The Amazing Power of Beads

Oct 25, 2007

If there was a fire threatening your home and you had only minutes to grab a few things, what would you take? One Beading Daily reader and Beadwork contributor, Cathi Tessier, knows. Cathi was one of the estimated 500,000 people recently evacuated in the southern California wildfires. As of today, Cathi has still not returned to her home--she's not even sure yet whether there's still a home waiting for her.--Michelle Mach, Beading Daily editor 


 October 23, 2007

It was Sunday, mid-morning, when my husband called.

“Quick, pack up our important stuff. We’re going to evacuate. There’s a fire close by.”

I live and work for an RV park system, and as employees, we live in the resort in our motor home. Space is tight, and things must be very organized to live 24/7 in this lifestyle. My beads take up a good part of the storage areas. I peeked outside and saw a huge orange sun, smelled the thick smoke, and realized we were in big trouble. With only minutes to pack, I scrambled to sort and decide just what would fit in the trunk of our car.

 

A couple of folders with the important documents were the first things I grabbed. For my hubby, a couple pair of undies, pj's, and two changes of clothes. For me????? Oh boy! Big problem. Four cases of beads, needles, crimping pliers, eight jumbo spools of FireLine thread sizes 4, 6, 8 in black and also crystal. A couple of beading pads, Fiskar scissors, and oh yeah, one pair of panties, a bra, and an extra pair of jeans.

Ready to go.

Three days later, I am sitting among a sea of people in the parking lot of the local stadium, visiting with other evacuees, listening to their stories.  No showers in three days, no changes of clothes, horses, dogs, kids everywhere. Tens of thousands of homeless folks, worrying about their homes, their photos, their heirlooms, their clothes. There are tears, hugs, worry, and sadness. I pop the trunk of my car and look at my stuff. My beads are all there. I open some of the boxes, and just look at them.

I ask myself, “What was I thinking? How could these beads, valued at a couple of hundred dollars mean so much to me?”

I can’t explain it. But I’ll say this. It gives me comfort to know they are there. I know that if and when we have a home to return to, I will sit at my dining table, pull out a tube of Delica beads, thread up, and make a little bracelet. It will be my “miracles happen” bracelet. A reminder that life can take a turn in a split second, and if we don’t take the time to smell the roses, or bead the bead, if we don’t follow our hearts and indulge ourselves in our passions, then we are not living.

At this writing I am safe, and while my future is unknown, I take comfort in knowing that although I don’t have my pj's, my beads are in the trunk of my car.

 

Cathi Tessier
Ramona, California

 


Thank you, Cathi, for letting us share your story and reminding us just how important those "little things in life" (a.k.a. "beads") are. We are all thinking of you!

Next week: A peyote-stitch project from Beadwork magazine. Don't forget about the Beading Daily challenge--only one week left to enter!


 

Michelle Mach is the editor of Beading Daily.  She will be taking time to "bead the bead" this weekend.



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Comments

Coley J wrote
on Oct 26, 2007 10:44 AM
Wow, that's a truely touching story! Thank you for sharing it with us. My prayers are with you Cathi!
Ladyroots wrote
on Oct 26, 2007 11:19 AM
Peaceful greetings from Jamaica.
I will lift my voice in prayer for The Tessier family and all others faced with the perils of the fires.
I know how Cathi felt. As Hurricane Dean approached Jamaica, I had to prepare for evacuation. I packed the passports and the beading supplies. Give thanks that we didn't have to evacuate after all.
Bless Up,
Lady Roots
KarenW@88 wrote
on Oct 26, 2007 11:40 AM
I love this story and am wishing Cathi and her family the best of luck. Is there any way to send her some beads?
on Oct 26, 2007 12:00 PM
Hello all....I too was faced with packing to evacuate....luckily, the fire passed just to the north of us.

On Monday, the only thing that maintained my sanity was three hours beading. I repaired and restrung some projects that had been sitting around for quite awhile. All I could think of was that I may need to flee my home and I'm sitting here surrounded by my beads. It was strangely comforting, even if I looked like a loon.

