Bed bug infestation has suddenly hit the WHo and a number of apt. complexes in Phoenix. That kind of natural disaster sounds funny, but the lengths they are going to have to go to to fumigate an apt that has them is not funny. Several of the residents have already undergone a humiliating experience of having their apt found infested. One took in a homeless girl who had been staying in a shelter which is reputed to be infested. It seems our environment never stays entirely stable for long, so we have to be prepared.