The 10th anniversary of a hard slap from Mother Nature!
Sept 05, 2004.
I woke up that morning and knew I had to leave home with all my relevant documents, just in case. The forewarning seemed closer to becoming a reality. It was 5.30am when my ‘hubby’ said “I think it’s coming our way, we have to leave, now!” No time to get dressed to look presentable, no time to pat on moisturizer to the face, no time or even urge for lipstick, only with T-shirt & jeans (woman’s intuition screamed: “stuff some clean underwear in your bag!”) and we headed out the door. Drove down US 1 heading inland to a friend’s house and all I could do was pray.
Other friends also arrived at this friend’s place, as a refuge. We were all mirrors of each other with deep frowns, not knowing what was to come, hyped with anxiety. We spent the next 14 hours with no social chatter, no wine & cheese, no music… only 1 program on the television, if it came on, for alerts.
Hurricane Frances came at us at 125 mph, she hovered for 12 hours with no mercy. She brought down trees, power poles & lines, whipped off roofs, flooded wherever and whatever she could.
When she finally got bored & decided to move on, ‘hubby’ & I decided it was better to face the music sooner rather than later and that long, slow post-hurricane drive home made me think of Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot, car-less roads, people-less walkways, only the sound of leftover winds…
This greeted me when I came home.
We were power less & phone less for 3 weeks. We simply ate out of cans & very frugally not knowing when & where we could get more food. I didn’t know about hurricanes, I didn’t know we had to keep hurricane food supplies (hey! I’m an urban idiot from sunny, tropical Singapore, ample good & cheap food everywhere & no hurricanes …) and as if that wasn’t enough, before anything became functional again, in 19 days Hurricane Jeanne decided to show us she had even better blowing power.
She made me almost homeless! …
And while those “snowbirds” were safely up north, we, the all-year residents, got called to “help” look after 24 destroyed units. Forget about calling for repairmen or contractors ~ they were non-existent then ~ we were on an Emergency status & depended on FEMA… ah yes, that’s when I also learned there was something called FEMA.
We lived like squatters in our own home for 18 months. No one could evict anyone, we all had nowhere to go to.
Survive I did, but my mindset got changed beyond my own imagination. On hindsight, all may have been blessings in disguise.
Life’s splinter of mirror bits became Reflections of My Life (by the Marmalade).
*the scrummy pics were taken with my stone-age cellphone ~ phone service was dead but hey! camera function worked… Hail Nokia!
Update: I guess I’m not the only one remembering that horrible, disastrous stretch of events. Local newspaper Treasure Coast Palm is, as well. Click on link to view, if curious.