What a Difference a Day Makes

We have all experienced it- life changing events we never saw coming that happen so quickly we only process them fully with perspective of time.

 

For Halloween, I was Wonder Woman- my Fit Note cheerfully extolling the virtues of strength training. Three days later, I fell off my bike and really hurt myself. As I lay on the ground eating dirt, there was no other option but to get up and begin a long recovery from painful injuries.

 

Exactly a month after my fall from being Wonder Woman, the largest wildfire in California history headed toward our sweet town of Ojai. As quickly as my fall off the bike, life changed.

We at The Oaks evacuated guests and employees. Over the next days homes were lost, families uprooted, animals misplaced, services interrupted, businesses closed as owners evacuated, then returned to an eerily empty town.

 

When these events happen, we  have little idea what the fallout will be and how long it will take for things to recover. But not all fall out is all bad, and often there is hidden purpose.

 

When I fell from my bike, I was injured.  But I looked for the bright side- I got to focus on how resilient my body is, how strong my spirit is.  With time, I am back to Wonder Woman and back on my bike, although perhaps with a renewed respect for gravity.

 

And for our beautiful Ojai Valley environment, wildfire does serve a purpose. Fire keeps the forest healthy and provides an opportunity for renewal. Vegetation that is burned by fire provides a rich source of nutrients that nourish what remains. Fire clears thick underbrush so sunlight can reach the forest floor and encourage the growth of native species. I hiked on Shelf Rd this morning, among the scarred hills, I reminded myself that the ecosystem really will benefit from this natural cycle.

 

Just as our Valley has some healing to do, so do many people and places in our dear town, and I am happy to share with you that the healing has begun.  The amazing sense of resilience here in Ojai is palatable, the community is coming together in new ways to encourage healing and regrowth, like nature will do with our beautiful Topa Topa Mountains.  Even though the hills were hard to look at today, the sky was blue, the air is clear, and Ojai looked like the Ojai I know.

 

The Oaks is on its own path of regrowth, the fire has served a purpose for us as well.  We are taking some time to pamper our beautiful historic building, being thoughtful about our own renewal after the fire.  The work has begun, with plans of a grand re-opening in the near future.  I want to get back to work, as do many of my friends. We all got a break and now we look forward to using this unexpected life changing event to bring out our best for our community, The Oaks and our guests.

 

Wonder Woman did heal- rest and time have done their work. Ojai will heal, and we at The Oaks look forward to welcoming you back for your own healthy renewal in 2018.

 

Thanks in advance for your continued support of Ojai and The Oaks. Here’s to a hope filled and healthy 2018.

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85 Comments

Ilene Kretsch

Nancy,

Thanks as usual for your wonderful blogs.

The Oaks and all of you have been in my thoughts, but I didn’t want to bother anyone to call.

I am so sorry for everyone’s loss. I know all of you at the Oaks and in the community are so strong and will go on from here. I look forward to returning soon.

If I can help in anyway, please let me know.

All my best.
Ilene

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Nancy Radding

Hi Ilene!! THANK YOU for those kind words….the phones are on now, so feel free to call the Oaks!

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Laura Colver

Hi Nancy, my best friend after knowing me for over 25 years continues to always be astounded how I can find a silver lining in just about everything. I see that you too have this wonderful affliction! I’m not sure where I learned it from, but I can see that you learned that along the way as well. I am glad the building is going to be fine and that you are healing from your bike injury. Already being in good physical shape when one injures oneself makes the healing much faster, reminding us that you never know when an injury might get you and you’d best be in good shape when it does! Bless you!

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Nancy Radding

Hi Laura, Happy 2018! Thanks for your reply and hope to see you this Spring 🙂

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Suzanne Burke

Wonder Woman Nancy….I must say your words were welcomed since I’ve been very curious about the outcome of all these events. I have several docent friends here at the Getty Villa from Ojai and Santa Barbara who have kept me up to date and thankfully survived it all intact. I’ve driven up to look around too and wow…..now the floods. I cannot wait to return to Ojai and support all the businesses for a Sunday outing of lunch, the Farmers Market and a Thai foot massage!! I’ve also had a fall from both a bike and a motorcycle and it makes you appreciate how important those helmets are…….road rash is something else……too bad we don’t have helmets for our whole body!! May God keep you in HIS care.

