The Bowman-Smith Family
We have a long story, spanning back 3 years.... My mother passed away in March of 2016. At that time, our intent was to purchase my brother out of his half interest of the property. But then we were submerged in a lawsuit against us, regarding property use and ocean views, we gave in as we did not have the finances to fight it. Finally on Friday, 11/9/18, I took a sub day (I teach at Malibu High) for an appointment to sign the loan papers and the 3 year ordeal would finally be behind us. Then Friday, 11/9/18 we had to evacuate, we evacuated to be out of the way of emergency personnel, so we took a change of clothes, our tax papers (sinceI still thought we would be signing the loan papers) and my late father-in-law's Leica from WW2. Since PCH was blocked with traffic, my husband, 12 year old son and I, along with our labrador Sizzles and our tortoise Tortie, went to Zuma Beach, along with many others. By early Friday afternoon, we were smoked out of Zuma, so we went to Westward, then smoked out of Westward and drove through Pt. Dume to get back on PCH and to Ralphs. By then, we realized we wouldn't be returning that day and were lucky to be able to stay with close family friends in the Palisades. Over the next 2 days, we were in hell, hearing that the house was still standing, then it was gone, then it was still standing. Finally, a friend sent a flyover video with proof that our house and the 3 guest houses (our source for qualifying for the loan) were all gone. Now we are back to square one with negotiations for buying out my brother. We have insurance, but not enough to rebuild, and with the new fire codes and city guidelines, it is very unlikely that we will be able to rebuild what we had. The loss is paralyzing, the house was more than a house, Cavalleri Rd was named after my Uncle Louis, my parents personally built the main house and guest houses, I was raised there, all of my memories burned. So now, we try to keep looking forward, to not dwell on the past, and our amazing community brings us hope. It feels like the Malibu my mother spoke about when she moved to Malibu in 1937, and what I experienced as a kid, neighbors looking out and caring for each other.