Greenville Rising: week of October 11

This week we haven’t received a lot of emails or phone calls about anything new about the Greenville rebuilding. Please send us your tips and stories regarding the rebuilding.

The Rebuilding Greenville Resource Center needs volunteers to stay open. The center is located in and around the Crescent Hotel (follow the arrows). It is locally managed and operated. The organizer of the center, Lara, made this appeal:

“Local volunteers, we have a regular work schedule but we don’t have enough regular volunteers to fill the shifts. There are a few volunteers who work well on a 40 hour week because they want to keep the doors open for fire survivors. If you could take even one or two shifts each week, it would help give our hard-working volunteers a well-deserved break. Message or text Lara at (907) 242-4426 if you can consistently fill one of these shifts and let her know which days you can work. There are all day shifts (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.), opening shifts (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.), closing shifts (12 p.m. to 5 p.m.) and evening shifts (4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

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The center is also asking that people no longer donate used items, especially clothes, as there is not enough space for them. They go from providing summer clothes to winter clothes and have them available. On its Facebook page, the center posted a “needs list” for items that need it right now.

Non-perishable food, frozen meats, pet food, dairy products are welcome as well as cleaning products (mops, brushes, cleaners of all kinds, laundry detergent, etc.). As it gets colder, everything needed to keep people warm is needed: generators, heaters, gas cans, skidding to wrap pipes, propane, batteries, coolers, steps for senior RVs, storage bins and grab bars for showers.

The center now has internet and laptops for people in Indian Valley who need them, with tabs attached to the desk for frequently used websites such as FEMA, the County website and other recovery websites. The new “computer lab” needs mouse pads. Indian Valley IT expert Julian Wells helped prepare for the tour inside the Crescent Hotel area of ​​the resource center. The center thanked Lulu Paradise, Gabrial Walsh, Denise Piper, Sue Weber and Julian Wells for each of their roles in the making of the computer lab. The center could use “a few computer savvy volunteers” to help people log in and access the websites and recovery forms they need.

Remember, if there is anything you would like to publicize for the Indian Valley rebuilding efforts, please send the articles to [email protected].

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The rest of this week’s column is an editorial. Many of us are in strange living conditions right now because of the Dixie fire. It’s completely exhausting not having your own space to do all of your own things. As I write this I still live in a tiny house on my mom’s property, but doing a cleanup has turned out to be expensive, especially since we’re supposed to be on our own property soon – maybe by November – yeah! But the two friends and family that we had arranged to be able to take a shower etc. fell with COVID, which put our constant insanity into another spin. Where to go… to go? Starting tomorrow, I’ll have a nearly month-long babysitting gig in Quincy that will help me out, but I even recognize that I’m one of the lucky ones who know enough people to acquire temporary space.

It was cold in the little house this morning and I thought of people who might still be camping. It’s not a way of life and the whole process of not having your own place complete with a working kitchen and bathroom keeps a person in a constant state of needing to know what to do next. . There is no room for mistakes or extras.

I have eaten at the restaurant every day for the past two weeks and limit myself to one meal a day and fruit and snacks to make up for it. Eating is expensive. Figuring out where you’re going to eat and what you’re going to eat both to be nutritious and keep costs down and away from people so you don’t catch COVID is a full-time job.

My other full time job that I share with my husband is an extremely detailed insurance claim form that wants to know the brand and serial number of items purchased years ago. Do I keep the receipts? Yes. Where are they? In a burnt down office in downtown Greenville. My mind comes up with all kinds of fantasies for insurance claim matters. They wanted me to list the title and author of 954 books in my office. Thanks to my Amazon account, I was able to produce receipts for 227 of them. But how do you quantify the family Bible annotated with the misspelled musings of your illiterate great-grandfather Ozark? The shoebox in the bottom drawer of a mid-century cabinet with all the letters your Bronx-born Scottish grandmother ever sent you? Or the book on the Mexican Revolution that your Mexican grandparents gave you when you started your graduate studies – the only thing you ever had with their two signatures? Or the first edition of Edna St. Vincent Millay’s book that your mother gave you on your sixteenth birthday is inscribed on you, with the front page inscribed on it of a friend who died long ago, which is her name. registered, etc. ?

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I’m not a cheerleader by nature. I’ve had times this week where I thought I was never going to complete the claim form – somehow I did. If you haven’t finished yours yet, go ahead – you can do it! Goooon Greenville! (I jump for you with invisible pom poms).

People are always asking what they can do to help us, the residents of Greenville; I find it difficult to answer this question in general. For starters, I lost an office and a thousand trees on a property that was under construction but is now months behind what we thought it was. It’s lucky. Most people empathize when I can’t produce my car title, or marriage license, or anything else of societal value that was in the top drawer of my filing cabinet which is now a void. cavernous rusty. But I think what I need most from people – and I bet others do, too – is time to process our new reality a bit more. The initial shock is over; we are no longer on the front page. It is very good. I didn’t like the exploitative nature of people unfamiliar with the area, flaunting their fame on our grave.

But I need time to process all the trauma. I’m not finished. I need to be able to drive from Greenville to Quincy without crying or anger or grief but without going numb at the same time (this morning I swore ancient curses to Caltrans in my head when I saw a perfectly green tree. well felled. Really? You will take up to the last tree which did not burn?). I need some time to decide if my family is going away completely next summer and selling the completed property with the 1000 burnt trees (can’t imagine anyone else wanting this – their main selling point is that it will probably not burn for decades). It may be the Taurus in me: my feet on the ground and stubborn, I will make my decisions at my own pace.

I turn to places like the Greenville Rebuilding Resource Center in Crescent Mills, not because I need anything in particular – I certainly don’t have anywhere to put anything, and my Prius is dangerously close. to look like a clown car – but because it offers the best that humanity has to offer: kindness and empathy and neighbors helping their neighbors. Help them when you have the chance. Meanwhile, I’m going to look at this wall over here and try to take my time wondering where and what I’m going to eat today, at least grateful to know that tomorrow I’ll have a borrowed kitchen to finally redo the meals. . I’ll make a batch of chocolate chip cookies. Then I’m going to do something complicated, nutritious, something that takes a long time.

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Meg Upton plans to bake a huge amount of her special chocolate chip cookies as soon as she has access to her own kitchen again. Photo by Meg Upton


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