This is the clock on Main Street next to the town green.
The Oso mud slide hit close to home. I grew up in Arlington. My dad and brother still live there, and both of my brothers own and operate businesses there. The school across the street from my dad’s house, is now serving as the command center for the rescue teams.
These are the deer that come to my dad's garden every morning.
So, I know something of Oso, a tiny community a few miles north of my brother’s house. If the slide had hit my brother’s home, he would have lost not only his home, but also the staples of his fishing business: boats, rods and reels, computers. If my dad’s house had been hit when my dad still owned his construction company, my dad would have lost not only his house, but also his dump trucks, bulldozer and excavator. I’m guessing that in Oso there were also mechanics with garages full of machinery, carpenters with costly tools for their trade, and an assortment of cows, horses, goats, sheep, chickens, dogs and cats.
This is a picture of the mud slide.
Growing up, my dad’s garden was bigger than my Orange County, California backyard. And gardening wasn’t a hobby, nor was it about being organic. My parents gardened and canned our food to feed our family. I wonder what will the land be like when, and if, it’s ever unearthed. What will be left?
I know that the families in Oso have lost much more than homes and property. And what and who they have lost can’t be quantified.
I love my home town. I’m grateful I grew up there. My Rose Arbor novel series is set in Arlington, although I did change the name. Locals will recognize a few of the town's landmarks and street names. They will also realize I took a lot of liberties. For example, the library is not on Olympic Hill. And my apologies to whomever owns 22 Cobb. When I wrote the books, I never thought I would offer them up for a cause. But that’s what I’m doing.
For the next three months, I will donate all of the net proceeds of the sales of my Rose Arbor books to the Oso Relief fund. A hundred percent of the donations go directly to the Oso families. (You can read about the fund here, and if you wish, make a donation.) I even dropped the price of the first book in the series, A Ghost of a Second Chance, to .99 cents, making the opportunity to give within (almost) everyone’s reach.
When the idea was first suggested to me, I felt uncomfortable about using a tragedy to promote my books. But I soon realized that this is a way I can give much more than I could on my own. Please share.