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Guest Post: Flood of 2007 Part 3 by Bev

Silence… Silence is the worst of all… Not knowing… And all the things that could be…

One pm, before he was to be to work for second shift, Bob finally showed up at Mother’s! Phones out, electric out, food rotting in the fridge and freezer, horses okay (they went to high ground on the bluff), fences out, he ended up opening a door to the basement to let the water out. No trees fell on the house. The creek was in its bed… Everything was okay???? Seven miles to Mother’s had become 30 miles… He had to go to work…

Everything was okay! Thank God! Praise the Lord!

I drove the 30 miles to get home. Home… To me HOME means security and safety. Home is not what I came home too…

I had seen houses resting on railroad tracks, moved off foundations, people’s lives devastated as I drove home…

The horses were okay. I started fixing creek fence. The house appeared to be okay, it was standing… Everything is okay, right? I didn’t have the stomach to go downstairs after fixing fence…

I went back to Mother’s. She was high and dry with electric. I just wanted to eat and sleep. Bob apparently went home after 11 pm to sleep. Thirty miles back home and I spent the day cleaning out the fridge and freezer. Downstairs the water had easily reached 18 inches—above the electrical outlets. SO Much was water logged. And the heat was in the upper 80s…

My step-daughter, Jamie, had been at her mother’s in Winona, “Stay there… was all I could say. Still no electric…

The waters had gone down, but now there was heat and humidity and no electricity. It was stifling. Silent. Demoralizing. The bank where I had, indeed, been watching the creek flooding, had collapsed…

The bridge crossing the creek in Rollingstone had not collapsed, but according to the Emergency Responders it had been impassable. The Minnesota City bridge did collapse and was not replaced for at least seven months. And even though the house was standing, we were not okay…

Boulders from the bluff had rolled down and cracked the foundation. The retaining wall had collapsed. The basement had been flooded up to 18 inches and even though the water was out, the mud was not. Eighteen inches, furniture was ruined, drywall was crumbling, electrical (if it was working) was compromised. Pretty much everything stored in the basement was gone… Including emergency preparedness supplies.

Water, heat, humidity equals mold… And we were on the north-facing slope…

The sheetrock started turning green, as did everything else…

What about work? Work that paid the bills? Bob went to work; I asked for vacation. When I went to Mother’s, news reports were so chaotic, I just ignored them. It was enough to deal with what I was dealing with. And I still had a home. I couldn’t complain. But did I have a safe home?

Got to admire Bob, he just came and went and showered at Mom’s…

But then, he hadn’t built the home… I had…

There was so much silence… Pieces of information… insurance may pay for food lost during electrical outages… even people with flood insurance are only getting $26,000… food available at the food shelf… bank is back on line… beware of looters… National Guard coming, but not here… FEMA is at Penny’s… Food vouchers available… Bits and pieces, but no real information. Essentially everyone was on their own…

Later I heard that it was a lot worse south of us. Looters from as far away as Chicago had descended on the small towns of southeastern Minnesota like vulchers. Residents were spray painting 4×8 plywood slabs with, “Looters will be Shot!” and “Guns not Looters!” and taking turns protecting each other’s homesteads.

As the National Guard moved in, there was less of a threat, but some individuals reported incidents of unfriendly National Guard, suspicious and even malicious… But this is Minnesota, and “Minnesota Nice” seemed to prevail. Southeastern Minnesota is also probably 98% white, anglo-saxon, protestant—add the Norwegians, Swedes, Germans, and Polish… Viking stock… Oh, did I mention we have a football team named the Vikings? :)

Given the number of guns among  the populace, looting didn’t last long… No one got killed…

And then there were the lines… Lines for food… Lines for linens… Lines for everything… Hurry up and wait became the day… I got stuck with it as Bob was at work…

But what of the hurry up and wait? What of all the forms and paperwork? What of all the mold…?

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