At the height of the fire disaster, I got an email from a teacher elsewhere in the Bay Area. Her students had written letters of love and support to the people of Napa County and she wanted to know where to send them.
I was stumped. Where do you send a stack of letters addressed to the people of Napa County? Well, I answered, my mental gears spinning, why don’t you send them to me and I’ll figure out what to do with them.
Then I promptly put it out of my mind – just one of the hundreds of calls and emails that came through my office that week as the disaster played out day after day.
Then a couple of days ago, a thick package arrived from Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School in Moraga, with nearly 50 letters from the classes of teacher Sally Bayuk.
“Dear Friend, we all hope you are all okay,” writes Cali. “I am soooooooo sorry that you were affected by the fires.”
“I am not going to say that I know what this is like because I don’t. I absolutely do not understand, and above all, I don’t understand the fire,” Nicolo writes. “But don’t worry. Thinks can only get better from here.”
“There is a rainbow after the storm, so just hang in there and everything will work out eventually,” says Soren.
“The government is trying to put out the fire, and hopefully, the city will be okay,” writes Sam. “Believe me, everything will be just fine after all!”
“I just wanted you to know that there are hundreds of people cheering you on from where I am right now,” says Christian.
“I hope you stay safe and recover fast,” added Sofia.
“With all our strength we can win against these powerful fires,” says Tyler.
“You have been through more than anyone can imagine and you are teaching everyone a very valuable lesson,” Caroline writes. “You are one of the people that survived and you will always be remembered.”
“I wanted to let you know that you are very brave,” Sophie says. “The little fires here are nothing compared with what you went through.”
“You guys are so tough to be near the fire and see the flames near you,” writes Isaiah. “We have had a fire here in our town and it was so scary.”
“I hope you have everything you want with you because I know it’s really hard to lose stuff too,” Ben writes. “I was in a fire myself but not nearly as big as the one near you.”
So where can we see all of these lovely letters? There’s a story in that too.
First, I’ll post a PDF copy of all 49 letters with the online version of this column. That’s a start.
But while I was sorting through the letters and writing this column on Thursday, we got yet another request for where to send letters, this time from a teacher in Texas who has a classroom full of third graders who are deeply worried about us. Since my desk is already piled high with letters, I reached out to county spokeswoman Kristi Jourdan to see if she had any clever ideas.
She suggested that the teacher send the package to the county library, where the letters can be displayed and made available to the public, as the kids intended.
So I’ll donate the letters from our new friends in Moraga to that display as well.
It’s nice to know people are thinking of us in our time of need.