Monday, January 6, 2014


This morning I am trying to find things to be grateful for after the loss of my childhood home.

My family on the steps of my dad and stepmom's home, August 2010.
Approximately 9pm, January 4, 2014.
Approximately 12:30am, January 5, 2014
Approximately 1am, January 5, 2014
The morning after, January 5, 2014
The morning after, January 5, 2014
The morning after, January 5, 2014

The morning after, January 5, 2014
At the top of the list is the fact that Dad and Carole are safe. But my mind is plagued with the little things that were lost. Closest to their heart is their dear cat, Zoe, who was trapped in the house.

Also lost was my dad's Santa suit. For years, he has spread joy over the Christmas season playing Santa all around central Minnesota.

My dad is also a talented artist who has made wire sculptures for more than forty years. All of the sculptures below (and many for which we don't have photos) were lost, as well as my son's birthday present which was nearly complete: a space shuttle.

Physical copies of my first book that my dad had bought and been collecting to give to anyone who was a child of divorce.
Fortunately, there are more available on Amazon

The hat we gave Dad so he could call our son as Sinterklaas each December 5.

Carole collected Delft for most of her adult life. As a Dutch-American family, we had fun in Delft this summer picking out items to add to her collection. The whole bathroom had a Delft theme.

Countless pictures that can't be replaced, my baby shoes coated in copper, gifts I've given therm over the years, the grate filled with  items my brother and I sent flying down when we were kids, my sister's childhood treasures and pageant clothes...So many memories in the ashes. 

My mom and dad bought the house and acreage when I was four and threw themselves into renovating the house: adding a bathroom so we didn't have to use the outhouse anymore, Dad built the kitchen cabinets and island himself, Mom picked out a wall to ceiling photo as wall paper in their room. The huge wall-in closets were my secret hideaways as a little girl. 

Photo: I don't have many pictures of my childhood, but this one is from my dad's house, which I moved into with my mom, dad, and brother when I was D's age. When they bought the house, there was no bathroom so we used an outhouse. Mom and dad did so much work to bring that century home into the 1970s. So sad to know that the last vestige of my early life with mom and dad is gone.
The house shortly after we moved in. My mom was doing dishes in the sink where we had to pump water. 
It was in that house that my childhood ended when my parents divorced. My most vivid memory in that house was mom leaving it.

After the divorce, I went to live with my dad, but still had a room, and toys, and clothes at "The Farm." When I was 14, my dad remarried and the farm house became Carole's house. In 1987, my brother graduated and moved out, and my youngest sister was born (though not in that order). In 1990, I graduated from high school, moved out of Minnesota have never moved back. Living now with my own family in Ohio, we aren't able to get back often.

Our last visit was Labor Day weekend 2012, when my sister Liz had her rehearsal and dinner there. 

Santa Elmer made a guest appearance.
Dad loves finding books as gifts. 

Goodbye, house.
I've been running non-stop between calls to my sisters, sister-in-law, and dad and doing what I can from across the country. I don't yet have to words to be eloquent about my feelings, but this is the big "project" consuming this blogger's time.

If you'd like to stay updated, join the FB page we've set up: Help Elmer and Carole Abbas get back on their feet.

We've also set up a page for those who are willing and able to provide financial help: Abbas Rally Page


Fox 9 in the Twin Cities did a story on the fire.

A stormchaser who knows my dad filmed the fire and wrote a wonderful post about it with stunning, heartbreaking photos.

My sister made this image using the verse used at their weddingl

Linked to:
Print this post


  1. ……I saw your pics on facebook and I don't know what to say or to do. But I wanted to let you know, that you & your family are in my thoughts and prayers <3

    1. I struggle, too, to know what to say when others are faced with such loss. Your comment is perfectly well said.

  2. That's such a sad loss and so sudden too. Clearly your pictures show that many, many memories were created in that house.

  3. I am so sorry for your family's loss. It's incomprehensible.

  4. I hope your beautiful memories will comfort and heal you. Thinking of you and your family.

  5. I am SO sorry!! That is so sad. I'm glad that your dad and Carole are safe, but sad that all of those memories are gone.

  6. My heart just breaks for you! Just an hour ago you were smiling and laughing........what stage presence YOU have. The upside that your dad and step-mom are okay is wonderful news. Very sweet tribute to the house that raised you!

    1. Thank you, Kelly! This year is certainly not been off to the great start. But our Hometalk Hangout was a bright spot...even with all the technical difficulties!


We love hearing from you!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...