Greetings From The Hudsons 2017
has been a very eventful year for us. The major event was the
wind-driven firestorm here in northern California. See below for
a description of our experiences.
The family is all
well and busy. Suzy is teaching Spanish two days a week at a
school in a neighboring town and finds it very demanding – 9
preparations each day. Edmundo continues with his computer repair
business. Eric is still at Lam Research and continues to find his
work interesting. Sandra is working part-time at a hospital in
San Francisco but doesn’t enjoy the commute.
We now have one
grandchild in the Navy (Cassidy), two in college (Sofi and Francisco),
one working and about to start college (Zak), and one in 7th grade
Cassidy has been
stationed on the east coast all year but we hope his submarine will be
transferred to San Diego soon. We look forward to seeing him more
often than once a year. Sofi attended Santa Rosa Junior College
during the spring and summer in addition to working part-time at The
Whole Pie, a shop that makes and sells hand-made pies. This fall
she took a semester abroad in Barcelona, Spain. She fell in love
with Barcelona and so did Judy and Larry when they visited her
there. Francisco graduated from high school in June and is
attending Occidental College in Eagle Rock, CA. He worked at
Montecito Sequoia Camp as a counselor, teaching guitar, all summer and
will be working there again after Christmas this year. Zak
graduated from high school in June and has been working at Chick-Fil-A
since then. He plans to attend Santa Rosa Junior College this
Isabelle is very
comfortable at her middle school, enjoys working in the school
garden, and is looking forward to working on the school play this
Our trip to Barcelona
was very enjoyable. We were especially struck with the amazing
architecture there, not just the work of Gaude but also the many other
impressive buildings. And the food was wonderful. We recommend
Barcelona as a great place to visit.
Our friends, Dave
Flaherty and Mary Starr visited us in July and it was fun tooling
around the wine country with them. Judy went to Chicago to visit
Bonnie Bryant and especially enjoyed the architectural boat tour on the
Chicago River and the visit to the American Writers Museum.
Judy is still
volunteering at Luther Burbank Home & Gardens but retired from her
volunteer job at the Sonoma State University Library in
June. She continues to play bridge and Mahjongg and is
active with the art group of AAUW.
Larry is busy
maintaining our large photo collection, and adding new photos and
videos from time to time. In the summer he grows tomatoes and
We hope that you had a good year. And you have our best wishes for a happy 2018!
The 2017 wildfires of northern California
We went to bed on
Sunday night, October 8, aware that the air was smoky, but we didn't
know how close the fires had come. At 2:12 a.m. on October 9 we
were awakened by the strongest wind we've ever experienced, roaring
through our back yard and into an open door in our bedroom, with a lot
more smoke in the air along with cinders.
We turned on a radio
and learned that the fire had jumped across a nearby thoroughfare,
Hopper Street, the last significant barrier. We started to pack a
few things quickly, and fortunately we have a large plastic box with
emergency supplies ready to go -- we call it the earthquake box --
food, water, radio, flashlights, blankets, etc. At that point one
of our neighbors banged loudly on our door and confirmed that the fire
We drove away into a
heavy traffic stream that was, fortunately, moving. About 5
minutes after we left the house both of our cell phones made a loud
noise, and a text message appeared saying "Evacuate now." One of
our neighbors texted to invite us to shelter in his son's church about
3 miles away, which had been opened to evacuees. All through the
night we could see flames in the sky to the northwest, west, and
southwest, but according to the radio and the TV that was playing in
the church, the fire was no longer moving rapidly in our
direction. We learned later that starting before midnight the
flame front had traveled with the wind at about 60 miles an hour!
Early the next
morning one of our neighbors drove back to our street and called to
tell us that our house was OK. Around 10 that morning we went
back. We had no electricity, and shortly after that no gas.
But we had a house. And the Suzy's house, on the other side of
town, was OK too. The Erics experienced lots of smoke in Berkeley
for a while, but the fire never got that far.
The air was smoky for
the next 3 days and we remained ready to evacuate again if
necessary. The closest approach of the fire was in an area called
Coffey Park, the edge of which is about 1/2 mile from our house.
That neighborhood lost about 1,500 homes (including the home of the
neighbor's son who had invited us to shelter at his church) and now
looks like a scene from post-World-War II newsreels. Fireplaces
standing in open lots, cars burned down to the axles. 7,500 homes
were destroyed in and near Santa Rosa and 44 people were killed.
Clearing has begun. The community has come together to help.
Slide-over maps of
the burned areas before and after can be found at:
A funny thing.
We remembered our meds but we both forgot to bring our passports.
That could have been bad because a week later we were scheduled to go
to Barcelona, where our granddaughter Sofi is doing a semester abroad
(see above). If you would like to see a video of our trip, go
to: https://youtu.be/SqJXVdpA84E It runs 46 minutes -- even we can't sit through it all at one time.
If you have not given
much thought to a possible emergency in your neighborhood, consider
this: In addition to maintaining a box of necessities that can be
quickly loaded, you might want to upload your family photos, videos,
and important documents to the cloud for safekeeping, now, before it
becomes urgent. Google will give you 15 gigabytes free at https://www.google.com/drive/using-drive/ and more is available at a reasonable cost. Amazon Prime gives you free unlimited cloud storage for photos at https://www.amazon.com/b/?_encoding=UTF8&node=15547130011&ref_=cd_auth_home .
Our 2017 family photo
If you'd like to send us an email message,