Friday, February 25, 2011

The Hurricane

When a hurricane comes into your life and leaves with all you own but the clothes on your back, you remember her name…for the rest of your life.

Mine was Audrey. She came to Cameron, Louisiana in June of 1957 and left with over 500 souls. Luckily, she left mine and my family’s intact to live to face another storm. But none would match the scars she left on my young life. She took my home. She took my toys. But worst of all, she took all of our family photos and keepsakes. My father, who was a fisherman, had to get a job in New Orleans; my mother had to go to work. Our family got spit up, me staying with my grandmother, my brothers and sister gone to different relatives…for months until our family could reunite again in a small one room shack my dad built. For years after, and even today, folks that lived in Southwest Louisiana during 1957, measure time by using the terms before or after “the hurricane.” They all remember Audrey.
I know the children that lived through Katrina will remember her name as long as they live, and remember what she took away from them. Those that survived her wrath, will always measure time with before or after THE hurricane.

Has there been an event in your life that has left a permanent impression?


May the K9 Spy (and KC Frantzen) said...

Wow Rita.
I'd not thought about this in a long time.
I lived on the Gulf Coast also, but we were inland a bit in Houston. Still, I very much remember Carla. The sky turned GREEN... It was something else.

Your writing brings strong images to mind. I can feel it...

So sorry about your photos. Isn't that something? Just pieces of paper... but still... Memory vectors as our pastor calls them.

How did you cope with the loss as a kiddo? Your life seems to have been filled with moving and loss and I know lots of kids are living it too. You are going to have a wonderful impact on many lives... you and Nikki!

Rita Monette, Writer said...

Thanks, Karen.

Nikki does experience a hurricane in Ghost Dog Island, although it was a small one, and she didn't lose her home. I couldn't do that to her! Yet.LOL

Yes, people don't realize the impact this type of situation has on a child, while the adults are scurrying to get their lives back together.

In those days, people in a disaster pulled together to help each other without government assistance, and I think for the better.

Nowadays there is FEMA to help (whatever that might be worth) and perhaps counseling for the kiddos.

But In 1957...well we weren't even allowed to be in the same room when adults were talking (I assume to protect us from the horror), but we still heard a lot and saw the worry on their faces. We could only keep it inside and hope that we'd all be back together again and everything would be all right, if not ever the same.