After the fire – Beverley Nurse rebuilds her life

Beverley Nurse of Glacier View Meadows is a lively combination of friendliness and fire as she describes the anticipation, adventure, triumph and tragedy that have been her relationship with her beloved mountain property in the 12th filing in Glacier View Meadows. After the devastating High Park Fire destroyed her home last summer, Beverly was determined to rebuild and has succeeded beyond all expectations.

Beverley fell in love with the Colorado mountains when she was 20 years old and on vacation with her husband, Jack. He promised her then and there that she would have her mountain home. Though they both lived and worked in Moline, Ill., where Jack was employed by Illinois Bell, they came back to Colorado every summer. They finally bought the property in 1981 and vacationed there for years in a foldout camper. They built the first house in 1998. The construction took about four months, during which time they lived in a motor home on the property. The home was completed just in time for Thanksgiving that year.

On June 14, 2012, Beverley was evacuated to a motel. When she returned to her beloved home, she saw that the fire had taken the house, the garage, the storage shed and everything in it. Magnificent pines surrounding the burned home were all scorched, blackened skeletons. She found in the ruins the carcasses of her Singer sewing machine and also a Swedish typewriter that had belonged to her mother.

A few of the items that did survive were several pieces of an antique child’s tea set and another ceramic teapot that she was able to salvage as grim souvenirs. But the oddest of all the surviving items were two small, fragile American flags, somewhat shredded but otherwise intact. These flags are to Beverly — and to her daughter, Linda — an eerie reminder of her own indomitable spirit.

Beverley’s hairdresser informed her of a home available for rent on Montcalm Drive, a nice place that was affordable and close to her damaged property. Through the insurance reimbursement and the sale of a second home in Illinois, Beverley was able to finance the building and re-furnishing of a new home on the same property. She was able to move in eight months later, on Jan. 18.

Home building is always a trial, but Beverley found it harder to accept the inefficiencies after the previous tragedy. There are still frustrations with some if the details, such as the problems with the light connected to the garage door opener. Because the system is under warranty, the company won’t make any money on the repairs and will not come up to the property unless they have another job to do. There were also a couple of incidents that put an additional strain on Beverley’s spirit. First, Jack passed away in a nursing home in Illinois on Dec. 14 and then she broke her arm on Jan. 19. Fortunately, her daughter, Linda Ekstam, came out from Illinois to help her move, deal with the building issues and furnish her home. Additional assistance came from local merchants, one of which was The Cupboard, who gave discounts to anyone who had been a victim of the fire. There has been volunteer help, donating and planting trees among other types of assistance, for which she is grateful.

Linda will soon have to return home to Coal Valley, Ill., and Beverley will be on her own again. She still can’t drive until her arm heals completely but she is hopeful that it won’t take much longer before she’s back on the road. Her final statement about her experiences speak volumes about her strength of character and conviction:

“I’ve waited 68 years to live in the mountains and I’m not going to let some dumb fire chase me out.”

I wish we all could be more like Beverley.

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