“As long as my family is together, we’re going to be good!”

Alexander and Olivia and Valentino and Teddy will return to Ventura.

by Jennifer Tipton

That’s what 10 ½ year old Alexander said. He and his twin sister Olivia were baking holiday cookies with their mom on the evening of December 4th at their home in Ondulando when “we heard the fire was coming”, said Alexander.

Alexander and Olivia are 5th graders at Poinsettia Elementary School where Alexander is the president of the student council and Olivia was just presented with the key to the City of Ventura after being recognized as the student demonstrating the greatest empathy.

The twins’ parents didn’t wait for the mandatory evacuation once the ash became thick and they saw the hammock in the pool swaying from the violent winds. “It was pretty scary seeing the smoke behind our house, it looked really far away but for safety and health issues, my dad said we should go to a hotel “, Olivia said. “I asked if we could bring our Christmas presents, but my dad said no because we’d just be gone a couple days”, she added. “We really didn’t think anything of it”, said their mom.

They did grab a few clothes, their 3-year-old Maltese poodle and 1-year-old Bichon poodle leaving all else behind including mom’s car in the driveway. When they did receive notice of the mandatory evacuation, “we didn’t want to turn back”, the kids reported. A neighbor later sent the family a picture via text message, “it looked completely different, our home was gone.”

Celebrating Christmas in Chicago with family and friends, as is tradition, the twins return with their parents January 3rd. Mom said, “we are definitely returning to Ventura, it is our home, we are part of the community and we love Ventura!” The family has found a place to rent in Oxnard for now so the kids can return to their own school. “It’s pretty sad about the things I left behind in my room, but I want to go back to school and see my friends”, Olivia told me. She added they have “like thirteen friends” that also lost their homes…

The family had just purchased their home on Via Ondulando last February and moved in April, 2017.

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