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Nancy Radding

Hi Suzanne!! I love that idea of a full body helmet. Very funny. I totally remember you and hope to see you this year!!

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Cindy Gathe

Thank you for the update on the Thomas Fire and how it effected The Oaks at Ojai. I have been wondering if it had damaged The Oaks. I am tentatively planning my first visit to The Oaks either in May or August 2018. I live in Prescott, AZ. I will stay tuned for progress reports. God’s blessings to you all!

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Nancy Radding

Hi Cindy! THANK YOU- on behalf of Ojai and the Oaks, I’ll receive that blessing. We look forward to your May or August visit!

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Malka Sekey

Nancy – It was heart warming to read this encouraging and uplifting message. I am sure I can speak for many of the Oaks guests when I say we went thru the awful pain of the news right with you – from afar, but right there with you in our hearts. It is so encouraging to read about your sense of renewal and awakening as a result of this once in a lifetime event. There are always silver linings in the most difficult of situations. Always. I personally have adopted this attitude as my moto, and I can tell you it works. If we take away our attention from the pain and destruction, and focus on the renewal aspects we all win. I can’t wait to see you and other wonderful staff members when I come back in April. I will be looking to see the revival signs every where. From the renewed and refurbished building to the hope and sense of going forward on everyone’s faces.
With love and gratitude
Malka

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Nancy Radding

MALKA!!! Thank you for those wonderful and OH SO YOU words. I look forward to seeing you and the joy you carry in April!!

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Janice Romain

I’m so thankful all are healing and coming together with love and support. I’m also thankful selfishly that the Oaks Spa will continue forward better then ever. I am looking forward to the Grand Opening and would like to come.

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Nancy Radding

Hi Janice! Not selfish at all. Self Care results in Care for Others…we look forward to your return. I’m not sure we’ll do a grand re opening, but we will be feeling grand to be open!!

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Barbara Chadbourne

Was so worried about the staff, tried to reach out but could not get through. My daughters business in Santa Barbara was effected and we are all praying she will make it and not have to close permanently. Let me know how I can support the Oaks will be their for the grand reopening

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Nancy Radding

Hi Barbara, so sorry for your daughter. Yes, so many lives have been effected….I’m not sure we’ll do a grand re opening, but we will be feeling grand to be open!!

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Mandy Fessenden Brauer

Desar Nancy, What a beautiful and inspiring article. I am so glad to read you on a regular basis and one of these days (years) I hope to see you at The Oaks. We are living between Cairo and Bali, the former having a draconian dictator and the latter having an inordinate amount of rain and a volcano that is threatening to erupt. I keep my weight at about 45 Kg which seems comfortable for me and I do a lot of writing (mainly poetry) which just goes into my computer. From time to time I publish a book for kids in Egypt but not so many now. We never did get a second wife but I continue to talk to people who are in plural marriages which is interesting. Thank you also for being such an inspiration to me. Now I need to get my exercise regime better implemented.

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Nancy Radding

Hi Mandy, your life sounds intriguingly complicated!! We are pretty simple here in Ojai, I look forward to you coming back and perhaps writing from our inspiring vantage point!

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Margie Thorpe

Is this the Fran I met while in the Oaks last year? – if so, I was thinking of you as I prepare for my trip back to New York this month…

I am so glad the Oaks are back in business. I was in the Northern California area just after the fires that burned thru the wine country and it was astounding how nature bounces back. The fresh green where smoky scorched grounds had been only weeks before. Be well!

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Nancy Radding

Hi Margie! Yes, we look forward to the fresh green- thanks for the encouragement!!

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Jeanne Title

So glad to hear you’re okay and the Oaks will be back in business. I feel your pain because I live in Yountville and we were surrounded by fires as well.. so I know exactly what you went through.
Carol Kicklighter & I are booked for February and we look forward to big hugs all around. See you soon!!!

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Nancy Radding

Hi Jeanne, poor CA has been hit hard…we will not be open in February so be sure to connect with reservations to come after March 1!

