Just two months after the Valley Fire, Middletown has moved from scenes of despair to a measure of delight -- all tempered, of course.
"Homecoming was supposed to be that week, and them the fire comes," said Shaun Roderick, a teacher.
Homecoming has come back and this time in a more meaningful way.
"It means there's people here for you. There's more people. There's more happiness. There's no more sadness going on," said Rose Duncan, a student.
Telling the stories of all the 97 kids at Middletown High School who lost their homes might take another two months, so Duncan will do for now.
VIDEO: San Ramon woman collects homecoming dance outfits for Valley Fire victims
Homecoming outfits collected for Valley Fire victims
It didn't take long watching all the images of the Valley Fire on TV for a San Ramon woman to see a need and want to fill it. Nancy Rosenblum has collected dresses, shoes, and purses so Middletown High School students affected by the Valley Fire have a perfect outfit for the homecoming dance.
As her house burned, Duncan's father, the battalion chief, had been dispatched elsewhere. Her dad was fighting other fires.
"We didn't know if he was OK. We didn't know because four fire fighters had been blown over by the fire already," Duncan said.
Not only students lost homes, staff too.
"There was a reason we lost our home. Does it make us stronger for the kids? Does it help us help them get through something that traumatic as a teenager?" Roderick said.
"You may have lost everything but we never lose each other. Just stuff, each other is what matters, really," Duncan said.
Ruins to resolve.
READ MORE: Click here to see our full coverage on the Valley Fire