TO EVERYONE WHO HELPED: THANK YOU!
(Dec. 16th, 2012) We would like to offer a very heartfelt thank you to everyone who has supported us through this trial. We've been doing our best to move on, and it hasn't been easy, but your help has been wonderful, and is greatly appreciated. Thank you!
On the afternoon of June 26th, our home caught fire and most of it burned out. Paula, our daughters, and I were away from home at the time, so we are all safe - but we lost two of our four cats (one was rescued and another is on the loose in Felton) and our guinea pig.
The cause of the fire, according to the State Fire Marshall, was faulty wiring in the kitchen. (The Felton Community Fire Company's report is here.)
Since then, we've had many offers of help, and requests for our clothing sizes and other information. It is greatly appreciated, but difficult to accept. We are givers by nature, not takers. We find our greatest pleasure in giving to others, even if it's just a smile and a laugh. It's the purpose we have found for our lives. So please understand this, and don't take it as rude or unappreciative if we are hesitant to accept any offer of help.
The most important things to keep in mind are...
UPDATE - 09/04/12
Many, many thanks to everyone who has shared their thoughts and concerns for us over the last two months! I've had a couple of people request updated information on our status, so I'm adding that here.
- We're currently staying with family (Paula's brother Scott) until we can find a new place to stay, which will take a little while as we try to sort some financial things out.
- Our daughters have returned to school for the new school year. They are still enrolled in their previous school (we didn't want to transfer them until we know where we're going to be staying permanently). This is presenting a new challenge for us, as the schools are about 20 miles away from where we're staying.
- The house is still standing, and we have until mid-October to finish getting our personal effects out of it. We've been waiting for the weather to cool a bit before we finish up, just to give ourselves a bit of a break.
- I've had several people ask for a list of the boardgames and RPGs that I lost in the fire. I'm trying to put that together as I think of it, but it's kind of hard to stay focused, between dealing with the fire, working on Polly, and preparing for some other projects I'll be doing at the theatre soon. I hope to have at least a partial list posted eventually.
Thanks again to everyone!
I've created a sort of FAQ here to get the info that everyone is requesting, because I am such an insufferable geek. I mean seriously, a FAQ about your house fire? Should I buy you a new pocket protector, Poindexter?
MISSING CAT - WAFFLE
Waffle is the only cat we haven't been able to locate. He's a gray tabby with yellow eyes, a patch of white under his chin, a bit of a skin problem, and he's been through a fire, so he may not even have any fur left. He's friendly and responds well to the sound of a can of cat food being opened. If you see a cat in the Felton Heights area that meets this description, please contact me at 302-430-6077 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
WHAT ABOUT POLLY?
We've had some people ask this, once they've confirmed that we are all safe. I can't tell you how it makes me feel that it's that important to them - it's as if she's a member of our family.
To put everyone's minds at ease - Polly is safe. The sketchbook is always by my side where ever I go, so it was with me when the fire broke out. Some of the originals, including the first drawing I did (the one of Polly standing on the rock) were still in the house during the fire, but I was able to recover them. The computer that I've been doing the layout on has also been recovered, but I haven't tried booting it up yet. I'm fairly certain it will be okay. Some of the story notes have been misplaced, but I still have all of it in my head, so I can recover all of that easily.
There has been an effort to get people to pledge to the Kickstarter to help us out. This is perfectly okay, as long as you understand that funds pledged this way must go to the project, and won't be able to go to anything else. They would be equally appreciated either way.
Polly will still get finished, printed, and sent out - but I may have to push my schedule back a month. It may be a little while before I can even try to do illustrations again.
WERE YOU INSURED?
No. With our present financial situation, we were lucky to be able to insure the vehicles we were driving, and even outside of this, other factors prevented us from getting insurance on the house.
Some people have been requesting our PayPal account info. It is email@example.com
Yeah, I used to use AOL. Go ahead, laugh at a guy whose house just burned down. Do it. How's it feel?
There have been requests for our respective Amazon wishlists. I'm not sure if the kids even have them, and I don't think Paula or myself have updated ours in years. We'll do that soon, and then post the links here. Thanks.
UPDATE: We've been flooded with clothes. We appreciate all of the donations, but we've had to stop accepting large lots of clothing, because there's just so much of it. There are a few items we still need - Paula still needs scrubs, for example - but otherwise, we're okay. Some folks are finding individual items that they want to give us, and that's perfectly fine. For that reason, I'm leaving our list of sizes up.