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Jeanette Rock

I dearly love the Oaks and all the wonderful staff I’ll be thinking of you through this difficult process 💥❤️

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Barbara Frisch-Klopper

Thanks for letting us know what’s going on In Ojai. Looking at the fire map, I could not tell exactly what parts of town were directly afftectected.
We too, down here in Santa Rosa and surrounding area truly understand what you all are going through. My home is still standing, although I have many friends and acquaintances whose homes are no longer around.
Prayers for all.

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Nancy Radding

Hi Barbara, yes this is so heartbreaking for people in so many places….so glad your home is standing, we are the blessed ones.

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Christine Frederick

Nancy I was one of the evacuees staying at the Oaks. I am so glad that Ojai and the Oaks survived, it was a very scary experience. I have booked for next December and look forward to experiencing the Oaks once again.

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Nancy Radding

Hi Christine! THANK YOU for being so brave and calm in the midst of such a surreal experience…I’m thrilled that you’ll come back. Hopefully you’ll enjoy having WAY less excitement!!

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Amy

I too was concerned and couldn’t find anything on the news on if the Oaks and incredible staff were not in harms way. Thank you for your heartfelt news. I had my first experience at the Oaks this summer and it was life changing. Hoping to visit again soon.

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Nancy Radding

Hi Amy. THANK YOU for replying and for your testimonial. I hope you do come back and see us!!

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Bonnie

Look forward to enjoying your new life through healing. A good lesson for all of us.
You all deserve the best as you give the best consistently.

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Brooke Levin

So glad to get news and your lovely blog on The Oaks. Happy you are healing and that the strong Oaks – Ojai spirit is making a comeback.

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Nancy Radding

Hi Brooke! Thanks for your reply- YES to the strength of the Oaks and Ojai spirit!

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Elaine Jacobs

Looking forward to our annual visit…this time in March instead of February and hope to see many old friends! The Oaks is such a special place to so many people! I’m happy that it wasn’t destroyed and that with time, it will reopen. Blessings for good healing!

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Nancy Radding

Hi Elaine- THANK YOU For being flexible with your dates!! We look forward to seeing you in March.

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Paulette Isenmann

Dear Nancy. So relieved to hear that you and the Oaks family are recovering. You have always been such an inspiration for me and I feel so blessed to have had you in my life. The girls and I are looking forward to seeing all of you in April.

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Nancy Radding

PAULETTE! You are the best. Thank you for those kind words and YOU always inspire ME with your consistent sweetness…you are the real deal.

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Linda Burgo

Nancy and my precious Oaks family,
The safety and well being of all of you and that spectacular haven, has been in my thoughts and prayers. Ojai and The Oaks, have been a source of help, happiness, re-invention and health for me, throughout many stages in my life’s journey. I’m happy and relieved to know that you will be back , beautiful and re-invented and ready to pass your strength and positive energies to those who are lucky enough to walk through your doors! See you soon! Bless you all! ❤️ Linda

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Wendy Abrams

Wow Linda you said exactly how i feel about The Oaks in every way. Nancy I can visualize the healing and the renewed cycle of life moving forward. Sending love and support, and can’t wait to return for my next sojourn!
Love ,
Wendy

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Wendela Roberts

From up here in Toronto, I kept looking every day at maps of the fire, to see how Ojai was being affected and am so, so happy to hear that you are all well. I heard earlier last month from Elizabeth who provided an update. Delighted to hear that The Oaks has survived, and look forward to connecting with you in Ojai soon!

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Nancy Radding

Dear Wendela, THANK YOU for your kind reply- hope to see you this Spring or Summer!

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Nancy Radding

Hi Tara! Thank YOU for reading and replying, hope to see you at the Oaks this year!!

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Aviva

Thanks for the reassuring and inspirational update. I, like so many others, have been waiting to hear something from the Oaks, and at the same time didn’t want to bother you guys. I anxiously followed the progress of the fire on google maps, even the encroachment on the Ojai Valley Resort, and saw how Ojai was surrounded by the fire, but miraculously survived. Unfortunately, not everyone was as lucky as Ojai, and hope that those affected will have a quick recovery. I’m looking forward to visiting the Oaks again soon.

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Nancy Radding

Dear Aviva, YES it was nothing short of miraculous how spared we truly were. The mudslides have put this in even greater perspective! I hope to see you at the Oaks as well!

