Bonus frisson #1: Tomorrow is the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew (although so far I’ve seen nothing suggesting that Isaac should be anywhere as bad). It’s just a couple days over 20 years since I first arrived in Miami. We had a pretty rude welcome from Nature.
Bonus frisson #2: If Isaac keeps going it might hit Tampa around time that the GOP coronation of Mitt Romney is scheduled. Should that happen, though, I doubt I’ll be seeing Pat Robertson explaining this as a sign of divine disapproval of the GOP. Or will someone actually link it to the selection of a protestant-free ticket?
I’m due to be home late Friday, so if all goes on schedule this shouldn’t impact my trip, and I get to hunker with the family.
Yes, after Andrew the lovely new home my parents had just built on the water in Coral Gables was wrecked and unlivable for a while. Every window in the house was broken, all the doors blown through, the garage doors were gone, and the entire content of the first floor was washed away by the sea. And yes, as a 12 year old, the actual storm was terrifying. But on the whole, my memories of Hurricane Andrew are actually very positive. We moved into my grandmother’s house in Westchester where we had lived while our house was under construction. While there, all the neighbors came out and we lived as a true community. We all shared everything we had. Meat was soon to spoil, so we would have big cookouts where everyone would bring whatever perishable food they had for the community to enjoy. Every evening was a block party. We siphoned out the gas from cars to consolidate fuel and have the most practical cars on the block ready to go in case someone heard of available supplies somewhere in town. Ice was worth its weight in gold, but we all shared information on its whereabouts. During the day, we all pooled our man power and helped clear debris from the streets, and later from each other’s houses and yards. Fences were mended (literally and figuratively). We met people who had lived just across the street for years, and became close friends with them in just a few short days. We woke up early every day (no AC will do that to you in August in S.Fla.), played in the streets, didn’t watch TV (no power after all), and stayed up late talking by candle light. The insurance companies were even generous. For months the dinner side conversation inevitably turned to topics such as “can you believe how much money the insurance company gave us for the roof” or “did you hear? So and so got —– for their damages from the storm!”
With the exception of the now diminished generosity of insurance companies in Florida, my experience with the many other hurricanes and tropical storms that have come through in my lifetime has been very similar to my experience with Andrew. Funny, I have actually found that the more property damage a storm brings, the more community benefit I see in terms of people coming together.
I’ve been lucky. Overall, my experience with hurricanes has been a net positive. I know the same can’t be said for every one, and I don’t mean to imply that I wish for hurricanes strikes (I certainly don’t). But I thought I would just offer this other point of view to some of your readers who maybe have never experienced a hurricane before.