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Damaged homes won’t stop Easter traditions in Montecito

Posted at 8:11 PM, Apr 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-01 23:11:33-04

For many residents displaced by the mudslide on January 9, 2018 today’s holiday was most likely spent in a rented home or a hotel room.  For two families whose homes were damaged in the mudslides, they were just thankful to be together.

The DieBold and Glanville families are not only related, they own homes just blocks apart in Montecito.  Both families were forced to find alternate housing after the mudslide, and Sunday they had to shape their Easter traditions around a new setting as they wait for their Montecito neighborhoods to be rebuilt.

"We don’t have many things that are ours here at all," Ann DieBold said sitting in the living room of her recently leased home.  "I have a few dishes and that’s all that we have is dishes." 

Ann and her husband, Ken, lived in their Olive Mill Road home for 22 years after Ken built it by hand.  Three weeks after the mudslide, Ann was allowed back into her home for thirty minutes to take a few personal items.  "For each one of my kids, the day the sheriff took us back they gave us one plastic bag and I took one thing for each person," Ann said.  

Almost three months later, Ann says her home was recently cleared of mud on the interior and was completely gutted, while other homes nearby have already been bulldozed down.  "We’re really anxious. We want to go back.  We want our home back the way it was if we can get there because there were so many memories for us," she said.

Despite relying on a borrowed bed for her son and replacing clothing with items donated or bought, it didn’t stop the family’s Easter plans.  "At first I thought how am I going to do this but I mean I knew what pots and pans I used and what platters and I don’t have any of that anymore but it doesn’t seem to really matter," Ann said, motioning at the bustling kitchen.

Ann says she’s just thankful to have a long-term place for her family to stay, much like her sister-in-law Christie Glanville, whose family was evacuated out of their Glenn Oaks neighborhood home by helicopter.  "It was the most scared I have ever felt, but at the same time the safest I have ever felt," Glanville explained.

Glanville said her bedroom was only 200 feet from a home that was not only completely destroyed, but whose occupant died.  Other nearby neighbors lost homes and lives as well.

When the helicopter came, Glanville says she only had time to grab her phone and a vest before she and her son were lifted to safety.  Her husband, John, stayed at the home to care for their two dogs.  "At the beginning you just you’re like I really don’t need anything and then as time goes on you feel like you need more of your things and you begin to remember things that you did have," she said.

It could be a year or more before infrastructure in Glanville’s neighborhood is rebuilt and her family can return home, she says.  In the meantime, Glanville is thankful her family can be together for Easter, even in unfamiliar surroundings.  "If the family’s all together and the tradition is there, then that’s what then it doesn’t have to be in the same yard."

Both families say it was difficult to find a rental property in Santa Barbara.  Both stayed in hotels, then a condominium, before finding a long-term home to lease.  However, they look forward to creating a new normal and celebrating future holidays in their temporary homes.