This is the season of giving. While we all appreciate ribbon-adorned packages beneath a shimmering Christmas tree, there are many other ways of giving heartfelt presents. If you're looking for a positive way to give and make a difference, I ask those who are able to pass along the gift of charity to help save a piece of queer paranormal history.
The historic Villa Montezuma in San Diego is an incredible piece of Queen Anne architecture. For a brief time, it was home to pianist, author, and medium Jesse Shepherd who still haunts the dwelling to this very day. Built in 1887, the structure suffered damage in a fire in 1986 and its foundation needs repairs. A non-profit organization, Friends of Villa Montezuma, has worked tirelessly since the 1970s to renovate the structure and return it to its former glory.
Structural concerns have closed the home to tours, though the society hopes it isn't permanent. While I'm sure they do appreciate gracious, larger donations, they gladly accept whatever the public can offer. In these troubling economic times, our pockets are lighter, but the same applies to non-profit organizations. Without a helpful hand, so much of our history will disappear from the landscape. The past is more fragile than you may think.
If you feel this house is worth saving, you can make a donation or become a sponsor for a restoration project. It can be as simple as becoming a member or, if you live in the San Diego area, you can donate your time and aid the society at events.
And remember: not all presents can be bound by bows. Sometimes the best benefactions are those which warm the soul and come without benefit of reciprocation.