The river of fire that roared through the Larkfield area north of Santa Rosa took Ken Moholt-Siebert’s home and most everything in it, and the lives of dear neighbors Leroy and Donna Halbur.
The pinot vineyards that produce estate fruit for Ancient Oak Cellars, the winery Ken operates with his wife, Melissa, aren’t looking good.
But what’s this in the envelope he found in his car?
It’s a wooden peg, or treenail, that once did its part to hold together the hull of the warship USS Constitution — Old Ironsides.
The tiny piece of history was handed down from Ken’s great-grandfather, noted architect Victor Siebert. The story was that Victor went to Massachusetts to study at MIT and in 1907 contributed some money to a restoration of the USS Constitution, which had been launched in 1797.
As thanks for his gift, Victor received what was purported to be one of the famous ship’s original 150,000 or so pegs.
A bit over two weeks ago, Ken took the artifact to a meeting of the Santa Rosa East Rotary Club because fellow Rotarian Dan Drummond had just visited Boston and savored a tour of Old Ironsides, the world’s oldest commissioned warship.
When Ken returned home from the Rotary meeting, he should have carried the treenail back into the house and put it where it belonged. When he found it in the car that carried him quickly from the fire, he smiled in gratitude for that instant of negligence.
THE DIVAS of Fountaingrove toasted at Sharon Wright’s home the other day, to survival and friendship.
Sharon, the longtime community leader and former Santa Rosa mayor and City Council member, hosted a luncheon for the nine women who for years worked out together with trainer Alan Ramos three times a week at the Fountaingrove Golf & Athletic Club.
Of the 10 of them, eight lost their homes to the fire. But all lived.
The most overtly thankful Diva at Wright’s table was Shirley Ward. The retired Bank of America exec was asleep early the morning of Oct. 9 when neighbor and fellow Diva Laura Clelland and her daughter, Elle, came banging and screaming at the front door.
Shirley feels certain that had the Clellands not done that, she and her husband, Bill, would have died that morning in their home on Hanover Place, across the street from SSU President Judy Sakaki. The homes of the Wards and the Clellands and of Sakaki and her husband, Patrick McCallum, all were destroyed.
One day, Shirley will recount how Laura Clelland told her, “I would not have left without you,” and not cry.
CRICKLEWOOD II or another restaurant may welcome diners one day onto the hallowed meet-and-eat spot on Old Redwood Highway just north of Santa Rosa. At present it is occupied by a heap of memory-infused char.
Michael and Lynette O’Brien not only ran the cozy Cricklewood for 42 years, they lived upstairs. They escaped with little.
Might they seek to create a new Cricklewood there? Michael replied, “At the moment it’s just too close.”
He and Lynette are off to San Diego to stay near family, rest and ponder the future.