Shirt - XL
Pants - 40" relaxed fit
Socks - yes, please
Underwear - L (40), boxers or boxer briefs
Shoes - 10 1/2 - 11
(I'm also about a C cup, for anyone who's wondering)
Scrub tops (for work) - 4x
Scrub pants - 3x relaxed fit (men's)
Tops - 3x
Socks - men's
Underwear - 11/12
Shoes - 12W
AYLISH (15 years old)
Tops - XL
Pants/jeans - 16 long
Underwear - 8
Shoes - 10
NOLAH (13 years old)
Tops - Medium
Pants/jeans - 5-9
Underwear - 5
Shoes - 8 1/2
We've had a lot of offers for furniture and things like coffee makers, etc. I think we may be okay in this area.
It's tough to say yes to these offers until we have a place to put furniture. When we do, we'll be in touch. Thank you so much for the offers!
WHAT ADDRESS CAN I SEND STUFF TO?
If you are sending something via USPS, you can use this address:
The Walton Family
PO Box 398
Felton DE 19943
If you are sending something through another carrier like UPS, please contact me first. Thank you.
WHERE CAN I DROP THINGS OFF?
Our friends the Lankfords are truly amazing people who were busting their butts trying to find us when the fire happened, and helped break into the house to save the instruments and other stuff
after it was all over.
Tom owns a small engine repair shop on Delaware Ave. in Harrington, just a bit south of the Calvary Wesleyan church. If you want to drop off items, you can do it there, and he will keep them for us. You can reach him at 302-398-4234.
WHAT DID YOU LOSE?
The fire tore through the kitchen, across to the family room, and up through to the top floor of the house, in a room where I kept a lot of my gaming stuff.
This is a list of the stuff that I am certain we've lost.
- Kitchen appliances - coffee maker, coffee grinder, smoothie maker, a Ready-Set-Go that Nolah was quite attached to, pots, pans, bread maker, utensils, two microwaves (What? We like to eat, and hate to wait!), stand-up freezer
- My box of 60+ Frank Zappa CDs, which were sitting on the dining room table. (A friend of a friend, someone I have never met before, has very graciously replaced most of my collection, and given me a bunch that I didn't have. Thank you so much!)
- Some board games, including Abalone, and a few others that I can't recall at the moment.
- Aylish's PSP and charger, and several games.
- A large-screen TV, couch, recliner, entertainment center, and small computer desk
- A metric freak-ton of roleplaying books, Most of my collection, in fact: Most of the Call of Cthulhu books and supplements, my full set of 1st edition Changeling books (sob), a huge collection of Old World of Darkness books, Exalted, Aberrant, Hackmaster, Gamma World, Over the Edge, lots of classic D&D boxed sets (including full sets of Planescape and Dark Sun), and just about every classic Car Wars supplement ever printed.
- Heroclix. Oh, so many Heroclix. It was as if a thousand tiny plastic voices cried out, and then were silenced. Also: a bunch of Mage Knight figs, and the giant Cthulhu Horrorclix figure.
- Dice, minis, and a bunch of terrain stuff (most of it custom made by me), along with paints, foam cutter, and other craft tools, plaster for my Hirst molds (But the molds are saved!).
- My box of Lovecraft books that included a copy of The Horror in the Museum that was doodled in and autographed by Gahan Wilson. (A very generous person has replaced this book for me - all I have to do is see if I can get Gahan to sign it again. Thanks so much!)
- This one is hard to type out, let alone think about - my 1984 cream Fender Elite Stratocaster, Fender Sidekick amp, various effect pedals and cables, and a custom made lap dulcimer with quarter moon soundholes, built by Earl Attic and given to me as a high school graduation present by my friend Kathy.
HOW ELSE CAN I HELP?
- We're currently looking for somewhere to stay short-term that accepts pets (one cat). This has been more difficult than we imagined. If you know of a place, please get in touch with me.
- We can always use gift cards from Target or K-Mart. These will help us get the things we need down the road, once we've found a new place and start rebuilding our lives. Hot Topic cards will help Aylish rebuild her wardrobe of unusual clothes, Aeropostale cards will do the same for Nolah, Toys R Us or Game Stop cards will give Paula some video games to obsess over, and AC Moore cards will help me replace the art supplies that I lost.
- We have a van that's a paperweight right now. This has nothing to do with the fire, but it will eventually have to come out of the driveway. If you know how to fix a power steering pump, or know someone who can, please let me know.
- Hug your pets. Tell them you love them. Do it for us.
- Take a picture of yourself hugging your house and put it on Aylish's Facebook wall. It would really cheer her up if a bunch of people did this.