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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Family Tries To Rebuild Life After Home Fire

Eventually, Karen Worthley will replace her furniture, buy new tennis shoes, maybe even adopt another cat. But nothing can replace the 8-by-10 portrait of her son, Jason, taken the day after he was born.

A fire two weeks ago stole the color from Ed and Karen Worthley’s Coeur d’Alene home and left nothing but black. Charred flakes hang off the old upright piano just inside the door. Singed book pages mix with curled tile on the floor.

“It’s hard,” says Karen, hugging Harley, the yellow cat who survived. Bo, the black cat, died from the smoke. “There were things here that belonged to my sister, my mom. We can’t replace them.”

The Worthleys were in Spirit Lake when their 5-year-old neighbor started a fire on their living room couch. They’d taken him camping a week earlier. Their door was unlocked when he came in looking for Jason, who’s 9.

The neighbor boy’s mother brought him to see the damage a day later. He buried his head in her lap and cried.

“I told him I loved him and gave him a hug,” Karen says, ready to forgive. “I said, ‘Just promise you’ll never do this again.’ He finally shook his head.”

Ed isn’t as forgiving. The fire destroyed the maps and phones that are the lifeline of his fledgling timber management business. He and Karen were struggling between paychecks before the fire.

He pounds out his Camel cigarette with bitter energy as Karen says, “We’re down to our last $14.”

Friends and neighbors have overwhelmed the Worthleys with support. Karen had rented the house from her mother for nine years. She had no renter’s insurance.

Now, the Worthleys must find a home and salvage Ed’s business. Their new circumstances also mean Karen needs a job. And then there is the furniture…

“We were trying to get on our feet,” says Ed, with a disgusted glance at the burned house. “Now what?”

Betty Bray, Karen’s aunt, has opened a trust fund for the Worthleys at West One Bank. Any branch will take donations. The account number is 12000-428-7681. To give other help, call 667-8333 or 664-9358.

Unrequited love

Hayden Lake’s Tana Nichols got more entertainment than she expected when she bought two female geese a year ago. After one died, Tana decided to replace it with a male. She wanted cute little goslings.

Unfortunately, her female goose shunned the gander and longed for another - the family dog. The goose rubbed her neck on the Rottweiler/ Shepherd mix chained in the yard. The hussy tried climbing on the dog’s back.

Now, the poor dog climbs on top of its dog house whenever his feathered friend nears him. Guess he’s not interested in getting goosed…

Who are your neighbors?

So Pearl Jam’s bassist is moving onto land along the Spokane River and Patty Duke, aka Anna Pearce, lives in the Fort Grounds. Supposedly rock musician Steve Miller (you know, the Steve Miller Band) lives somewhere in Coeur d’Alene.

Who are the other big names in North Idaho - the people we want to know live here but plan on never disturbing? ‘Fess up about your neighbors to Cynthia Taggart, “Close to Home,” 608 Northwest Blvd., Suite 200, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho 83814; fax to 765-7149; or call 765-7128.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo