While there are many recovering from Sandy, and still even more awaiting a reconnect to the world, the entire event sent me to thoughts of our ancestors. As for this time, we dodged a huge bullet here in southeast Virginia. But, we have had other occasions where we were plunged in to darkness. Watching and listening to the sounds of this storm; news commentators and people checking up on each other on Facebook and Twitter, I heard many, over and over ask one question. How did our forefathers do it? And, seriously, how did they? A close friend in New Jersey expressed her anxiety with waiting – not knowing when she would be returned to civilization. She stated, “Not having power is the most difficult part.”
But, to reiterate, how in the world did early civilization manage? I realize there is a simple answer to this query. They did it, because they didn’t know and/or have anything else. And, yes, I agree, we in the 21st Century are quite spoiled. If you think about it, our young children – let’s say twenty and younger only know a computerized world. Listening to us speak of the olden days (1980) brings a shudder of disbelief. But, for most of us, when we listen to our grandparents or an older aunt or uncle, we walk away from that conversation mumbling – “Wow, I’m so glad I wasn’t born in that time.” Personally, for me, the longest I have been without electricity is seventy-two hours, which did not bring out my better qualities. Let me also add, this has been since we’ve moved here. Actually, I’ve established a new phrase since being here – “If you stand outside my house and exhale to loudly, the power goes out,” which is why I’m so surprised it didn’t this time. Especially, when people less than five miles away lost theirs.
Think of it; bathing in a galvanized tub or the sink once every few days or once a week. How pleasant would that be? These days, we have to forgo the bath, at least the hot water type. Of course, you could always haul large containers of water to the fire-pot set up in your back or front yard, and risk having the neighbors call the authorities once they caught sight of you doing that, while the flames licked at the sky. At least, way back when, one could use an open fire. But, nowadays, once the power goes, families have to resort to candles, flashlights or whatever other battery operated source is available. I would have to say, in times like this a gas stove is a tremendous advantage. But, no, there is no way to acclimate the today family to the pre-nineteenth century lifestyle, returning them to basics.
I also heard another friend mention that their camping experiences would finally get to pay off now. I don’t know – I’m shaking my head, because I’ve never been camping, and personally – it’s not something in my top ten, not even my top twenty. Don’t get me wrong. I love the outdoors, but, too hot or too cold – I don’t think so. Going to the bathroom in the woods? I don’t think so. Bathing in a stream or not at all? Uh….I don’t think so. And, you can call me a girly girl if you wish, that’s fine, other people have. But, don’t we all have a “Not in a million years” list. I recall my husband telling me stories of his Marine Corps days, when he had guerrilla warfare training in the San Bernardino mountains of southern California. Every detail only sounded like a nightmare to me.
However, on the serious side, I kinda sorta have this sense of abandonment in the pit of my gut – the impression that I’m fine and well here in Virginia, while friends and family are struggling to make it through. I need them all to know my heart goes out, and every one is in my thoughts and prayers. I grew up fifteen minutes from Breezy Point. Beach days were always in the Rockaways, and many days were also spent at Rockaway Playland, which helped to make up Far Rockaway. I cannot imagine – cannot fathom losing my home, and having to live in a shelter or with relatives. That is something seriously reserved for a horrific and terrifying novel. But, I have to stop here and add – the folk in the Tri-State area (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut) have always, and will, I believe, continue in resiliency and tenacity. In fact, it is something we were born with, and taught all through childhood. And, yes, you carry that with you wherever you go. So, even though there is great pain at this stage of the game – look up – because each and every one has to know a time will come when you will have made it through all of this, and the words on your lips will then be, “Remember when….”
Also, if you’ve been trying to decide if you want to donate something to the Red Cross, and haven’t done so yet? Look for my globe with the Band-aid. It’ll take you right there.
Photo courtesy of 123rf.com