Long-time readers may recall that I am an ACoND: an adult child of a natural disaster. (I made that acronym up; someday I will write a self-help book and become the Dr. Phil of natural disasters. Except I won't be a mustachioed, cliche-spouting arsehole.). Thirty-six years ago tomorrow, the Susquehanna River flooded its banks, and a bazillion gallons of muddy water came gushing over the top of the nearly-forty-foot high levies. I remember the way, all that spring, it seemed to rain day after day, without end. I remember my mom taking us for a walk on top of the levy near my house and seeing the water so high, so close, you could almost touch it. I remember my brother and mother trying to put valuables up in the attic, the highest spot in the house, thinking that at most, we'd get water in the basement. I remember that surreal vigil the night the water was at its highest, my mom telling me to go to sleep while I was painfully aware that something was going on that had to do with "cresting" and it wasn't good. I remember the police cars driving through the neighborhood at two in the morning, shouting through megaphones: "Evacuate immediately!" I remember getting in the car after that, and driving to my grandmom's house, which sat on a higher part of the city, a neighborhood too far away and too elevated to be subject to flooding. I remember looking out the back window, wondering if I was going to see a tide of water rushing after the car. (I didn't.)
Our family lost everything except the bare-bones structure of the house. We lived in a HUD trailer for the better part of a year, while my parents and whatever contractors they could scare up rehabbed our house. It took my parents years to recover from the financial blow.
So when I see images from the Midwest of flooding, and people being rescued in boats, and sandbagging efforts to shore up levies, it hits me hard.
I know money's tight for most of us, and you have a lot of demands on your discretionary funds, but if the spirit moves you, maybe you can spare a couple of bucks for the flood victims in Iowa and other states. Here's the Red Cross link. If you're an animal lover, you might want to consider the Humane Society, which has sent crisis response teams to rescue stranded pets.
I hope none of you ever have to celebrate a similar anniversary.