In the days after the house fire last August, demolition and salvage crews swept through our home. The garage, attic, and roof were destroyed. Charred debris covered walls and the floor inside. Wet insulation had rained down through holes in the ceiling. Gasoline and plastic-infused smoke had filled the house, ruining most of our furniture and clothes. Shoes in our closet were sitting in an inch of filthy water and firefighting foam — which had saved the bones of the structure, but totaled a lot of our possessions.
The salvage crew swiftly, carefully, almost tenderly swept up items they thought might be saved, and took them away. That included the Barry Award for UNSUB, which was hanging on the wall in my office. I didn’t see it get packed up. I just saw the soot-blackened ceiling, walls, and bookshelves, and feared the worst.
Especially after the salvage crew dragged melted boxes down from the attic, and I found that all my actual copies of UNSUB were literally toast.
So yesterday, when we began unpacking boxes that had been stored for the last year, I was thrilled to discover the Barry Award — safe, sound, and beautiful. It will return to the wall in my newly rebuilt office, and I will look at it with relief and pride and joy, remembering how I felt when I received it.