THIS IS A TALE of two fortunes. One is lost, another found. Both involve houses.

In one tale, a blaze broke out quickly in the misty morning hours in Canyon. The bohemian enclave on the backside of Montclair was just waking up, when the cry was unleashed.

“Fire!” screamed the neighbors as they raced to their telephones to call one another. The old phone tree, in the process of being updated, broke down.

Two structures were burning. Lois Aldrich, who lived nearby, raced to her elderly neighbor’s place to awaken him.

Fire is a frightening force. But when you’re surrounded by trees with only one route out, it’s beyond scary. In this case, two homes were lost, but no one was hurt.

The redwoods, as dense as they are, were conduits for moisture — which collected on the springy forest floor. Mother Nature was the firefighter’s best friend.

Meanwhile, in our neighboring community of Oakland, houses are going up as symbols of hope for hard working families who qualify for Habitat for Humanity.

A Fourth of July Build-a-Thon attracted 200-plus volunteers, who framed six new homes and raised over $70,000 in pledges. With work going on each day, two families have already been chosen for their new dwellings, in a complex of a dozen new homes.

You don’t have to be a contractor to help. You don’t even have to have a hammer. You just have to have a heart.

Core classes

Where does your strength originate? If you’re speaking in anatomical terms, it comes from your gut — your core. Each Monday through Thursday, dancer Janet Welsh helps people strengthen their core with a blend of pilates, yoga and dance — which she calls Core Flow.

The location is the Montclair Women’s Cultural Arts Center, which provides an interesting historic backdrop for getting in touch with your body. The nine o’clock classes are $15. Learn more by calling 510-543-5442.

The ‘strip’

The strip may be naked now, but it won’t be for long.

The Glenview Neighborhood Association is planting the Park Boulevard median strip this month. And in a spirit of cooperation, there’s even free child care for volunteer gardeners — at 9 a.m. on Aug. 14 and 28. Contact Erin Moore at 510-336-0365 for more information.

And they call it…

“Puppy Love.” A boy and a girl — different backgrounds but similar interests — making a commitment to love, honor and obey. Their masters, that is.

Yes, the wedding of the summer has taken place in Montclair, and apparently no one has a bone to pick except the bride and groom.

The pooch named Penny was dressed in lovely formal attire that allowed her to show off her legs. The groom was a real catch, with an obvious affection for his mate that went beyond the usual panting and licking. Rumor has it there’s a video of the event, which may surface as we enter the dog days of summer.

Punny Plate

Spotted on a green car driving through the Caldecott Tunnel, the vanity plate: DSEPTIV. The make of the car eluded motorist Chris A., who says that may have been the driver’s intent.


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