Corral Canyon Fire Victims See Positive Side of Tragedy
• Although Extensive Book Collection Was Lost, He Leaves His Mark at Legacy Park
BY VANESSA HARRIS
BY VANESSA HARRIS
When Christopher Hudson, a longtime Malibu resident, wrote a letter-to-the-editor regarding the tragic loss he and his wife took after the most recent fire, he touched the hearts of many of our readers, those who shared similar feelings as they recovered from their losses, and those in the Malibu community-at-large who watched the toll taken by three local wildfires in 2007.
Hudson, a publisher who has dedicated his life to the making of books, said he has found that in times of emotion it is best to set pen to paper as was shown in his letter. He sees his writing as a way of “getting things off his chest before rebuilding and putting life back together.” As owner of one of over 50 homes lost in the fire, Hudson eloquently spoke on behalf of all the residents in this time of trial and tribulation, but a time that can result in reflective learning and gratefulness.
Hudson, whose native land is England, bought the home in Malibu in 1989 that he resided in for the past 18 years with his wife, Lois Lyon. In this home were the Hudsons’ extensive collections that took years to accumulate—music, maps, art and artifacts, personal journals and artwork, and a 5000-volume library of books were all quickly lost as flames ripped through their home leaving nothing behind.
Since the fire, nothing from the Hudsons’ home of nearly 20 years has been recovered. For now, the two are staying in a townhouse in Malibu courtesy of their insurance policy. Although they say this residence will never compensate for a lost home filled with irreplaceable memories, they indicate that they are thankful to have been treated fairly in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy. Further, Hudson recounts that the “overwhelming majority of the community and officials have been wonderful,” and he said that “adversity brings out the best in people.”
This seems to be especially apparent in Hudson’s case as he takes a more liberal perspective in the punishment of the men who are being tried on charges related to the spread of the fire. Hudson is not sure if a jail sentence is the best way to handle the situation because he believes it is “not going to help the victims, particularly if sentenced.”
Instead of focusing energy on their verdict, he believes that as a victim, it is best to be patient and do what is important to recover.
In terms of his personal recovery, Hudson has taken a number of steps. Among them, he wrote an inscription on a tile to be part of the display at the Malibu Legacy Park. Hudson, who has a background in Latin, inscribed on one of the tiles “Domus deletasest Malibu manet jucunda.” Translated, Hudson’s message is “Our house burnt down but Malibu still remains a joy to us.”
Following the numerous hits Malibu has taken with natural disasters in the past few years, Hudson has observed that emotionally, a number of people are thinking enough is enough. However, for him and his family, Hudson will continue to stay loyal to the community that remains a joy to him despite the tragedy that will ultimately be only part of a much bigger picture.