I remember the floods and slides of 2005. Significant parts of Marin were inundated with water. One of my friends, an elderly lady, was homeless for almost a year (living in various friends’ houses) while her house was being repaired. Harold Lezzeni’s house was under repair for four years, but it wasn’t a dilatory insurance company that caused the delay. It took so long because Lezzeni, who is now 85 years old, repaired the entire house by himself:
THERE’S A Celtic blessing embedded in the stone wall near Harold Lezzeni’s Fairfax home. The sign, placed there by his father almost a century ago, reads, “May God bless the dwelling, Each stone and beam and stave, All food and drink and clothing, May health of men be always there.”
The signpost is almost all that’s left of the wall. The rest – as well as the blackberry bushes that grew behind it, the orchard that grew behind that and the hillside that supported them both – came crashing through Lezzeni’s living room on New Year’s Eve 2005, filling his home with mud and debris 4 feet deep.
Lezzeni, 85, has spent the past four years restoring his home in the Fairfax hills. He’s rebuilt the walls, replaced the windows and painstakingly restored the inlaid oak floor his father designed in the 1930s. And he’s done it without financial support from his insurance company, the federal government or the owner of the property whose slide damaged his home.
“I had a lot of people tell me it was too big a chore, too much to handle. But I kept at it,” said Lezzeni, an architect who designed the post offices in Fairfax, Ross and San Anselmo.
Lezzeni had been asleep for only a few hours on New Year’s Eve 2005 when he was awakened by what sounded “like a freight train” striking his home.
“The mud was approximately 4 feet deep in his living room,” said Fairfax Building Official Mark Lockaby. “The picture windows in his living room were bashed out, and his kitchen was completely full of mud. (Lezzeni) was trapped upstairs. The fire department had to rescue him out a window.”
The wall of mud hit Lezzeni’s home with such force that it knocked the tiles from the walls of his kitchen and bathroom, pushed his ’85 Buick up and over his retaining wall and twisted the trunk of a massive oak tree.
Read the rest here. It’s inspiring.