Creek Fire-CA, Rose Family Home

My name is Teak; I am partner to Robert Rose Jr and therefore fortunate to call myself one of the Rose family. The Rose’s, like many, many other in the last few days, lost all of their belongings and the home they have rented for the last 20 years in the Creek Fire. Sadly, they will not be able to rebuild and did not have renters insurance so I am asking on their behalf for donations, to help them replace some of the things they have lost and also help them on their way to find new housing. I also wanted to share some of what made their home special, if you have a moment to read. Thank you, all of you, and as cliché as it sounds, we will get through this together. Our community is strong.


What are you supposed to say when you write something like this? There are not enough words to express how we feel right now as a family, much less the collective feeling of immense sorrow felt by our community. However, I would like to try to express this, and I will start by painting a picture of just one place nestled in our mountain, so as to project the well of love that was produced there out into the world. We should not be its only keepers; our home should be remembered and honored.

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I write this as someone who did not grow up in the community, but I have been a guest and witness to its tremendous warmth and beauty for the last 5 years. However, The Rose Family, Bob and Judi, their daughters Joanna and Rachel, two sons Austin and Robert, and their grandson Aidan have lived in their home for the last 20 years. Bob and Judi are no strangers to loss (and I’m certain those who know the Rose’s and have been ensnared in Bob’s story telling know this tale very well by now). They had once settled in Africa, content to live there for the rest of their lives. However, due to civil unrest in Zimbabwe, they had only one day to pick up and leave everything they had: their home, their belongings, and their two dogs in order to flee the country. They chose Auberry as their safe haven, having lived with family in Shaver Springs, Crystal Creek, and Big Creek before settling into the small but idyllic handmade home, tucked at the very end of the road.

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To say the Rose home was unique would be a deep understatement. It was crafted by hand by their landlord, his children’s handprints pressed into the cement by the doorway. Big wood pillars on the bottom floor that held up the second floor were placed in a haphazard fashion, charming for myself as a guest but a bane to all the children who grew up there stubbing toes and bumping heads in the dark. The carpet that ran through the house was flat and a shade of forest green I cannot say I’ve seen anywhere else, an occasional melted triangle imprint of a fallen-over-iron hitting the ground. The peeling wallpaper in the room on the second floor was red and blue stripes with puppies in baseball caps. Those who went to school with Robert and Austin and visited their room will remember their silly and unique bunk bed built into the wall. Many comedic experiences were had dodging the ceiling fan from the top bunk, which was installed much too close. You could hear anyone and ANYTHING from any point in the house, whispering might as well have been shouting. The bottom floor could be an ice chest, while the top floor was sweltering. In the summer during droughts, the well could run dry, and there would be no water. In winter, the pipes would freeze and snow could pile up so high that it buried cars. We joked the weight of the snow would bring the deck down any day now. Somehow these flaws combined to create a place that was only ever charming. This summer the garden flourished, so lush and wild, like we haven’t seen for years. Marigolds and lipstick sage shot up everywhere, wild flowers no one planted but everyone welcomed. Rachel had just made her own garden with tomatoes, cucumbers and beets that were just about ready to be harvested. Judi, who worked at the Welker’s Nursery, (also lost in the fire) had just planted a giant sequoia she got from her work in a freshly cleared patch. We sat admiring it not a few weeks before the fire, wondering how big it would grow and who would be living in this home when it was tall and strong.

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The Rose’s never had much, but they had their home and each other. Those sentiments were present, saturated in every corner. A lived in beauty of knick-knacks and meticulously placed clutter. Every holiday came with a whole new skin for the house. Judi was diligent and proud of her work. Her holiday table settings certainly could have won her prizes at the Fresno Fair, but she shared them with love only for her family. Easter brought little flour bunny prints from the Easter Bunny on the stairs, vibrantly displayed on the green carpet, Halloween would come and spider webs would hang amongst purple and orange lights while Judi mischievously would trick or treat (her children long grown up) in Shaver Springs. Christmas brought snow, and the house would glow with holiday cheer.

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But the most prominent feature of the Rose’s home was love. It was tucked carefully into every corner, the kind of warmth that only comes from living some place, for so long, it exuded it’s own sense of life. I think about the staircase the most. It was perhaps the most notable feature, narrow and steep, it was lined with photos, embarrassing high school pictures of all the kids, various graduations, marriages, and art. When you went up the stairs to greet the Rose’s, you were first welcomed with a display of their life and journey, and it was beautiful.

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There is so much to say, lifetimes of memories to recount, so much laughter and sorrow and life I want to share with you all, but I will stop here and just say this:

So many in our mountain community have stories like this about their homes. I know every single one of those families are hurting just as hard as we are, and their stories of love deserve to be heard too. We will do all we can and more to lift up our community and neighbors, just as you are doing for us. The Rose’s never ask for help, they give even when they have nothing to give. Even now, though separate (but safe) the Rose’s are looking for ways to help. You can be sure that whatever they don’t use for necessities, will be dispersed back into the community that they loved so much.

Even if you have nothing to give, or also have experienced loss, I want to thank you for taking the time to honor our home and read this. It means so much.

If you are interested in helping and have more to give, please consider checking out these other gofundme pages and groups, there are so many others in our community that need help.

https://www.gofundme.com/f/creek-fire-relief-funds?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_campaign=p_cf+share-flow-1 
https://www.facebook.com/groups/342775350417890/permalink/344688036893288/

Donations

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  • Deann Winchester 
    • $13 
    • 5 d
  • Sheryl Johns/Allard's Inc 
    • $1,000 
    • 11 d
  • Peter Parkerr 
    • $13 
    • 12 d
  • Harryy Potter  
    • $10 
    • 14 d
  • Tedd Mosby 
    • $23 
    • 15 d
See all

Fundraising team (3)

Teak Aldridge 
Organizer
Raised $1,687 from 27 donations
Clovis, CA
Robert Rose 
Beneficiary
Rachel Elisabeth Rose 
Team member
Raised $1,995 from 9 donations

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