Friday, May 16, 2014

Feelings about San Diego Wildfires

The more I see of San Diego County fires --- the more I really don't want to ever move back there.  I have a phobia about wildfires... when I was in the Navy, fires onboard ships don't bother me so much ... they can be contained and we were trained to deal with them ... wildfires just keep jumping and expanding.  My fear is rooted from my freshman year of high school.  There was a really big fire in the area just east of where we lived.  That weekend was homecoming weekend for our church; Sunday the sky was all yellowy and a lot of people didn't show up for the homecoming.  The church and our home were close to the edge of the populated areas ... it was a lot of semi-wildness and overgrowth to the east.  At school on Monday, lots of students were missing since they had been evacuated or their parents kept them home.  The district decided to cancel school midway through the day and sent everyone home.  We lived a couple miles from my high school - it was considered within walking distance so I started walking home.  One of my teachers stopped and gave a ride to the corner of our street and dropped me off there.  Walked down the block - no one was home.  Dad was at work and no idea where Mom was.  She didn't leave a note.  I'm pretty uneasy so try to find a neighbor to stay with until Mom comes back.  Knocked on every house on our block --- no one answers other than one son and he was getting ready to leave (on his motorcycle).  Since he didn't have an extra helmet and I wasn't experienced being a passenger on a motorcycle he didn't want to take me with him.  Now I'm really uncomfortable --- so I try to call Dad at work.  One NEVER EVER called my Dad at work .... it had better be a death or an emergency to call him at work.  That didn't work ... the phone lines are out.  I'm now panicking ... so I toss some stuff in a daypack and start walking to my grandparents home in Pacific Beach (about 20 miles away).  Skirted the foot of Mt Helix, got into La Mesa (city) and am chugging away. Probably got close to 8-10 miles on my way when the cops picked me up because it is well after dark, I'm a young girl alone (qbout 13 years old) with a backpack and some of the nearby areas were not the best.  I explained I was on my way to my grandparents because school was closed mid-day due to the fire, none of our neighbors were home and I couldn't reach my parents.  Cops called my grandparents, who came to get me.  Late that night they finally get hold of Mom and tell her I am with them.  Mom comes to get me and she is furious.  I realize now that she was scared since she hadn't known where I was ... but she never seemed to realize just how terrified I was.  When I expressed my fears about the fire over the weekend while several of our neighbors were leaving to stay with friends or relatives ... she discounted my feelings and told me there was nothing to be worried about.  I couldn't understand why she's saying there's nothing to worry about while I'm watching the Boccias, Waterhouses and Mitchells (all adults) pack up and leave the area.  Just didn't make sense.  Then the district cancels school mid-day ... just added to my confusion.  As I said, Mother was furious when she got to my grandparents home.  It was one of the few times that she ever hit me with a belt.  Now I can understand that she lost control because she was so upset over not knowing where I was or what was happening to me.  But -- I was scared and there was no one to ask for help.  Could have gone and stood in the middle of a busy street near the house and begged for rides ... but knew that behavior was completely unacceptable in my family.  Wildfires still terrify me to this very day.   In 2001 (Cedar Fire), had to drive a section of freeway with flames on both sides of the road (and firefighters) to get to work road and another time when DH and I went to check out a car my son wanted to buy - one of the roads we had to drive crossed the path of a wildfire and we saw the fire jump the road.  DH got to see me come completely unglued at that point.    

Nope - the wildfires may outweigh all the wonderful qualities of life in San Diego for me.

No comments: