The house where I lived through middle school and high school is located in Huntingtown, Maryland. It is a piece of waterfront property with our backyard ending at the high-tide mark on the beach. My parents still live there so they are currently dealing with battering down the hatches in preparation for the Hurricane Irene.
In 2003 our home was hit very hard by Hurricane Isabel. At the time my great-aunt Elsie was living with us and required 24-hour care after having suffered from several strokes. Before the Hurricane really hit we checked her into the Calvert Memorial Hospital so that if things got really bad she would still be taken care of. Had we needed to evacuate there would have been no way for her to get out of the house and it’s unlikely that her caregivers would have been able to make it to our house for their normal work shifts.
When Hurricane Isabel struck, our home was severely damaged. On the side of our house facing the Chesapeake Bay, there is a window that extends from the floor of the first floor to the ceiling on the second floor. It’s part of an addition that the previous owners put on the house. I remember this window bending in and out as the storm struck. It made full arches and the sounds were crazy. For several days, the Red Cross was coming to our house and bringing us soup, though we didn’t particularly need it.
We lost power for over a week during the storm. Our yard and basement totally flooded. It has been an event that has made a giant impact on my family for the past seven years. Fortunately, everyone was safe.
Meanwhile, the storm hit during the construction of the brand-new Huntingtown High School. I was a freshman the first year this school was open so I was part of the first class to graduate after four years of schooling there. The Hurricane set back construction several weeks. This struck shortly after they had picked what the mascot would be: The Huntingtown Hurricanes.
After Isabel passed two cats arrived at our doorstep. They were a mother and her brand new baby. We named the mother Isabel and the baby Hurricane. After weeks of them showing up every day and “asking” to come in, we finally decided to adopt them. When we were ready to officially make them ours by taking them to the vet, Isabel went missing but she left her baby behind. We adopted Hurricane (who shortly became known as “Fatso”) but we periodically see Isabel show up and try to check in on Fatso. We are pretty sure that another neighbor adopted her.
In 2005 Hurricane Emily was reeking havoc in Mexico. My grandfather had just had major surgery and was on, for lack of a better term, his deathbed. He had the news on and was watching coverage of the storm, though it wasn’t really affecting our area. One of the last clear memories I have of visiting him involves coming up to him and holding his hand. He squeezed my hand back and asked, “How are you, storm girl?”
My home has been hit by other storms and other hurricanes that have had less of an impact than Isabel. Still, they had more of an impact than they would have had Isabel not occurred. Every time a major storm hits, we lose a lot of property and have issues with flooding to deal with. I am not particularly worried about my parents handling Hurricane Irene because they have done it before and now things are a little less complicated because they only have themselves and the cats to worry about. I am not particularly worried about my own safety and I think that most of my friends who felt the need to evacuate have done so already. Still, I get a little emotional about hurricanes.
I apologize for this long emotional post. I promise I will post a video of the Muppets or a picture of my dog soon!