My name is Edie Olson, I live in Northern California, in the town of Clayton. The smoke from the Napa fires may be clearing, but recovery both physical and emotional is going to take a long time.
I know many of you are connected to someone that has been personally affected, and my story is no more or less important than any of yours. I am simply reaching out hoping to create a web of support from friends that might be able to make a difference in the lives of a couple that I know.
I first met Sue and Rob years ago when I sang Karaoke regularly at the Captain's Chest in Concord. Sue was one of the few singers I'd come across in the Karaoke world that enjoyed singing the old standards of Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn and Nancy Wilson, just like me. I noticed we both carried around the same CD's. Sue has a beautiful voice, and it surprises me when I hear some of friends say, "I never knew Sue could sing".
Rob is my superhero with a wheelchair as his cape, his talents flourish with every beat of his heart. Music, carpentry, computer animation, auto mechanics, barbecue wizard - The best part is he shares it with all of us! Rob was rebuilding the hot rod, and I really don't know what came first, my desire to learn upholstery, or his offer to pay for classes for me to take upholstery... whichever the case, I took the classes and used the seats of the Hot Rod as my project. It has been a blessing in my life, learning the skill and being able to participate in the reconstruction of that beautiful car.
I love them both so very much, and I know many of you feel the same. I invite you all to share your tales of the wonder of Lee/Fair.
Sue and Rob lost their home last week. A home that sat on property where over century ago was a luxurious vacation spot for some of California's elite, Lakoya Ranch. There was once a beautiful lodge with an amphitheater, and several tiny redwood cottages where Hollywood's resident stars would come to play.
Fifteen years ago when Sue along with her brother and sister purchased the property, the Lodge at Lokoya Ranch had long since been destroyed, but 18 of the cottages remained. Sue worked hard with the help of her brother (also named Rob) on the upkeep of the cottages making them available for renters.
As landlord, she never asked tenants for more than they could afford. In return some would help on the property, clearing paths, chopping wood, small repairs, etc. Sue, fears her tenants will not be able to afford the rent where landlords are more concerned with money over providing people with a place to live. She feels her tenants' loss to be greater than hers.
Sue and Rob both grew up in Marin, but didn't meet until much later in their lives. Music is a common thread throughout their relationship. Sue, an accomplished singer, guitarist and ukulele player participated in a family music group led by her mom and dad while growing up in the 50's and 60's. The Hawaiian themed musical troup played all over the Bay Area.Sue and Fran donned grass skirts and leis, brother Rob played bass.
Rob Lee, a luthier by trade, has created some of the most beautiful guitars and ukuleles in the workshop that once sat on his property. EmmyLou Harris, Paul Revere and the Raiders, and Jorma Kaukonen are a few of the musicians that benefitted from Rob's craftmanship.
Rob turned this:
The workshop, the tools, a lifetime of historical bay area memorbilia, the cabins, everything is gone. They lost not only a home, but their livelihood as well.
Walking through the San Francisco Airport, I saw the display of "Summer of Love". A time period that belongs to Sue and Rob. The artwork on display and the music from that era were all a part of their history. Much of that same original artwork, original music and memorabilia could be found in Sue and Rob's Redwood cabin.
We can only help them to move forward. Hopefully a contribution will help Rob get started on a new workshop, or help Sue to have a place to rest, or sing and play with their grandchildren.
One breath at a time.
Please contribute what you can to help my friends. The monies will go directly to an account from which Rob and Sue are able to withdraw and use to rebuild their lives.
Edie Moore Olson
*cover photo by LiliHeart Photos
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