This Isn’t Kansas Anymore

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I just got back in town, and I have tons of stories to share. The thing that has been on my mind most, however, has been all of the hurricanes hitting Florida where my Mom is. Her home has been thoroughly damaged, the roof collapsed, my old bedroom is destroyed and gone. The one thing found from my room that was okay was a picture of little Greta and I that used to be on the dresser.
A lot of people who live in Florida don’t have power right now. It’s difficult to get calls through, because many of the phone lines are down. My Mom did get through once to say that my family was safe. On the way back to New York in the plane, I watched CNN showing the town in Florida where I spent my teenage years getting hit by torrents of rain and wind bending the trees this way and that. Nature is a powerful thing.
The boardwalk is completely gone. The one in Stuart by the water. The one by the old theater that little Gret and I would run down to and have our lunches. The one that my Mom and I would often picnic at year after year. We would sit there for hours, watching the birds and the tide come in, telling stories and eating the homemade ice cream from the shop down the street.
I felt sad hearing those places and things were gone. It was kind of like when my Grandma’s Japanese garden that I loved so much was destroyed by new owners. As sad as I was, the garden will always live in my memory, where no one can touch it. And the boardwalk, and my room how it used to be are now safe there, too.
I’m just thankful that my family and friends are okay. I just got off the phone with my mom this morning and the roof that had been fixed a day before Hurricane Jeanne landed is now half in the pool in the backyard and half in the front yard. My Mom has lived five different places over the past month – evacuating as far as Georgia with my Grandma, then later over to the west coast of Florida. She has a few of her favorite possessions sitting on the dashboard of her car, as she’s been pushed from place to place because of the hurricanes hitting. She taking it all in stride, working hard to just make things right again. And as my Grandma said, “At least the people are okay, because the things are only things in the end.” Those two women are my heroes.
Mark has been working with his fire-fighter teams, surveying damage, and helping others. He said that driving through places around where they live looks like a warzone. A lone television sitting in the middle of the road. Signs wedged into trees. People’s personal possessions strewn everywhere for miles and miles.
I’ve spent the morning trying to arrange a flight to go down and help them rebuild as much as I can. Those times volunteering for Habitat for Humanity are coming into play now! And at the very least, with Grandma’s oven still standing, I can bake up some mean cupcakes as we picnic in the rubble of it all.
I’m so very thankful you are all safe. I can’t wait to give you huge hugs.
Keep up the fight.
I love you guys so much.