I made this driftwood wreath in early November 2010 at Alice's house on Humarock beach .
Alice's house was destroyed by a devastating fire last week that took out 4 homes. The house at 112 Humarock Beach Front was owned by a nonprofit group that provided free space to people in search of spiritual enlightenment. Recovering addicts, artists and grieving family members were among the hundreds of people who occupied the home over the years after the nonprofit bought it in 1997.
“There was very healing energy in the walls of that house,” said Janet Gibson, president of Alice’s House, right after the fire.
My time, like so many others, has special meaning.
My dearest friends and I had stayed there on a couple of weekends. I was lucky to have been there with Kate DiSantis, who died the following month after a battle with brain cancer. Sitting at the old kitchen table with Kate's family playing old maid with her sisters and nieces and nephews I felt as if we had time traveled back to Kate's own childhood home- it truly resembled the Norwell home. Kate couldn't speak, but eyes told me she was there and we were able to laugh a lot. Later we all sat cuddled up to Kate in the beautiful living room where a big driftwood wreath like this one adorned the old fireplace. Laughter and sharing and love are the memories I keep of her because of this time and place. On another weekend my friends and I were there and lit lanterns on the beach to honor the universe- it was 11-11-11 at 11 :11 PM. I'm not going to go into it but there were some crazy antics that night! I would have never been able to be there if not for the love and generosity of my friends who provided the space for us.
My dear friend Kim took the above picture and wrote this the night of the fire "Janet has been so amazing on so many levels. So giving. As I watched the last flames flicker, the firefighters raking the coals and tossing remains aside... the washing machine barrel, the dryer - bent, flattened and blackened shell, I thought of the many little things like the journals in the basket on the little table in the kitchen that held a piece of the story of all who had visited, the amazing vintage tablecloths hanging so perfectly in the kitchen closet, the beautiful driftwood wreath over the fireplace, the altar with stones and shells...."
People who stayed at Alice's wrote in the journals that were there in the house- many many words of love and healing. Heart shaped rocks were left around the house by the families.
Janet Gibson is the kind of person who makes things happen. I am so lucky to call her my friend. The house is gone, but the love and healing spirit will last forever.