They had been high school sweethearts 30 years ago in Pennsylvania. But after a misunderstanding over a date that Bloss didn't show up for, they split, moved to different states, got into medicine unbeknownst to each other, married and had children.
The timing wasn't perfect for a romance, but a close friendship blossomed. Bloss moved to Los Angeles and they hooked up with other friends and rented a house in Granada Hills. But the neighborhood was a little dicey, so in July, they jumped when a friend moved out of state and offered to rent them her trailer in Sylmar's Oakridge Mobile Home Park.
"It was wonderful," Bloss said. The homes were owned by good, friendly people who were longtime residents. They kept their places up and the streets were lined with mature trees.
"You could hear the coyotes at night, and there were hiking trails you could go into for nice strolls. It felt very safe and very peaceful," said Chandler, whose 12-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son swam in the community pool and made new friends.
Bloss was happier than he'd been in years, and loved being so close to mountain, sea and desert, and to so many cultural attractions.
Chandler and Bloss were thinking of buying the trailer together. The roommate arrangement worked for both of them, they said, and Bloss loved being around Chandler's children, who he said made him feel young again. Sure, there was always the threat of fire, but the owner wanted just $150,000 -- California living on the cheap.
Then came Friday night. Bloss woke to the smell of smoke and looked outside. Seeing an orange glow over the hill, he hurried to Chandler's bedroom to roust her and then her son (the daughter was with friends). Chandler grabbed up some photos and a few items of clothing. Bloss got their computers and they sped away just ahead of the flames.
Saturday afternoon in the Sylmar High gym, when Bloss saw that their address was not on the blackboard, he wept.
"Maybe there's a mistake," Chandler said, telling me she couldn't begin to think about where she might live until she sees for herself that the trailer is gone.
When I checked in with her Sunday night, there was cause for hope. She'd driven out to the site earlier in the day. A policeman wouldn't let her in, but he said a home matching the description of hers was still standing.
When or whether they'll ever get back into the park remains uncertain. For the time being, they're staying with friends. It could have been worse, Bloss said, if they owned the home.
Bloss said something in Korean that he'd picked up during his Army days.
"It basically means, 'That's the way things go.' In the Army, there are many times when things go badly and you just say, 'Stuff happens.' You suck it up and you drive on."
Stuff happens, indeed.
The Earth shakes. The fires rage. The population expands.
And the sunsets are brilliant, especially this time of year.