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Marsha Wehrenberg

My daughter,Cindy and I have started the new year at the Oaks mother daughter week for the last several years. Cindy was unable to get vacation approval due to a new job this year.
Interesting how this year the Oaks would not have been available either.
We are looking forward to spending Mother’s Day week at the Oaks and wish you the very best in the recovery from this wild fire. Our hearts are with you.

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Nancy Radding

Hi Marsha, we will be in FULL and HAPPY swing by May- see you then! Thanks for replying.

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Alexandra "Sasha" Nemirovsky

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! The Oaks still stands! My payers are answered! Looking forward to seeing you in April!

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Nancy Radding

Hi Alexandra!! What would the Oaks do without YOU??? Looking forward to seeing your sweet face.

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Carol Argo

Nancy, I’ve thought about you and all of the wonderful staff at at The Oaks and wondered how everyone was doing. Your article was beautiful and uplifting. I’m so happy that The Oaks will be reopening soon. Wishing you, your family and the Oaks staff a wonderful 2018. Stay healthy and injury free!

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Nancy Radding

Hi Carol, THANK YOU!!! Hope you are well and I look forward to reconnecting and collaborating!

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Margit Samawi

Hi Nancy,
Very glad to hear that both you and Ojai are recovering. The California fires were not much covered on JORDANIAN news, we have too many “fires” in our region and contrary to the California fires, they are still burning and it seems they won’t be put out for a long time.
I also fell from being Wonderwoman with a serious bout with cancer and I am happy to say I also recovered. Hopefully I will be able to come to The Oaks once more this year, before my age makes the 16-hour flight to LAX and the week-long jet lag too much of a strain on my body. But I will always treasure the many weeks I spent at The Oaks and the memories of the wonderful people I met there.

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Nancy Radding

Hi again Margit! I didn’t know about the fires in Jordan- it’s very disconcerting, isn’t it. The fiery trial of cancer even more so…I hope it works for you to come this year- keep getting stronger, you are loved!

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Nancy Radding

Hi again Margit!

I didn’t know about the fires in Jordan- it’s very disconcerting, isn’t it. The fiery trial of cancer even more so…I hope it works for you to come this year- keep getting stronger, you are loved!

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Carmel Widner

So glad to get the update from the Oaks and your unique take on the disaster – I tried following the news but hard to get accurate and local info – so so relieved that my beloved Oaks has survived! I hope the Arcade buildings, post office, library and Libbey Park are intact too! I was with you just weeks before the tragedy and I am so shaken by all the events – especially the recent mudslides in the area – praying for you all and I can’t wait to come back to be with you all

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Nancy Radding

Hi Carmel, thank you for keeping up on us and for caring, it has shaken all of us in different ways. I look forward to seeing you soon!!

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Roz Cole

You were injured while biking?!? I always knew exercise is bad for your health!!! Joking. Really. Please take better care of yourself. I’m hoping to return to the Oaks this year, and now eager to see what’s new.

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Nancy Radding

Hi Roz! Quick witted as ever! I love that in you- now that you’re a CA resident you HAVE to come say hello!

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joyce sacks

Nancy, thank you so much for your beautifully written heartfelt description of the fire and it’s effect on the Oaks Spa., my
home away from home! I am married over 50 years now, and I spent my 25th Anniversary present from my husband at
the Oaks and have except for the 6 years he has been sick, been coming back every year.
I worried so about the Oaks during the fires and even though I stressed about Montecito and Ventura, my first questions
were about the little town of Ojai which so many of us ” tourists” have come to love.
Trying to understand, am I correct in assuming the fire did not actually hit the hotel itself, but just the surrounding area?
Then again, came the mudslides has that complicated your clean up efforts?
So sorry about your accident Wonder Woman but I feel that someone in the fantastic physical condition you are in, will
make a speedy and complete recovery.
I too am looking forward to my next trip to The Oaks Spa knowing it will be back to it’s regular and beautiful old self again.
love
Joyce

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Nancy Radding

Hi Joyce!! Yes, the fire was mostly up in the hills, so the higher elevation homes were the ones that got burned, sadly. In town was a lot of smoke and ash, that’s what we’re cleaning up….I think the old place will look great when you are able to return!! XX

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Dona

It’s been awhile since I have been to the Oaks but I immediately thought of you when I heard of the fire. I thought of the hike up the mountain trail just out your back door and knew the Oaks would be in jeopardy. We don’t have fires or mudslides in Northern Michigan- just ice and snow and wind off the Lake. There are many opportunities for renewal in our lives- if we can only see it. Bless you and all those at the Oaks for recognizing the opportunity amid the devastation.

