The Easter Egg Hunts at Dunbar School, Kenwood School, and Oakmont two Saturdays ago were the usual happy chaos, with kids running in all directions and filling their baskets in record time.
The hunt organized by the Oakmont Grandparents Club had over 140 kids outside the Berger Center, and included a bounce house castle, face painting, balloon animals, music and dancing, and, of course, the Easter Bunny. Leslie Brockman reports that this year they were blessed to have 14-year-old Eva Torsti singing for the crowd. She's the granddaughter of musician Mary Ellen Brown, and Leslie writes that she has “the sweetest smile and matching voice.”
Sponsors for the Oakmont Easter Egg Hunt were the Oakmont Community Foundation, Valley of the Moon Rotary, Oakmont Kiwanis, McBride Realty, Marie Bertolone McBride, Donn and Pat Paulson, Safeway, Oliver's, Trader Joes, and Walgreens.
In Kenwood, the Kenwood Firefighters Association dyed all the eggs and sponsored the event in Plaza Park, and in Glen Ellen it was the Glen Ellen Fire Department. Eggs were donated by Sonoma Market, and there were also “golden” duck eggs, donated by Woodfield Properties, that could be traded in for a chocolate fire truck handcrafted and donated by Wine Country Chocolates. Thanks also to Rite Aid in Sonoma.
So nice of all of you, and so nice that this year the weather was beautiful!
I don't think we'll ever run out of stories about people's acts of kindness since the fires.
Woodworker Eric DeWit has been taking care of a small memorial to people who lost their lives in the fires.
It's a collection of rocks with the names of everyone who died, placed near a picnic table along the Valley of the Moon trail, near the Arnold Drive entrance to the park. Recently, Eric and his wife Karen added a beautiful wooden fence that he built around the stones, along with an American Flag. They hope family members and friends will come by and look at this small memorial.
Eric DeWit memorial to people who died in the 2017 wildfires at Sonoma County Regional Park.
The Valley of the Moon Threshold Choir is a group dedicated to singing for people who are at the end of life. They go to a dying person's bedside and sing songs with simple messages of love and kindness.
After the fires, they were asked to sing for people who had lost everything, so in January they sang for Bouverie docents who has lost their homes, and in March they were at the Congregational Church in Sonoma. But they did more than just sing. Kate Munger, who is the founder of Threshold Choir, asked choir members from all around the world to send her one of their own special heirlooms to be donated to fire victims. It was supposed to be something that was meaningful to the gift giver.
Valley of the Moon Threshold Choir brought gifts for fire victims after a concert at the Bouverie preserve.
Angela Morgan was at the Bouverie event, and she said that when the heirloom boxes were opened by people who had lost all their worldly goods, the results were astounding. Everyone received something that had great meaning to them personally. The same thing happened in Sonoma. As Kate wrote to the recipients afterward, “you chose your boxes and found the exact cotton dishcloths you had been knitting for gifts (that had burned up), the exact Victor Hugo quote on a card that matched the tile (that had burned up), the Quan Yin statue that you missed (that had burned up), the three eggs that seemed to represent the three chickens of your flock that you lost, the items from the altar of the giver that so matched the altar of the recipient, the red spatula that matched the red frying pan... Each report confirmed that the gifts you were receiving were from thoughtful people who were transmitting something very sacred and wise.”
It's nice when people follow through. That's what Vittorio and Maria Belmonte and their son Henry did when they rebuilt the Maroni house at 89 Shaw Avenue.
The original house was built by stonemason Peter Maroni in 1896 and was of historic significance, being one of Kenwood's earliest homes. Maroni helped build many buildings in the Santa Rosa area in the early 20th century, including St. Rose Church and the Western Hotel, and Hop Kiln Winery in Healdsburg. The house was later owned by John and Elisabetta Figliolini. But an earthquake in August 2014 damaged the unreinforced masonry home to the point that it was red-tagged and had to be torn down. At that time, their son, Carlo Figliolini, who managed the property, said that if they had to rebuild the house they would do so in the “same spirit” as the current house, as that was important to his family. Instead, they ended up selling to the Belmontes, who have now rebuilt a house in the same style and on the original footprint, using some of the original stones in the entry walk and stairs. A plaque on the wall in front of the house tells the story, stating that the Belmontes' purchase of the house in 2015 “completed a circle of ownership from one Italian immigrant to another over the expanse of 120 years.”
Vittorio, Maria and Henry Belmonte restored Kenwood’s historic Maroni house after an earthquake rendered the original home uninhabitable. A new plaque was just put up.
Over spring break, Janette and Brad Eubank and their kids Robbie and Josie went to Kauai for Janette's 50th birthday, where they were joined by 22 people from her extended family. She said it was a great trip, “filled with zip lining, kayaking, hiking, snorkeling, and sun bathing for all even on the rainy days. Something for everyone!” She added, “We love Kauai for it's slow pace and dedication to green living.” Sounds like paradise!
We're getting close to May, and that means graduation time is fast approaching. Please send us your graduation news, whether it be high school, college or post-grad. We'll run all the high school graduation news in our June 15th issue, and other items as they happen. Tell us what you're up to! It's easy to submit news and photos for Village Chat; just email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 833-5155 and chat me up! - AQP