My sister lived in a beautiful, old (125 years) house in Mickleton, NJ, that she loved like a member of her own family. At one time it had been owned by the Heritage family of Dairy fame.
On March 12, 2015, when she was at work (she works in the Hospitality Industry and was working at a catered event in Cherry Hill) the house burned down. She called me on the phone around 9:30 p.m. and told me her son had phoned her to tell her the house was on fire. He had been up in his room and heard his father calling out. He ran down to find his father, bathrobe smoldering and the sofa on fire. They ran out in time but despite the dedicated efforts of the firemen, the house was completely burned out. We all lost a lot.
My sister lost everything she had ever owned, including for example, our deceased mother's life long collection of cranberry glass service for ten for our family Thanksgiving. Irreplaceable. Lost also were ten large scale landscapes of mine, framed and hanging in the hall, four still life paintings in the kitchen, and two animal portraits recently completed for her birthday. The list could go on for pages of the irreplaceable and heartbreaking losses.
At the same time, she and her partner separated. They'd been somewhat estranged but had stayed together for their son, and their shared home. He left that night. We stayed until 6:30 in the morning hoping that the one dog not yet rescued would be found. They brought out his body and those of the two cats at daybreak.
The last three weeks have been an endless blur of phone calls, errands, arrangements. Needless to say, my sister and her son came to stay with me till she could find a new place, along with her rescued dog and cat. Each week brought small steps of progress. First, she was finally able to get her truck out of the rubble strewn drive and on the road. Friends set up funding and other friends collected furnishings. This week, she found a place to rent. Also, this week, I returned to some normal version of my life, and made two hikes.
My hiking pals and I have gone to Pakim Pond, and Atsion, where I could find air, peace and the healing powers of nature. Needless to say, I haven't visited any historic places or made any interesting expeditions. I even missed Lines On the Pines. However, there is plenty here from easier times for anyone looking for places to go or things to do!