Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Gulf Coast Memories



I was born on the Gulf Coast. My grandparents lived there, and I visited them often. One set lived in Pascagoula, the other in Ocean Springs. It's likely that both houses are now at the least damaged, possibly destroyed.

One of my grandparents lived right off the Gulf - you could walk to it in five minutes. When you started to get near her house, you could smell the water and salt in the air. She went through many hurricanes, even the previous "worst one" of Camille, and her worst loss was a tree down in her yard and shingles blown off the roof. She had a driveway paved with little shells that rolled under your tires. She shopped at a Jitney Jungle just down the road - I don't know if it's still there, looted, or destroyed. Market Street was the main street of town, with lots of small shops and little diners and ice cream places. Six blocks of it were destroyed by Katrina.

To get to my other grandparent's house, you crossed a bridge. That's gone now. Maybe the rest of their surroundings are okay. There was a McDonalds, and this was back in the day when going to McDonald's actually meant okay food. There was a mall in between their houses, where they would usually stop and get me books, and a offshoot of some college by the mall. Maybe safe - they were further away from the Gulf, but the wind and rain...

I have relatives on the Gulf and further upland, and we haven't been able to get in touch with them. They probably left - but we don't know, can't know. We don't know if their houses are whole, we don't know if they are where water and power works, or have the hope of working soon. We don't know.

I remember going to the Gulf, both walking there and driving along the road just off of it. It was always wavy, usually small but sometimes as high as your knees. To think those waves were probably taller than I was...that's something. The Gulf was always warm, and rarely had a wind coming off of it. The winds seemed to come only with bad weather. Sometimes there would be dark clouds out there, flashing lightning in themselves, and if the weather was clear you could see an oil rig far off, some shrimping boats. There were posts and remnants of piers and ports that had been destroyed before that no one bothered to tear down. Gulls would stand on them and wave their wings to balance if the wind blew.

Katrina took most, if not all, of that. I'm inland, and we didn't get much from it, just some rain and wind. The others, who still live there, need your help.

Please consider helping them. Here's a page full of news, so you can see how much they need help.

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