Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Everyone around here has a Katrina story, and we have told ours many many times. We tell it to our friends who weren't here for the storm and to our relatives from out of town. We told it to the people we met in Nebraska, explaining over and over that we were indeed planning on moving back to our home. We tell it to each other sometimes, partly for therapy and partly in attempt to archive it, I think. Funny, the people we don't tell it to are the friends who "lost everything" like us. With them it's more of a nod of recognition or a quick reference to something I "used to have."
One day Aaron and I will tell our kids about "the storm." We will say how we are still living in the very spot we were when our house was destroyed. We will show them where the old front door was and where their room would have been in "Milne 1," as we've taken to calling it. We'll show them how high the water was and where the mold reached up to the ceiling. And we will show them pictures.
We'll show them pictures of the hundreds of books covering our spare bedroom floor that came down when the bookshelves collapsed and floated out of the bins that held up our desk. We'll show them pictures of the bedroom and explain how it's possible that the top of the bed and everything on it is dry even though it sits 2 feet below the water line on the wall. We'll show them the contents of our cabinets strewn all over the kitechen floor, thousands of dollars worth of wedding presents covered in dirt and mold like an apocalyptic Williams Sonoma add.
What we won't be showing them are pictures of Aaron and I at our Junior and Senior Prom, pictures of Aaron carrying me across the threshold of the house on the Westbank we rented together after high school, or pictures of our Greenwood apartment we moved in to when we got married. Like so many other people around here, our pre-Katrina stories will be accompanied only by the pictures in our memory, pictures we can't show our children. I won't be handing Lola a box of old pictures like my mom handed me when I asked about her life before kids. Instead, I will show her a picture of a bin sitting amid the rubble in our spare bedroom closet. A box full to the brim with pictures of our life before "the storm." Pictures that once showed Aaron and I in Halloween costumes and in front of Mardi Gras floats, dancing in bars and studying in the living room made into indistinguishable swirls of color like a child's first fingerpainting project.
People around here still talk about what they "lost in the storm," especially around the end of August. Funny, it never occured to me to think about what Lola and Jackson lost. Until now.
A pic of the kids standing beneath our Katrina Water Line marker: