Today is the 8 month anniversary of the flooding in the Binghamton, New York area due to torrential rains caused by Tropical Storm Lee.
I've blogged so much about this that I can write the words in my sleep: "flood", "Tropical Storm Lee". But words don't really begin to describe the last eight months here in the neighborhood of Westover, near Johnson City, NY. We've seen the best in people (neighbors coming together) and the worst (a drug addict setting a flood-vacated house in my neighborhood on fire).
I was so lucky in comparison to so many. The flood waters stopped before they got to my house, by a measured distance I still shudder to think about. We had water in our basement, but we never lost power. We lost part of our first floor flooring. Our front and back doors are doing this weird kind of settling thing. But enough people in my neighborhood lost their homes, either temporarily or permanently, though. Westover also lost a large area employer - 1350 people - when their 800,000. square foot building flooded. Fortunately they found suitable quarters several miles down the road but those 1350 jobs were touch and go for a while. They still aren't guaranteed safe, not that any jobs can be nowadays.
How do you measure progress? By the number of cars reappearing in neighborhood streets, due to people slowly returning to homes? By stores continuing to reopen? By trees coming back and blooming this spring? By our Westover Y, once stripped down to the concrete floors and a desk consisting of a card table and a computer, now carpeted and once again boasting a front desk?
In the very hard hit neighborhood of Twin Orchards, the garage of a house being fixed up sports a happy face
Owego, the "coolest small town in America". Many businesses have reopened after months of clean up efforts. I love the mural on this building.
And near our house, a flooded shopping center is again open for business.
Thank you to the businesses who have stayed. Thank you to the people who fed the stricken of my Westover neighborhood in the days after the waters receded. Thank you to the employees of Wegmans Supermarket and BAE for going door to door to offer help when your own businesses were closed due to flooding. Thank you, Maureen McGovern, for honoring a Westover fan with a visit and singing at a flood relief concert.
And thank you, dear reader, for allowing me to tell this story still another time on this, the 8 month anniversary of our flood.