The bad news came Sunday that the lodgepole pine cabin Frank and Jeanne Moore constructed on their property east of Idleyld Park in 1974 was among the 109 homes lost to the Archie Creek fire.
Frank Moore, 97, is already talking about rebuilding. He figures he and Jeanne, his wife of 77 years, could live there until he’s 105, maybe 110.
“As long as we have each other, we can always start over again. Even after 100 years,” he said.
Despite the fact that the house was filled with memorabilia — from Frank’s World War II medals to photographs of notable visitors who came to fly fish on the North Umpqua River — the Moores remained focused Monday on the blessings that remain.
Just as he said before the fate of their house was known, Frank Moore said what really matters is friends and family.
“The main thing is that we still have each other and our wonderful family, and that’s what life’s all about in my judgment. We share. We have been and are so blessed that ‘Boy, thank you Lord,’ that’s all I can say,” he said.
For him, the aftermath of the fire feels like a bump in the road.
But Jeanne said it feels like a bit more than a bump in the road to her.
“I don’t know, all I can think about is all the things I didn’t pick up. I really believed, when we were at that house, I thought it can’t last that long. And I didn’t take anything. I didn’t take anything extra at all, and I tell ya I missed having some of the things that we used,” she said.
She wondered if a little cherry tomato plant that had been growing well could have somehow survived.
And she wished she’d come away with some of the pictures.
“Well, we just know the house, I guess, the house is gone, but maybe there’s something lying around in there somewhere. We’ll see,” she said.
Frank said he couldn’t help wondering if he could have saved the house if he’d stayed there and pumped water out of the large pond on their property, but Jeanne said she didn’t see how that would have worked with the worst fire they’d ever seen spreading toward their property.
They are both glad to be safe in the comfortable home of family members west of Roseburg. There, they are also not far from the North Umpqua River, though it is miles downstream. The Moores love that river and fought to protect it. That’s why the Frank and Jeanne Moore Wild Steelhead Management Area along the river is named for them. They also founded the Steamboat Inn, which they sold in the 1970s.
Frank takes comfort from the fact that whatever damage the fire has done, the river will remain.
“The river is part of me, or I’m part of the river or something, whichever,” Frank Moore said.