This is a completely impromptu post and has nothing to do with books or writing, but our family has been reminiscing all day and I wanted to share some thoughts.
Twenty years ago, TODAY, our family survived Hurricane Andrew while living in Miami, Florida.
Andrew, a Category 5 (the highest) storm was, at the time, the costliest storm in U.S. history with an estimated $45 billion dollars in damage.
On August 24, 1992 our family, including Mom, Dad and us five kids, boarded up our house and then piled in the car to evacuate. As we walked out to the car, anxious and uncertain, my dad commented on how calm the night was: perfectly clear sky of a million stars and no wind. I can close my eyes and see that sky.
Who could have guessed the devastation only a few hours away.
We traveled farther in-land to the house of family we were good friends with. I managed to find my journal entry about the storm. Written in my ten-year-old cursive is this:
The wind would whistle and you could here the rain. Finally my dad woke up (around 4 a.m.) and we moved into the master bedroom. All 19 people (three families). We put mattresses on the windows. The five hours I stayed with Jesica (my friend in the family) we listened to the radio, talked and held the little ones. For a while me and Jesica leaned up against a mattress (because a few small rocks broke through the window and the wind was moving it) – you could feel the vibrations.
Finally at about 9:30 a.m., when the storm wasn’t very bad we got to go out and it was a lot cooler. We had breakfast.
Then we went home. (I can remember my mom crying as we drove through all the devastation – houses flattened, whole neighborhoods gone, all the trees gone, cars tossed like toys and even pieces of wood rammed through the trunks of palm trees.) My house lost a lot of the tile off the roof, we lost one big tree in front and one in back. Our pine tree was stripped and we lost our pool screen. Our pool turned green. The shutters we put on the sliding glass doors came off. The fan on the patio blades’ turned down. We lost no windows, but the carpets in the living room, dining room and the boys’ room got wet.
(A few days later, I wrote:) This hurricane has made people humble and friendly.
And it truly did. Neighbors and strangers alike came together to help feed one another, clear debris, repair homes, give shelter and more. I distinctly remember my mom, who was a faithful food storage keeper, filling up our little red wagon with food and water and sending us around the neighborhood to give it to our neighbors who needed help.
Unlike many, we were able to stay in our home, but for three weeks we had no power, no hot water and no clean drinking water. My mom cooked on a Coleman stove, Dad kept the generator full of gas and us kids spent our days picking up roof tile. It was, to say the least, an incredible experience, one we all hold close to our hearts. And one we are grateful we survived safely.