House of Literature Bookmobile

This is the place I share book (movie) selections and reviews I have found worth mentioning. I'll also share gleanings of family life, faith, home education, and ongoing writing projects. Book selections will include children's books, books on home education, Catholic books, classics, series, raising children, and books that are made for reading under a shady oak tree with lemonade, in a bubble bath with a latte', or next to a snuggly fireplace with a cup of hot cocoa. Happy Reading!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Two Months and Yesterday

It has taken me two months to come to terms with this and digest what has happened to us.

To really understand what I'm wanting you to understand, I want you to grab the load of clothes out of your clothes dryer, also three sets of clothes per person in your family (plus some socks and undies), and other tioletries. Grab your pillows. You have three hours to get ready to leave the house.

In three hours, I want you to jump into your car and leave. Go! Go north. If you're already north, I want you to head east. If you can't head east, then go west.

I can't tell you how long you'll be living on the road cause I don't know myself. Little did I know two months ago that I would live on the road for a whole month, my little family and me.

Luckily, my dh had stocked up the camper with food, batteries, etc. the Monday before...just incase. Still, we had no intentions of leaving. We planned to ride it out under a mattress in the hallway if worse came to worse. But little did I know that at 10 AM that Thursday morning (Sept. 22), my oldest son would come racing home to let us know that "Aunt Tesa said Calcasieu is under mandatory evacuation. We have to leave. They're making us get out."

Huh? Leave the place I was born and raised in? Get out and leave just like that? Our parish had never been evacuated before...not even for Hurricane Audrey in 1957. Only the day before we knew that Cameron Parish below us was forced to leave.

Racing into town to find a gas can (no luck) gave me the energy and adrenaline to get the job done. Everyone was scurrying around and charged into high gear. I ended up standing in line with coloring books and play horses to keep the girls entertained wherever we ended up. One couldn't help but react to all the vibes bouncing from person to person right there in the Wal-Mart checkout line. You'd swear all the batteries in Wal-Mart were charging the people.

Today I was walking to the end of the driveway to collect our empty trash can. Suddenly it occured to me that our trash collection had been back on track for the second week in a row. Before September I would not have had appreciated the trash collection and an empty trash can as I do now. I could almost kiss the trash guy every time he drives by. Instead, I settle for a polite wave.

But today it occured to me that if my oldest son came driving home to tell me that we had to leave, that we were under mandatory evacuation orders to get out of Dodge, I don't think I could do it. I just don't think I could muster the energy, the adrenaline, or the will power to do anything, let alone leave my home for another four weeks with only the clothes on my back. It was an experience that some people from the New Orleans area are still experiencing today. They have been away from home and living off the charity of others far longer than we were.

My family was fortunate. We have been very blessed. We are back home. We had a home to come home to.

For the children's sake, I tried to imagine we were on a camping trip. It was vacation time, and wasn't it fun! We learned experiences that we would never have learned any other way. We took walks and stood in FEMA lines. We tracked the storms path in our heads and at each camp ground they gave us an updated sheet so we could check and see if we were right. We lived without television and playstation. We lived on cell phones and realized "Who needs a home phone anymore?!" We listened to songs Oma and Opa liked. We pretended we were Laura Ingalls Wilder pulling the covered wagon behind us. We read lots of books. We made a mission out of finding Catholic churches in north Louisiana and then counting the number of them once we were back in south Louisiana. The kids learned how to grill over an open fire and how to read maps. One became a man a few days after the storm and learned how to be a man while helping his father and uncle clear off the land just like his forefathers had before him.

We learned all about the charity of others and how to stand in Red Cross and Salvation Army lines for rations. We learned how to heat up MRE packs and we ate like soldiers.

And I learned something about myself, but that's for another day...


  • At 6:35 PM, Blogger Nancy C. Brown said…

    Wow Cay, thanks for sharing your experience. I hope and pray you will never have to go through that again.


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