The Amazing Power of Beads

If there was a fire threatening your home and you had only minutes to grab a few things, what would you take? One Beading Daily reader and Beadwork contributor, Cathi Tessier, knows. Cathi was one of the estimated 500,000 people recently evacuated in the southern California wildfires. As of today, Cathi has still not returned to her home–she's not even sure yet whether there's still a home waiting for her.–Michelle Mach, Beading Daily editor 

 October 23, 2007

It was Sunday, mid-morning, when my husband called.

“Quick, pack up our important stuff. We’re going to evacuate. There’s a fire close by.”

I live and work for an RV park system, and as employees, we live in the resort in our motor home. Space is tight, and things must be very organized to live 24/7 in this lifestyle. My beads take up a good part of the storage areas. I peeked outside and saw a huge orange sun, smelled the thick smoke, and realized we were in big trouble. With only minutes to pack, I scrambled to sort and decide just what would fit in the trunk of our car.


A couple of folders with the important documents were the first things I grabbed. For my hubby, a couple pair of undies, pj's, and two changes of clothes. For me????? Oh boy! Big problem. Four cases of beads, needles, crimping pliers, eight jumbo spools of FireLine thread sizes 4, 6, 8 in black and also crystal. A couple of beading pads, Fiskar scissors, and oh yeah, one pair of panties, a bra, and an extra pair of jeans.

Ready to go.

Three days later, I am sitting among a sea of people in the parking lot of the local stadium, visiting with other evacuees, listening to their stories.  No showers in three days, no changes of clothes, horses, dogs, kids everywhere. Tens of thousands of homeless folks, worrying about their homes, their photos, their heirlooms, their clothes. There are tears, hugs, worry, and sadness. I pop the trunk of my car and look at my stuff. My beads are all there. I open some of the boxes, and just look at them.

I ask myself, “What was I thinking? How could these beads, valued at a couple of hundred dollars mean so much to me?”

I can’t explain it. But I’ll say this. It gives me comfort to know they are there. I know that if and when we have a home to return to, I will sit at my dining table, pull out a tube of Delica beads, thread up, and make a little bracelet. It will be my “miracles happen” bracelet. A reminder that life can take a turn in a split second, and if we don’t take the time to smell the roses, or bead the bead, if we don’t follow our hearts and indulge ourselves in our passions, then we are not living.

At this writing I am safe, and while my future is unknown, I take comfort in knowing that although I don’t have my pj's, my beads are in the trunk of my car.


Cathi Tessier
Ramona, California


Thank you, Cathi, for letting us share your story and reminding us just how important those "little things in life" (a.k.a. "beads") are. We are all thinking of you!

Next week: A peyote-stitch project from Beadwork magazine. Don't forget about the Beading Daily challenge–only one week left to enter!


Michelle Mach is the editor of Beading Daily.  She will be taking time to "bead the bead" this weekend.

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