Posts Tagged Galveston after Ike
This blog began by text on the front porch of an historic home on the East End of Galveston a few nights after Hurricane Ike devastated the island on September 13, 2008, and a few minutes after I was confronted by a baby-faced National Guardsman with a submachine gun pointed between my eyes. My essays were picked up by the NBC Houston affiliate KPRC-TV, who published them as the Galveston After Ike blog until 2012. If you’re here to learn what it’s like to go through a storm, please read from the bottom up.
I received the note below nearly four years after the storm. It is why I wrote about it. But I’ve moved away now, and am no longer the best spokesperson for that place with more hues than the sea. These essays may serve as an archive of remembrances of a brief time we shared, what we loved, lost, and yes, what we wore.
I just stumbled across your post Ike essays, and I just have to say “thank you,” because for the first time, I feel like someone really understood me, and understood what I went through. Please don’t misunderstand me, I am very sorry for all of your losses, but I had a very similar story, and it just felt really nice to read your misfortune, and understand that finally, someone else understood.
I, also, didn’t get a dollar from my insurance, nor did I get a dollar from FEMA. I used my savings to fix my house, and then got all of my credit cut because I, too, was self employed in a disaster area. I could go on and on, but suffice to say, our stories matched on so many different levels.
The thing I hated the most was when my friends from out of state or out of area, would “comfort” me by saying “I know exactly how you feel, our car broke down yesterday, and it is a big bummer.” If I had a dollar for everyone that told me that “God had a plan for me,” or “that which does not kill you makes you stronger,” I would be a millionaire.
I still have not dug myself out of my financial black hole, but I do have faith and hope that it will happen one day soon. Thank you for your beautiful essays, and thank you for finally making me feel understood.”
— Andrea T.
I moved from Galveston to Atlanta last February. I love my island and quickly adopted the habit of reading the Galveston Daily News online a couple of times a week to appease my homesickness.
It didn’t take long for me to notice a pattern in the online comments about a few apparently salacious subjects: the democratically elected yet unpaid Mayor & City Council, who should live on the island and who should pick them (seriously?), East End-West End relations, Houston area collaboration, progress in general… okay, change of any kind. The public remarks were and are consistently negative, critical, angry, bitter, regressive, and completely not helpful. It made me sad to think the island that showed so much promise and was given seemingly endless opportunity to improve after Hurricane Ike was instead in the radical free-fall that the comments implied.
Just last weekend, many of us recognized Easter and Passover, and meditated on the blessings of cleansing, renewal, and rebirth or freedom from the past, both literal and metaphoric. Some of us considered the practical application in our modern lives, and the idea that sometimes we make deliberate choices to separate from what has gone before, and sometimes those choices are foisted upon us.
In the days that followed those holiest of remembrances, tornadoes unexpectedly ravished the Southeast — leveling towns and neighborhoods and taking over three hundred lives. I was riveted to the television and computer, much as I had been thirty-one months ago as the sun came up on what had been my home in Galveston, Texas, the morning after Hurricane Ike roared ashore.
Those of us who found our lives upended by that 100-year storm struggled to understand why the eyes of the world were seemingly blind to our plight. It felt like no one cared, no one came (except the carpetbaggers), and certainly no one understood. If we weren’t suffering from collective post traumatic stress, it was something close. Everyone of us said the same thing: “Why me? Why us?”