Hurricane Sandy made a brief visit to New York and left behind in its havoc, a disabled hundred plus year old subway system and caused commuter woes of the most aggravating kind. Quality of life abruptly turned inside out by disruption in services taken for granted: gasoline, electricity and hot running water. Property damage was extensive and left those who lost property in a stupor.
New Jersey, the point of entry for the hurricane suffered enormous, irreplaceable and non-repairable damage. The governor expressed profound sympathy for the people of his home state and demonstrated his despondent reaction to the destruction of amusement parks and boardwalks he frequented with his children during summer months.
Those who lost property…
I watched endless interviews of those who lost property on broadcast news. Monetary value was not the sole basis for the despair. In other words, the financial worth of the property does not measure or compare to the sentimental attachment. Old family photos, videos of weddings and graduations, handwritten love letters, for example, are unique and fragile records of a memory stamped in time.
Pictures of the first communion, a recording of Jody’s piano recital, John’s first grade artwork framed in Grandma Jean’s antique frames are not ‘do over’ events. Gone is Gone and replaceable items such as: a washing machine (wedding gift from Uncle Bob given two days before his passing) or an engagement ring (passed down through generations and accidently left on the dresser drawer during the evacuation) hold memories of the giver not of the objects.
My brother recently came to visit. The World Trade Center Memorial was a stop on our ‘sight-seeing sights for free’ tour. Security was uber tight and a Swiss Army knife tucked away in my bag set off alarms of the most-loudest kind. I was mortified as agents swarmed around me and reluctantly gave my knife to one who placed it in the ‘Claim department’.
Throughout the walking tour I was uneasy. A precious item I’ve held unto for almost thirty years was in a dark compartment in an unknown place. The knife holds sentimental value although it has seen better days. The red casing dropped off long ago. Of course, it is easily replaceable-tons of new ones on Amazon.com.
The knife once belonged to a person, who once belonged to me, who once belonged to mí corazon (my heart) and who passed the knife unto me when he got a new and bigger one and eventually, figuratively and literally the same was done to me.
At the end of viewing the site I rushed, brother in tow to the pick-up area and joined the long line of men waiting to retrieve their pocketknives and yes, I was the only dame. This snippet of my life cannot compare to the lives of those who lost property due to Hurricane Sandy’s uninvited stop. Broadcast news continues to show images of tears and a longing to return to life before Sandy when their property was within reach, attainable and cherished.
I will have those who lost property in my prayers for quite some time.