For many years, Sasha Fisher had struggled as a single mother to raise her two children, always maintaining a positive “can do” attitude as a model for her children. “I wanted to show my children that nothing is impossible if you have enough love for yourself and are willing to work hard.”
Originally from Minneapolis, Fisher grew up in the San Diego area. She first visited Idyllwild in 2005. “I fell in love with the town as an arts community,” she remembered. She moved here in 2007 from Hemet. She met local contractor Marty Prevosto and began a new life in Apple Canyon. Two years ago, with the Mountain Fire, that peaceful idyll and the new life Fisher and Prevosto were building was brutally interrupted when fire destroyed their home.
When the fire began, Prevosto was on a job in Pine Cove and Fisher at work in The Fort at Lady of the Lake. They tried to get to their home by taking three different routes and were stopped each time. Finally, they spent the night in the Lake Hemet Market parking lot watching the fire burn the hills across from them — the hills that surrounded their sequestered valley. Not until Thursday, four days after the fire began, did they learn their home had been totally destroyed.
They spent the next year struggling to recoup, emotionally and physically — dealing with county bureaucracy to get permits to clear and rebuild, living in an Idyllwild rental so son Dylan could attend school. “It was a very difficult year,” said Fisher, “the loss of everything, the insurance, the bureaucracy, the emotion. You have to keep the emotional stuff harnessed so that you can function for your family. It was very hard, but so many people were very kind.
“We found a rental that we loved, owned by Jane and Ron Huddleston. I told Jane we loved the house but our funding [from insurance] had not yet come through. She said ‘I don’t care about the funding. Here is the key.’ People had been waiting to give us furniture. It all was so lovely how it came together.”
Finally, in August 2014, about one year after the Mountain Fire, they were able to resettle on their land. “It was beautiful to be back on our property,” said Fisher. “It has a special feeling; it’s a sacred place.”
Then in August 2015, a rebirth and resettlement of a different kind occurred.
“It had always been my dream to have a storefront gallery and boutique of my own, a place to display beautiful art,” said Fisher. Fisher has a college background in art, business and psychology. “I’ve always been in business and retail but my passion is art.”
Then, once again during a providential and auspicious August, Fisher learned the Spruce Moose was for sale. “A friend told me it was for sale, that it was right for me and that I should talk with Bryan [Tallent] and John [Stonitsch],” she remembered. “I came in asking for information and the next day Bryan said, ‘Let’s do this.’ They could not have been more supportive. It all happened very quickly.” Fisher took over on Oct. 1. “Just as Bryan and John did, I will be the owner in residence, present each day we are open,” she said.
Fisher said she will maintain the vision and many of the products, especially the candles Tallent makes, as hallmarks of the store. “What they have marketed and sold, we’ll preserve. It had always been like walking into a forest of dreams and we will keep that feeling going. I want to expand the art that is featured, and give local artists more opportunities to exhibit and sell.”
Three summers, one of fire and ash, a second of resettlement and rebuilding, and a third of realizing a long-held dream have consummated a progression Fisher believes is truly miraculous. “I want this for my children, to show what we as a family can accomplish together, by believing it can be done and by never giving up.”
Fisher and her family celebrate this Thanksgiving with gratitude for the support of friends and Idyllwild residents who helped them after the fire, for the Huddlestons who gave them a place to live when they had so little time to settle before Dylan’s school year began, and especially for Bryan and John who have helped Sasha realize a beautiful dream. “They have been like two dads to me, loving and kind. We are so grateful.”