Marge Perry, blogger of A Sweet and Savory Life, has joined forces with Every Day with Rachael Ray and Meredith to spread the word about our work with the amazing organization Rebuilding Together. On June 6th we'll visit Gerritsen Beach to spend the day giving back to those who were devastated by Hurricane Sandy--be that painting, assembling furniture or planting flowers. Learn more about this national not-for-profit group here and read on to learn more about our exciting project.
By: Marge Perry of A Sweet and Savory Life
It is eight months since Hurricane Sandy ravaged the seashore town of Gerritsen Beach in Brooklyn, New York. She took the town’s sheltered innocence, their floorboards and sometimes their livelihoods; she stole baby pictures, marriage certificates, cars and precious little somethings—and she sent kitchen parts, like limbs of the homes to which they belonged, soaring down rushing rivers of debris where once there were streets.
Gerritsen Beach, courtesy of WeRebuild.com
Eight months is a long time to be living and reliving the night you are trapped in your home with no phone or lights or cell service, as the waters rage outside and begin to fill your first floor. Eight months is a long time to remember the fear as you make your way upstairs, worrying about your grown children and their children, and the neighbors, and you and your husband; worrying because you never learned to swim, and water was filling your home, higher and higher, destroying 40 years of possessions, both precious and not.
Finally, after watching out the little window upstairs as the neighbor’s home seems swallowed up by the rising water, you lay your weary body on the bed, wondering if you will be engulfed in your sleep.
Sometimes now—and not because you are older and having senior moments—no, this is something very different from that—sometimes you can’t remember your son’s birthday or how old he is, and you know—you even say it right out loud—you just can’t think right yet. The first floor of your house is a jumble of salvaged possessions, a new couch, raw floorboards and barren walls. The home you kept so nice for all these years is reduced to unfinished wood; a flimsy barrier against the elements. Your son worries there might be critters scurrying beneath you, and there was that mold at first that made you all sick. At least the bathroom finally works okay, and you went out and got a range and new sink so you can cook up a hot meal, but certainly nothing fancy. Maybe someday if you ever have a kitchen back, maybe then you’ll bake up a batch of your ginger-molasses cookies. When was the last time you even had a taste of your beloved molasses? Well, no point thinking about that.
For now, you, with your one blind eye, and your husband, who can no longer climb up on ladders and stools to fix things…well, you are doing what you can, bit by bit. But it’s been eight months, and it seems like it may not ever get much better than this.