A burned-out family and a violated bench
In the early morning of April 22, a 19-year-old, estranged boyfriend allegedly set fire to the house on Boyes Boulevard occupied by his 17-year-old former girlfriend, her older sister, and the sister’s two young children.
The ex-boyfriend apparently had second thoughts about his action because he roused the occupants in time for them to escape the inferno, but the house and most of its contents were destroyed.
For the past five weeks, the young family has been living in a hotel room (the children are 3 and 4 years old) and have so far been unable to find a new home to rent.
The suspect was arrested and booked into the county jail, with bail set at $1,060,000. We can assume he will have a county or state roof over his head for some time, perhaps years. But, ironically, the victim family now has less housing security than the accused. This remains a tough market for affordable real estate and the family has limited means.
Anyone inspired to lend a helping hand can contact Cindy Magana, either via email (email@example.com) or by phone at 280-3393. We’re a caring community; let’s see if we can help.
And while we’re on the subject of caring, we want to draw attention to the lovely life of Myrna Shone Charles, wife of Dale Charles and sister of Don Shone, best known for his inspired ownership (with Dale Downing) of Glen Ellen Village Market (which locals simply call Shone’s) and Sonoma Market.
Myrna passed away on Feb. 22 at the age of 70, and in addition to nursing a lifetime of loving memories, the community she lived in keeps Myrna’s spirit alive with a beautifully-crafted and carefully positioned wooden bench, set beside the asphalt path that follows Sonoma Creek just beyond the Ig Vella Bridge on Riverside Drive. A plaque beside it honors Myrna’s memory.
That pathway is a regular walking route for a woman’s group who delight in taking a break at Myrna’s bench. You can therefore imagine their shock when they recently discovered that vandals had defaced the bench with black and green graffiti covering much of the back and seat, using indelible markers to inscribe their adolescent monikers.
We’ve all been young, most of us can remember senseless things we’ve done in our youth, often with no understanding of the impact such actions can have on others.
We know that the kids who vandalized Myrna’s bench most likely won’t be reading these words, but perhaps their parents will. If you know kids who might be prone to tagging, let them know there are consequences, to others and – hopefully – to themselves. Tell them if they are caught they will be arrested, fined and possibly jailed. Ask them how they would feel if someone similarly insulted their mother. Ask them how they would feel if someone inked offensive words on the front of their homes.
Vandalism always has victims. Myrna is beyond being offended, but those who loved her, and love her bench, feel wounded and violated.
The plaque beside the bench reads, “In memory of Myrna Shone Charles, from your sisters of the heart.”
The sisters are offended. So are we.