But we are on alert. Mostly for any increase in the winds that could happen this evening. Last evening the winds did not increase as they did last Sunday night.
Sadly we have two close friends who have lost their homes and all their possessions earlier this week. The good news is that they themselves made it out okay. They are now left to begin their lives anew.
In the map above showing the fires and their locations, Healdsburg can be seen right in the middle of the danger zone -- the air here is heavy with the aroma and the sight of smoke. This evening if we see any embers drifting around or any red glow from Fitch Mountain (which is close to us, a mile or so) we are "down the road".
We have been semi-packed for a couple of days and need only about 10-15 minutes to finish and clear out. The major dilemma is "what to take" and what to leave . . . and that is perplexing. We know that we just could not take all that we would like to take.
We did have a nice visit from Lisa & Bob who flew in from Seattle for a week. Lisa won the airline tickets to anywhere in the continental U.S. and they chose to visit us here in Northern California. We are happy that they did but feel bad that we were under stress about the fire conditions.
Above are a few of the moments that we shared captured digitally. We had several nice dinners and even celebrated birthdays for all as our neighbor left us a wonderful lemon cake already decorated for a teacher at their son's school and because of the fire could not give to her -- so we benefited.
Lisa & Bob made a side trip to Grass Valley to visit Bob's son's family and they were there when the firestorm hit. They originally were going to just spend one day there -- last Saturday, and return on Sunday night, and it is a good thing that they decided to spend one more night as they would have been right in the path of the fire. They stayed three nights.
The fire curtailed a lot of the plans for how they were going to spend their time and they are now back home in Arlington, Washinton recuperating from the vacation before heading back to work on Monday.
And NOW amidst the chaos of fire warnings and breathing smoke and just not knowing what was about to happen -- another call came in that was earth-shattering to me.
Since the early days of doing the HILES family tree research (the 1970s) I quickly had come to the end of the trail regarding the HILES line. In other words, a giant brick wall was something I faced when it came to knowing any details past my 4th great grandfather John Hiles Sr.
John Sr was reportedly born in Pennsylvania but I had NO idea of who his father and mother were and from where or what country they had come . . . every time I thought that I was close to discovering the answer I was thwarted. And it seemed that no other HILES researcher knew either.
Until now . . . thank you, Lora Hiles, our cousin to whom I spoke to on the phone a few days ago and she shared with me the news that we all have been wanting to find. She told me about a Mickey Hile who had written a book (non-public) that detailed the answers to the HILES line.
So, I am hoping to be able to divulge the names and other details just as soon as we feel more comfortable with their veracity --
If all goes well, we will know the names of my 5th gr grandfather and maybe my 6th gr grandfather and their spouses and offspring. I had thought that that was something I should just get used to not-knowing.
I have started preliminarily plugging some of the information into my Ancestry.com family tree without the connections as yet. Once we get confirmation I'll make the appropriate connections.
What a week . . .
And here is a little-known fact from Gail's side of the tree -- Millard Powers Fillmore, the 13th POTUS, is her 3rd Half-Cousin, 4 times removed . . .he served 1850 - 1853.
Gail's father, Millard Calhoun Bouldron, was known as "Jimmy" throughout his life was surely named after the former president, though I never heard him say that.
We have DNA to thank for helping to figure out the next step in the HILES line. Apparently Mickey Hile, who is at or near 80 years old, tested as a 100% DNA match to those of us who have had their DNA tested.
I have to say that I had seen some of the names that were possible Hiles connections, but because of the varied spellings, I was put off. Heyl, Heil & many other variations caused me to not consider them.
Several years ago I communicated with a young woman who said that her father and I were a DNA match -- their name was HEIL -- and their line was from Germany. But because we could not ever determine the link we did not continue the search.
Now, it appears that we do have the link and the research will go on past that brick wall -- most likely there will be another brick wall soon begging for another DNA solution.
And that's a bit of our week -- you can google Healdsburg to see fire status -- Hope to see you all "in a few"!