This is a simple story of a simple family trying to slow down this crazy life and enjoy the "moments"...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Random Memories III

We're moving on.
Things are changing.

But every so often....

there's a certain sound....
there's a certain smell....
somebody asks "do you remember when...."
I do some silly little every day thing .....
a kid asks where one of their "lost" things are...
something gets rebuilt...
I have a dream.....
we pull into the driveway of our old home and feel that specific "bump"....
a tuft of insulation (or glass or dry crispy leaves) falls out of a "not-yet-worn PT" piece of clothing...

And a memory comes back.

I don't want to forget these things.

I want to move past them.....
But I don't want to forget them.

Some of you may think I'm crazy morbid sadistic mart-ish attention-seeking a little nuts....
but too many people have lost too much to lose these memories too.'s my blog and my prerogative.

I remember when 2nd St was closed from Main to Murphy because FEMA had set up its' headquarters there.  All you could see where huge antennae from satellite trucks and tons of trailers.  So surreal.

I remember standing in line for over an hour at the only post office left to get my mail from the 2 weeks PT.  Everyone was so nice and polite.  There was a police officer --fully armed--handing out water and post-it notes to write our names on.  It was hot and everyone felt the need to share their "story" in the echoing area of PO boxes.  When I finally got my name called I received a huge armload of nothing but catalogs.

Our luggage had been lost the way home from our trip.  On Wednesday (or Thursday?  I remember it was actually sunny.....) as we were trying to get our belongings out of the old house a random car pulled up in the driveway.  A older man got out and just kind of stared at us...then went to the trunk of his sedan and pulled out one of our suitcases.  "I have your luggage you have your claim tickets?"
I just stared back at HIM, and then pointed in the direction of where my kitchen USED to be.
"They might be in there," I answered, "Or 17 miles east of here."
"Oh,"  he said slowly.  "I think that will be ok."
And he got back in his car, and drove away.
Late Sunday night after we got to my sister-in-law's house my best friend from Atlanta called me on the land line.  I took the phone outside and couldn't hear her because the sound of the helicopters going over and the sirens wailing were too loud.  I went back inside to talk.  She says that I just kept repeating, "It didn't sound like a train.  I didn't believe it because it just didn't sound like a train."

Tuesday morning at 5ish RH called me at my mom's.  He said his cousin (who's a realtor) had just told him that FEMA had called to get a list of all the vacant properties in Joplin and that I HAD TO GO LOOK AT HOUSES THAT MORNING AT 8.  Then at 7 my father-in-law called and said he'd gone with the realtor to look at the few available houses and narrowed it down to 2 of them and I had to go ASAP.  I got the kids out of bed and we showed up....with the dog (who is HUGE) and me in the same clothes I'd worn since the tornado.  The kids and the dog on her leash and I (and another adult....but I just can't remember who....) went through the two houses in about 10 to 15 minutes each.  One needed work, the other didn't.  We chose the latter, and got it that next week.  I couldn't even remember what the inside of it looked like...

For a while we weren't able to go into the DZ (disaster zone) without a permit.  To get the permit you had to wait in a 2 hour line and show your ID that said you had business in there.  The permit thing lasted almost 12 hours....and wasted alot of people's mornings.
I got a text from my friend Kerry saying that the K9 unit was in her backyard "sniffing" her pool for fatalities.  Praise God they found none there.
People kept showing up at our doorstep with amazing gifts.  We got bottled water 2 or 3 times an hour.  Some people brought moving boxes, some brought trash bags, some brought pizza, some brought bratwurst. Some people offered us their storage units, and some offered us coats.   A group of people from a church asked if we wanted our trees moved, and then 13 men with heavy moving equipment chainsawed the trees and pulled out the stumps and sawed off branches and made a beautiful ugly neat pile by our curb.  Then they disappeared down the road.

We had a curfew and a boil order.  Then some wonderful people at Starbucks stayed up all night boiling billions of gallons of water and my sister in law heard about it and drove up there but (because of the lack of cell towers) they couldn't take her credit card so they just gave her a whole bunch of lattes for free.  That was the very best coffee I'd ever had in my entire life.

I was standing in my driveway looking through where there used to be a wall into my kitchen area where my "cookbook cupboard" was still intact.  A police car pulled up with 2 cops from Kansas City who were assigned to patrol our neighborhood.  I explained that I was trying to determine if those possibly sopping wet cookbooks were worth going back in to retrieve.  The 2 men found 2 big plastic flowerpots and marched into the remnants of my kitchen and filled them with (pretty darn wet) books.  They they went down into the basement and brought up the last load of stuff I had piled there and put that into my car too.  Then they thanked me for letting them help.  Then they drove off.

My friend Louise came over to help me get serial numbers off of some damaged things in our basement. It started to rain pretty hard, so we made the extremely intelligent decision that we should get out of the leaky falling apart basement and house.  We climbed into the back of my car and sat, with the hatchback open, watching the hail and lightning and rain and shared a big back of Krunchers potato chips we'd found unopened in the kitchen.  I remember telling her that it was the most relaxed I'd been since the storm.

Our friends who lived just down the road had come over to (as she put it) "Escape their disaster for a minute by looking at ours."  We were in the basement and Catherine had to take a phone call.  Jason and I were talking and heard a loud noise to our left.  We looked over and watched all of the paint and drywall crash down onto the bar.  Then we looked at each other and simply continued our conversation.
Bennett got strep throat that week.  He had to lay in my mom's living room with my step mom (who was also sick) and watch movies all day.  Luckily my father had one prescription sheet left from Atlanta and I was able to get an antibiotic.

My friend Brandie, who packed up both of our kitchen areas, informed me that I was the owner of 7 springform pans.  Who knew?  I owe her a cheesecake.  Or 7.


Vicki said...

Thank you for the memories. Like you I don't want to "forget" either and some things just disappear from my brain. I loved the story about getting your suitcases back! It's funny you mentioned the 2nd street headquarters because we live near there and just last week as I drove down that road, I was remembering how they were all set up there.

So much has happened since 5/22 and the whole area is looking so different. It's still almost unreal that it all even happened, until I drive through the area again. We were there this afternoon with a friend and I saw at least two places where people were cleaning up their houses still, by themselves (well with a group of people), but no big machinery or anything. It made me sad knowing that some people still have such a long way to go towards recovery.

God bless you and your little family as you go through all the changes that He will take you through.

Nikki Patchin Head said...

Selene told me about your blog and I had to have the link. You have a gift. It's genuine and real. You have a voice and it's getting heard. I'm honored to know you and I look foward to reading more. (I remember the poems you would write for Younglife club, it only makes sense that you have this gift too!) Keep writing and sharing. It's helping folks as I'm sure it's helping you!