Cynthia in the Mira Mesa neighborhood of San Diego
on Oct 26, 2007 12:26 PM
I've watched the TV in horror as so many folks in Southern California have packed up their bare essetials, leaving their comfortable homes for an unknown future.

While watching, I've thought to myself, "what would I gather up if I were in the same situation". Of course, my 2 pomeranians and my old kitty were first to come to mind, but my beads, wire and tools were next on the list.

I fully understand where Cathi's heart is. I think it is great that she took her beading with her. What a great comfort in this time of uncertainty in her life.

Cathie, I'm wishing you all the best, and praying that you will be blessed with a home of your own very soon.
Bonnie, Wichita, KS
OrielJ wrote
on Oct 26, 2007 12:48 PM
hope things work out for you cathi
Blpmiles wrote
on Oct 26, 2007 1:57 PM
I was thinking of the same thing when I saw the news. I would pack my cats, my shoes, and my beads. Any one know what happened to the bead stores in those areas? If there is a way to help our fellow beaders with donations of money, etc., please let us know. Barbara M.
Maureenmo3 wrote
on Oct 26, 2007 3:16 PM
Thoughts and prayers are with you, Cathi. Beading Daily, please keep us informed as to what happens with the Tessiers.
teghanni wrote
on Oct 26, 2007 3:43 PM
Thanks for sharing! I know what I would take- my 3cats first...then my beads. No question.
JenniferL@73 wrote
on Oct 26, 2007 4:59 PM
Thank you for sharing your story, Cathi. I live in North Queensland, Australia, where bushfire is also a reality. My heart went out to you. Best wishes to you and your family and, yes, please keep 'smelling the roses and beading the beads.'
SherryM@24 wrote
on Oct 26, 2007 5:51 PM
thanks for your wounderful story. Thankfully I have not had the same experinces as you but I instantly was able to relate with you as my beads are a constant sorce of comfert to me. thanks again and you will be in my thoughts and prayers. a fellow beader. sherry
BrendaS@36 wrote
on Oct 26, 2007 9:06 PM
I would just like to say that the Tessier Family as all of the families are all in our thoughts and prayers.
Brenda
PatC@61 wrote
on Oct 26, 2007 10:00 PM
As I read about Cathi and her husband, I wondered if they will encounter my husband. He was deployed yesterday morning as a contractor with FEMA as a claims inspector. I know he will treat you with care and respect as he did those he assisted in New Orleans in 2005. Best wishes and prayers to you and all those affected by this disaster.
Pat C, Weatherford, TX
PatC@61 wrote
on Oct 26, 2007 10:00 PM
As I read about Cathi and her husband, I wondered if they will encounter my husband. He was deployed yesterday morning as a contractor with FEMA as a claims inspector. I know he will treat you with care and respect as he did those he assisted in New Orleans in 2005. Best wishes and prayers to you and all those affected by this disaster.
Pat C, Weatherford, TX
Ggrn wrote
on Oct 26, 2007 10:06 PM
Curiousity makes me ask, why didn't you unhook your RV and drive it all out of harm's way?
I hope and pray that you and all your neighbors come out unscathed! And, with all your belongings intact!
Timaree wrote
on Oct 26, 2007 11:34 PM
Oh, I hope you get to return to your home Cathi. I hear the town was spared but it seems an RV park may be a bit outside the city and we may hear a different story for those people; I hope not. Good luck and let us know how you fare.
KirstenC@5 wrote
on Oct 27, 2007 10:00 AM
Cathi, I know just how you feel, how awful it is not to know whether you have a home to go to. I'm a Katrina survivor. You are in my thoughts 100%. Stay in touch with Beading Daily, and with us!
JenniferR@77 wrote
on Oct 27, 2007 3:51 PM
I wanted to thank you for sharing your story. As a single mom I feel guilty for wanting to do things for me (that old story) vs. working, cleaning, etc., but your comment about life taking sudden turns and if you aren't doing your passion you aren't living....really struck me at a deeper level and brought tears to my eyes. I try to remember that simple truth, but sometimes you need to hear it from a stranger to really "hear" it. Thank you again, and I know you are going to be just fine - sending you my love and thanks - Jenn
