The Heartbreaking End Of Stephanie Hamlet’s Dream – July 13, 2010
Kevin L. Hoover
ARCATA – Stephanie Hamlet moved to Humboldt to realize the Arcata Dream – to open her own funky little shop, selling crafts fashioned by friends along with her herbal and homeopathic potions, with nights devoted to music also by and for her friends.
In May, 2008, she rented a space in the old Alliance Store and opened up The Emerald, and set about advertising it. One day, Hamlet went around downtown Arcata pinning up little flyers for The Emerald. “It’s my dream,” she explained with a serene smile.
“The entire community is welcome to bring in any items they make (clothes, art, jewelry) to sell at the shop on consignment,” Hamlet wrote in an e-mail. “This new business will really benefit the community. This is going to be the hottest shop in town, especially with the pirate murals on the walls! It is also owned and operated by a 23-year-old woman, which is an inspiration to all young women out there.”
The Eye ran a photo of the hopeful young Hamlet, living her dream with her new business.
How profitable the little enterprise was is not known, but like many Arcatans, Hamlet supplemented her income in the booming cannabis industry. “Her friends would grow pot and hire her to pick and trim it for them,” said her aunt, Friday Hamlet, a South Dakota resident. “She would make thousands of dollars.”
Hamlet’s Arcata idyll lasted only a few months. On Sept. 29, 2008, a fire tore through the Alliance Store building, gutting The Emerald and rendering the historic structure unuseable – as it remains to this day.
“This is my hopes and dreams going up in flames,” Hamlet told the Times-Standard. “This is my heart and soul. My life’s work went into this.”
Arcata Fire discovered a 214-plant, 340 square foot cannabis grow in the building, with some 14 grow lights and the usual homebrew electrical rig taxing the building’s aged wiring. The fire’s origins weren’t traced directly to the grow – the blaze originated somewhere in the wiring around the old store’s meat locker. No one was prosecuted.
“It broke her heart,” said Friday. “She had been working very hard to make her potions and lotions and things.”
Hamlet moved on, but things weren’t the same for her. She got married the following June and traveled to Europe. On returning, she told her aunt that she was giving up on resuming her Arcata life.
“Forget it,” she said, announcing plans to move to Southern California and get a fresh start.
She never made it.
On Oct. 1, 2009, one year nearly to the day after her dream went up in flames, a blue-colored, unconscious Hamlet was dropped off at the Mad River Community Hospital ER by an unidentified male, who promptly disappeared. She had no heartbeat.
The coroner’s report lists heavy alcohol consumption and multiple prescription medicines as the cause of death.
Stephanie Hamlet’s obituary describes her as “a doctor of alternative medicine, a world traveler, writer and poet.”
EUREKA, Calif. – Stephanie Hamlet, 25, Eureka, passed away Thursday, Oct. 1, 2009.
She was a doctor of alternative medicine, a world traveler, writer and poet.
She will be truly missed.
Survivors include her parents, Gene and Lynne Hamlet; her brother, Greg Hamlet; and all her friends.
Condolences may be sent to FVM Hamlet.