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Nancy Radding

Hi Dona, thank you for your kind comment, you are correct, how we view what happens is ESSENTIAL! Hope to see you this year!!

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Angela Milto

I am so happy to hear you have healed and The Oaks is on the mend. You have been in our thoughts and prayers. Can’t wait to visit The Oaks again some day soon!

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Nancy Radding

Thank you so much Angela! I miss my Sophia, give her a big hug and smile for me- I hope you find your way to us this year sometime!! xxx

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MARUA

Aloha Nancy,
You are a true representative of the beautiful Ojai Valley and ti’s spirit and also The Oaks. Sheila and her family must be very proud of you and your representation for what The Oaks stands for. Positive, Determined, Supportive, Encouraging and Blessed Spiritual place we all love and appreciate so much.
I am looking forward to my 2018 visit as soon as you open. Thank you for being such a beautiful and inspirational spirit.

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Diane Gustafson

I am so happy to get the news that I have been looking for. Your attitude, Nancy, is a model for us all when we experience difficulties. I think of you all and pray that you are doing ok. Love especially to Maria, Lynnie, Maura, and Christine. My family gave me a gift certificate for The Oaks ( bought early in December) and I am eager to come again and see you all and experience the joy of My Happy Place.

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Nancy Radding

Hi Diane!! I will pass your love on to the girls!! YES plan on using that GC….we’ll be ready for you soon!

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Norma Keating

So glad all are safe and sound. Ojai is so special, as a spiritual center and artistic endeavors. My warm, healing wishes to all!

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Kathryn Beebe

Nancy – You are a TOTAL INSPIRATION and such a wise woman ! Celebrated my 70th at Oaks at Ojai last October, my very 1st visit there. Can’t wait to see you and everyone again on March 1st. My darling daughter, Tania (from Texas), will join me & it’s her 1st visit.

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Nancy B Radding

Hi Kathryn!! I remember you and your celebration! I’m thrilled you’re coming back our way and bringing Tania with you!! xx

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Bunny Humphreys-Hogg

So looking forward to returning to the Oaks . Thank you for posting these inspiring comments . See you soon Bunny

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Krista Carlson

Hey Strong Girl, Joyous grandmother, Beloved teacher, thanks so very much for your uplifting and reassuring post to us all. And I’m so moved to see so many Oaks guest’s responses, and your replying to every one, my goodness! I pray for Oaks staffers who may have had losses – let us know if there is some way we can contribute and support them.

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Carolyn Questad

Sorry to hear bout all losses. Fire destroys & rebuilds differently.. May God bless your community efforts. Waiting for progress updates

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Roberta Goldberg

Nancy,
Thanks so much for a forum to communicate our deep concerns about all of you dear friends at the Oaks. Having been a guest for 40 years, I have been worried about many individuals in all departments—housekeeping,kitchen,program, night staff, front desk, grounds, facial services,etc, all the dedicated folks who have taken care of me, my mom, daughter and numerous friends I have introduced to the Oaks. Please know I am thinking about you and wish you well and perseverance through these tough times. Nancy, I know you are a strong model for everyone. They are lucky to have you.
I am ready to book my room week of April15-ready or not. Nothing could keep me away! No need to post this, Nancy
With support and admiration,
Roberta

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Donna Guittard

I just read your post Nancy. From Canada, I watched every day, every hour, to see how Ojai was managing through what must have been terrifying. I’m so sorry to hear that you were injured too. this must have been quite a tough winter for you on both fronts. My sister and I came to the Oaks for many years, and my experiences at The Oaks truly changed my life. Ojai was a second home. Luckily my partner also wants to visit Ojai and so we have rented a house at the end of March. I’ll drop in to say hello to everyone when we are there.

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