ShelleyA@4 wrote
on Oct 27, 2007 6:03 PM
Just sending my prayers out for Cathi at this difficult time in her life...Glad she is safe... Is there a way that we, as fellow human beings and bead freaks, can help add to her stash??? Please post a way perhaps to accomplish this??? I'm sure there are plenty of other beaders with love & beads to spare who may want to help. Looking forward to your posted reply~ Shelley A.
D Sanchez wrote
on Oct 28, 2007 3:00 AM
Cathi and Bonnie H. of Wichita KS. What a small world! I have -2- pomeranians and an -old- cat that I adore and would pack in my car w/my bead collection.
My brother lives in Lakeside CA and -4- years ago we evacuated to RAMONA, CA. Everything was OK with his home but now I organized my cherished beads in easy to load rubber mate containers and, metal case for important
papers and kennels for -3- animals just in case!!! Cathi, please be sure to update us on how you are!!!
Denise S
D Sanchez wrote
on Oct 28, 2007 3:02 AM
Cathi and Bonnie H. of Wichita KS. What a small world! I have -2- pomeranians and an -old- cat that I adore and would pack in my car w/my bead collection.
My brother lives in Lakeside CA and -4- years ago we evacuated to RAMONA, CA. Everything was OK with his home but now I organized my cherished beads in easy to load rubber mate containers and, metal case for important
papers and kennels for -3- animals just in case!!! Cathi, please be sure to update us on how you are!!!
Denise S
D Sanchez wrote
on Oct 28, 2007 10:07 AM
Cathi and Bonnie H. of Wichita KS. What a small world! I have -2- pomeranians and an -old- cat that I adore and would pack in my car w/my bead collection.
My brother lives in Lakeside CA and -4- years ago we evacuated to RAMONA, CA. Everything was OK with his home but now I organized my cherished beads in easy to load rubber mate containers and, metal case for important
papers and kennels for -3- animals just in case!!! Cathi, please be sure to update us on how you are!!!
Denise S
D Sanchez wrote
on Oct 29, 2007 11:47 AM
Cathi and Bonnie H. of Wichita KS. What a small world! I have -2- pomeranians and an -old- cat that I adore and would pack in my car w/my bead collection.
My brother lives in Lakeside CA and -4- years ago we evacuated to RAMONA, CA. Everything was OK with his home but now I organized my cherished beads in easy to load rubber mate containers and, metal case for important
papers and kennels for -3- animals just in case!!! Cathi, please be sure to update us on how you are!!!
Denise S
LyndaM@16 wrote
on Oct 30, 2007 9:35 PM
Cathi, you taught me to bead 6 yrs ago at a state park outside of Denver. I'm a SKP and was awaiting birth of triplet grands. I am so glad to hear you and your beads are safe. I would have made about the same choices as you.

Hugs, Lynda Markwood
Pamela PamA wrote
on Nov 2, 2007 8:59 AM
The amazing power of beads...
while listening to all of the terrible fire news I, like probably everyone else, asked myself...what would I take...since my business is beads, that was the first thing on my list...and then how I would transport them safely away...my next thought was of my two dogs.
Not my husband. Not the photos. Just the beads and the dogs. I've been wrestling with the logic of this and just what it says about where I am in life right now. I was glad to hear that I was not alone in my very interesting perspective of the "important things."
Kstensrud wrote
on Nov 4, 2007 11:01 AM
To all who were touched by this story. How can we support Cathi and her husband in the aftermath of this crisis? Does anyone out there know if they or other beaders need anything? We are all so blessed and I am sure I am not the only beader that would like to help and share our good fortune with others.
Kathleen S