Dec. 8 will always be a special day for Earnie Graham.
It isn’t a birthday or a holiday, but it’s something to be celebrated.
“We talk about that moment all the time,” Graham said of the day in 2010 when she saw her new home for the first time. “Cloud 9 – I know what it’s like to be on it. There’s no greater feeling.”
Last Dec. 8, hundreds of people and a camera crew crowded McCain Way, where Graham and her two children live, for the unveiling of a two-story Extreme Makeover home.
While Graham, her daughter, Tiffany, and son, T.J., enjoyed a vacation to Disneyland, volunteers and the crew from ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition demolished Graham’s small house and replaced it with a spacious three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath home.
A year later, Graham said the dust is still settling, but “the excitement is still there.”
It still isn’t uncommon to see people with cameras on the lawn or strangers asking for tours of the home. Trips to the grocery store will never be the same.
“We’ve been treated like celebrities,” she said with a laugh. “Of course, we say we’re not celebrities.”
Notoriety from the show allowed Graham to travel and spread the word about volunteerism during the past year. The family also had the opportunity to visit other Extreme projects and work on the other side of the fence as volunteers.
The family said it is looking forward to its first real Christmas in its home.
Last year, the family was limited in its celebrations, because the show had not aired and what lay behind the front door was a secret.
Bill Beazley Homes, the sponsor of the building project, said it planned to continue its relationship with the family by providing a Christmas tree, presents, and meal for Graham’s family and her sister-in-law’s family.
“We got really close to Earnie and her kids, and we just want to give something,” said Barbara Sanders, a broker at Prudential Beazley Real Estate.
Graham said the Beazleys have stayed in touch with her to make sure the house stays in working order.
“We haven’t had any problems,” she said. “I know it was built quickly and you would expect something to be wrong, but I can honestly say everything is working great.”
Sanders said the project has also brought a lot of respect for Bill Beazley Homes.
Over the past year, strangers still come up to employees wearing Bill Beazley shirts and praise them for the work they did for Graham and her family, Sanders said.
Tonight, Graham said she and her family will be sitting on the couch reliving the magic of last Dec. 8.