Bob Bitchin

Bob Bitchin

On September 9th, a little after midnight, the California fi res became personal.

Jody and I, along with Swan, our friend and “Home Base” when we are on the road (or at sea), had to evacuate.

 We were able to gather up our offi ce cats, Jessie and Katie, load them into the Boat Show Van, and hit the road.

In the ensuing hours, the Latitudes & Attitudes offi ces, as well as our home for the past 10 years, were turned into a pile of ashes.

Every back issue of Lats&Atts, along with every copy of every book I have written over the past 50 years are now a pile of ash.

Oddly enough, just two weeks earlier, Jody had just fi nished feeding the fi sh in the pond I’d built,

Bob Bitchin while Jessie and Katie played at our feet, watching the sunset.

“Ya know what,” I said to Jody, “We fi nally made it.”

After almost 40 years living aboard, we’d found a place we felt completely at home.

Between two forks of the Feather River, overlooking Lake Oroville, tucked into a beautiful forest, life could not have been any better.

Looking back, we lost a lot of “stuff ”— much of it absolutely irreplaceable. The carved water buff alo horns we got sailing in Thailand.

The conch shell we would blow when departing port, and the pewter cups given to us by the Sultan of Selangor who we “raced” across the Atlantic.

Bob Bitchin (He beat us by a week!).

And newer things, like my Harley-Davidson,

which I’d just put new handlebars on, and all of Jody’s costume jewelry,

and a few pieces of the real thing—gone overnight. But we managed to grab our computers and hard drives,

and that is why you are reading this right now. Yes, we lost a lot of “stuff .”

But it was just that. Stuff ! That night, or actually about 3 am, we’d called a friend,

and he was out of town but told us how to fi nd the keys to his place, and we were okay.

The cats were a little annoyed at not having 40 acres to run around on, but they’ve adapted to “apartment” living for the time being.

But keep in mind, this was all in the middle of the biggest pandemic to hit in over a hundred years!

With huge unemployment, as well as unprecedented hostility in politics But you know what happened the next day?

We started to realize that even though we had lost “everything,”

we were in better shape than most people in the world because we had the most important thing there is: Our friends.

Within hours the next day, our cell phones were ringing with people from all over the world,

calling to see if we were okay and off ering help and support.

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