On the next couple of days after the fire, the firemen were able to retrieve some things. The house was a charred skeleton, eerily recognizable. To fully appreciate the surprise of anything being retrievable, it would help to see a picture of the aftermath. The fire was Monday, Memorial Day about 3:30pm. Here are a few things I saw or heard about:
1. Charlie had been saying during the fire that all he really cared about of his stuff was his hard drive. So about 9:00pm after the fire, a fireman climbed in Charlie's window and grabbed his computer and said it looked o.k. He was stoked. His downstairs bedroom with the door closed seemed to have fared the best.
2. On Tuesday, Tricia called with good news. The Austin Hunt slides seemed to mostly be ok. (also some other pictures, though they were affected by the water, smoke etc.) A volunteer crew of 20 showed up at the Grimsmans to clean and box what was found.
3. Wednesday, with very specific instructions of where to look, the firemen were willing to look for some things upstairs. Liz asked for the baby books for Logan and Brodie. Yes, they were ok, I hear. Also Liz's wedding band and a ring she inherited from Grandma Jewel.
4. Brian asked them to check for a square glass dish that had $827 in bills that had been on top of the dresser. No way would it still be there, they said. (It was tithing that he had been saving for about 4 months.) Liz had set a plastic bag with votive candles on top of the money in the dish with a lid. The dish had broken. The candles had melted and sealed the money, protecting the tithing. Brian boiled the bills to clean off the wax and separated each bill. He told us the story and passed around the money for all of us to see at Christian's family birthday party on Sunday night.
5. The day of the fire, Mariah, who had been very strong and brave throughout the day, talked about losing her artwork. She asked the firemen on Wednesday to look in a certain place in her room. He brought down a plastic portfolio with many drawings and paintings. Also there were slides of her work in perfect condition. Relieved and joyful, she left (with Charlie) on a road trip to Chelsea's. They finally got off about 5:00pm Wednesday.
6. LATER that same evening, I went with Liz and Brian and two of Tricia's girls back to "The Site". Liz took pictures (Horrific images). Cami was climbing on the dumpster and spotted the same art portfolio that Mariah had tossed after selecting the work she thought worth saving. What a FIND! Cami called to Lexi to come and help her fish it out. It was full of exquisitely beautiful artwork, including a self-portrait. The girls took it home and laid it out to dry; then put it in boxes to store.
7. Andy had found the plans he had drawn for the house. I hear they plan to re-create essentially the same house with some improvements.
8. Brian went to try and grab some things downstairs. He came out with baby books Charlene had made. Damaged but readable. Very cool.
9. The report came back that Andy's hard drive is also intact. His computer looked VERY bad and was not expected to be ok.
10. Several of Andy's musical instruments were intact (clarinets, trumpet and a sax) though they were in a corner next to the piano which was completely consumed.
The family seem to be holding up well. So grateful to be together and alive. They are staying at the Marriott nearby for a few weeks, then moving to a rental in the area for one year. The rental has a pool :) . Logan and Brodie saw a little of the destruction from the outside. Brodie: "Papa Andy's house has a owie". Logan: "Papa Andy's tree is black". (The native oak which was the centerpiece of the property.)