DHS Classmates

That Time My Hometown Went Underwater As I Watched From The Other Side of the World

September 6, 2017

It’s too early to try to get first hand accounts of Harvey.  I did ask some people who had the same experience I had – watching on TV and social media – to share about their experience.  This from Jeremy Parks, who lives in an undisclosed location somewhere in Asia.

Bean-Head Tackett, as usual, has bitten off more than he alone can swallow; now he wants the rest of us to chew. If the communal response to the tragedy in Texas has taught us anything, it should be that some things do indeed take a village to accomplish.

Good call, Stephen.

I’m one of those living too far away to help (Asia), and I am too disconnected from local residents to coordinate rescues or services. I’ve been gone too long and possess few local ties. Instead, I bit my fingernails and hit “reload” on half a dozen webpages, including Facebook.

My sister, class of ’87, works at a group home. She pulled an extra-long shift on the 24th/25th, went home for a nap, and returned Saturday morning around 9. Her replacement could not arrive, so she stayed through the storm and returned home some time on Monday. Her wards were content and fairly unaware of the tumult outside, knowing only that the usual schedule was not being followed.

Her son remained stuck at a friend’s place, having watched Mayweather outclass McGregor before realizing he had no way home. The rest of my sister’s family watched the waters rise near their home in Alvin.

We both tried to figure out what was up with Dad.
As morbid as it sounds, I’m glad Mom wasn’t here for Harvey. Her electric wheelchair could be charged up, but the hospital bed and electric Hoyer lift for moving her around required an active plug. The prospect of no power for days on end and floodwater sweeping around a woman he could not carry would have sent my father over the edge. As it stood, Dad simply had to worry about himself and his home of 48 years or so; one which has never flooded despite its proximity to Dickinson Bayou.

Dad hears less than I do, and lacks a smartphone, so we don’t call and can’t text.  He spends no time on Facebook. The only way to get news was to hope he would stop flood-proofing long enough to check his email; it didn’t happen. The second-best approach was to ask his relatively new neighbors. They bought the house from one of those neighborhood friends you never really miss once they move and turned out to be God-sent. Literally.

They and Dad hunkered down together, watching the waterline. They –thankfully – had iMessage and Facebook and were young enough to know how to use them. Through them, Sister and I kept tabs on Dad’s stress levels and eating habits.

He came through OK. My sister got water in her car, though I think it will come out fine.

Second to worrying about my father, the most stressful thing for me was the sheer helplessness. I could do nothing about floods and winds; I simply wanted to help. Asking me to watch events unfold and do nothing to help is roughly akin to asking your grandma not to rock a baby. I had to watch other fire up the boats, form human chains, swap addresses and phone numbers for those needing help. Even now I’m watching others gut houses and carry food; all I can do is send money, and count my blessings.

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