67 days


I am home.

From inside my Strand-area loft, apart from the disarray that accompanies unpacking and a layer of Ike dust, you can’t tell that anything has changed. It’s the journey from the curb to the front door that reminds you — the construction site you have to navigate to get in.

So what? That’s pretty much what all of Galveston looks like now — like everybody decided to do a good Spring cleaning and a little remodeling at the same time. It’s a big ol’ clean-up job. Here’s the most useful word in the English language: Next!

But three weeks ago, on the day the first cruise ship came back, I saw a gaggle of tourists wandering the streets of the Strand on a weekend afternoon when there was no work being done and no sign of life. Admittedly, it looked like a ghost town, and all I could think was, “Where are the Chamber of Commerce buses to take these people to the Seawall where everything looks NORMAL?!?!?!?!” I had visions of them all going home to Peoria to tell everyone they met for the next 50 years how Galveston washed away in the Great Storm of 2008.

And this week, I’m hearing people say that “Galveston is dead.” Let me be perfectly clear. Saying “Galveston died with Ike” is like saying “New York died with 9/11.” On a smaller scale.

In part to combat the sour grapevine of bad information about us, The Galveston Association of REALTORS’ MLS Committee has decided to form an organization called “GROW GALVESTON.” What would you like to see included in our mission? Now’s the time to let your voice be heard.

I wish someone had told me how many days I’d have to wander. I’d have taken several of them to walk slowly through museums and written a book or maybe two and spent lots and lots of time with lots and lots of new and old friends and explored new cities and towns (and pretended to be in the Witness Protection Program when people asked who I was). I’d have read a book every two days and practiced the piano and taken French lessons and maybe even tried out for a play (and lied about my age so I could finally do Auntie Mame — and then I’d have acted surprised when I found out I didn’t have to lie. Dang.). I’d have volunteered for children’s and pet’s organizations and found my best friend from 7th grade and Googled everyone I ever knew and taken long walks every day and gardened and cooked and cooked and cooked… OMG, I’d have acted RETIRED!

But nobody told me how long I’d be gone. So I spent each day acting like I was going home tomorrow. And I got pretty much nothing done. I didn’t enjoy my retirement, so I’m going back to work.

I was gone 67 days.

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Copyright © 2009 Alice Melott

Essays by this author can also be read by joining http://www.facebook.com/alicethewriter.

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  1. #1 by Suzanne on November 21, 2008 - 9:46 pm

    I’m so glad you’re finally home, Alice. With you there, and others like you, Galveston will surely right itself. I think I hear the phoenix’s wings beating.

  2. #2 by Norma on November 22, 2008 - 9:22 am

    Woo hoo! You are home! Galveston is a Texas gem and will sparkle again soon.

  3. #3 by Nicole on December 1, 2008 - 5:32 pm

    We can all use a little spring cleaning in the fall sometimes. I’m so glad you’re back home! Even if you didn’t get all those retiree type things done, at least we get to amusedly read about them here!

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