Tom Stockwell and Judith Rose's home of 38 years burned to the ground on 9/28/20 in the Glass Fire. This was the childhood home of their children Dagan, Arwen and Tobias. Everyone was safely evacuated, but they lost everything in the home.
A letter from Judith's sister Margot:
Here's a big chunk of my family. My sister Judith, brother-in-law Tom, my niece Arwen, her husband Bryan and two of their three girls, Kiri and Ada . I took this picture a year ago at Arwen and Bryan’s new home in Angwin, CA, a few minutes up the mountain from Judith and Tom's home, which is just outside St. Helena off Deer Park Rd. They've been surrounded by wildfires for weeks and weeks, already evacuated once. This past Sunday, Arwen called her Mom and Dad at 4:30 AM and said 'You better get out now'. The Glass Fire had erupted. They collected their animals, called next door to wake their neighbor and fled. Tom had to leave his car. Judith left with only a small bag and a box of documents. There was no time to gather the chickens in the back yard or to collect Tom's bees. (We got beautiful jars of honey every Christmas from those bees, it was my daughter Nora's favorite). So they evacuated again, along with their entire neighborhood.
On Monday afternoon, Tom got verification.
Judith and Tom’s home of 38 years burned to the ground. There is nothing left but the chimney, the hull of Tom’s car and ashes. They have lost everything. Their three children have lost their family home.
Though they have some insurance, a multitude of things are not covered.
As of now they are living in a temporary home in Sonoma, working to sort through everything they need to do to begin again. My sister is busy helping her neighbors, making sure they have the connections they need for assistance, in service as always. Please help make it easier for them.
I asked each family member to tell you something of what they’ve
Yes, everything is gone now. Everything includes all the
memorabilia of 56 years of partnership as well as family things
that stretch back as far as our families go:
We're still in a state of shock. Can't really describe how it feels
except that it's like awakening in a new world in which we have no past, and which the future is completely unknown. The entire
neighborhood - where we've lived for the last 38 years - is a
complete ruin, in ashes, with all signs of life destroyed. Very much
like our past was thrown to the moon and what's left is a
moonscape of blackened and whitened ash. Trees that we planted, and replanted, are like burnt matchsticks. The wheels of the car
we were forced to leave behind have melted and the aluminum
hubs drained from the axles and flowed down the driveway like a Dali painting.
Music was the center of our home: home-made music made on
family instruments that we had carried with us across the country; a 1939 Mason & Hamlin AA grand piano that had lived with our family and
my father's family since it was built, and which embodied my
Aunt LaTourette's soul and which taught each of our children and grandchildren and neighbors what individual live music could
sound like; my guitar which helped me unlock my personal songs; Judith's handmade
3 string dulcimer, gongs and bells and chimes; instruments from
Thailand and Cambodia when my son and daughter lived and
worked for years helping rebuild after the civil war there in the
Siem Reap area . And books -oh so many. And "oriental rugs"
purchased by my grandfather in the 1930s on his trips to Europe
and other places. And oil paintings passed from generation to
generation (some personal}, and hand-stitched samplers from the 1700s by Judith's ancestors from Connecticut. And other family
antiques and artwork from our children and grandchildren. And of course photographs of parents and grandparents and generations gone. All irreplaceable.
But we are alive, our neighbors are all alive, and all of us remain
connected and desperately trying to make sense of what comes
Upstairs, all my journals from the last 50+ years are gone,
including stories from the family, the kids, all my strange
adventures; many drafts of poems and poems in progress.
The journals were upstairs in our bedroom, in a row along the top of the bookcase and also down below (although the day we left
I had written more and had the big black journal downstairs).
Our bedroom upstairs was also a meditation space, with all my
Buddhist texts and and offering bowls and the notes I had taken
from retreats all the way back to 1992. The antique cherry
secretary (desk) which my mother June gave me for my 16th
birthday had pictures of the kids when they were young, along
with little gifts they had offered, as well as a portrait I sketched of Dagan when he was 3. The desk traveled to Vermont with us in
1969, then back again to Indiana, then to California in 1982. All
my poetry books, some signed by poets I knew, as well as books on meditation & Buddhism (and, oh dear, a pile of library books that
I was still reading!). The Hitchcock dresser, also a gift from my
mom & dad, had a jewelry box on top that contained a turquoise
'snake' ring from Aunt LaTourette, some of my mother's earrings-
quite valuable to me if not to the world-- gold & silver bracelets
that belonged to my grandmother, Daisy Bobbitt, and a small
diamond ring that had belonged to Aunt Lil, and came from
Cousin Elizabeth. My closet, tiny as it was, contained a silk wrap
that had belonged to my Aunt Dot (I wrote a poem about it), as
well as the dress I wore to Arwen's wedding. My own wedding
dress was in a trunk in the attic, along with thousands of other
memories in trunks and boxes. Arwen's delicate sketches from
college were on the walls, and the wonderful little painting that
6 year old Tobias made of the magic valley was on Asa's dresser.
On the wall above the bookcase was the oil painting of the shore
of Lake Michigan that had once belonged to Tom's parents,
and was beloved by Robert, his father.
Two little figures were part of that painting, and I often
imagined myself back on the shores of the lake, with that inland
sea before me.
Two family samplers hung in our living room. They were 250 years old, stitched by hand. There was a
Hudson River school painting and a Stickley bookcase, but the
piano and Dad’s guitar are the hardest.
All of us learned to play on that piano.
It was the heart of our home. Dad inherited it when his
Auntie LaTourette died; he drove it all the way over from Indiana.
It had the most beautiful tone and anyone who played it fell in love with it.
The guitar was a Guild. It was Dad’s since he was 18.
It had Dagan’s baby bite marks on the spruce deck.
Dad wrote all his songs on it.
- Constance Elliott
- Fred Rubin
Organizer and beneficiary
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