Friday, March 27, 2009
Twelve years ago, during the 1997 flood, I remember sitting in my classroom crying at the end of they day on the Monday after Grand Forks caught on fire and flooded. I was certain we were next. The ice storm we had the week earlier that snapped power lines, the 120 inches of snow and weekly blizzards had finally became too much. When news broke out about this flood, I handled it like I handle everything; denial. "It can't be that bad. We didn't have THAT much snow this year. They always predict things will be worse than they really are so people will be prepared." How could we prepare for this? I truly thought "it could never be worse than 97". It was worse than 97 as of yesterday. I have watched the news in recent years and saw floods in Oklahoma, Tennessee, and West Virginia and think "thank God that's not here." Now we are the ones on TV and people are watching saying, "thank God that's not here." My denial was so deep, it wasn't until last night at about 6:00 when I realized this is bad. Really bad. Three of Noah's five good friends were evacuated last night. These are not people who live by the river, they live in the middle of town. A whole neighborhood where some of my students live is gone. Water is up to the windows in the Oak Grove neighborhood. These are not rich kids, I am sure they don't have flood insurance. What will they do? How do you recover after this? Noah's friend's parents bought flood insurance at the end of February, thinking the 30 day grace period would be enough time and they'd be covered. The grace period ends tomorrow. Lydia, a friend of mine lives way in South Fargo, her family and neighbors started leaving this morning. I remember watching the news when it's flooding in other communities, and I can't remember if they fought so hard to help their friends, neighbors, and strangers as we have. Do other communities band together like we have? Growing up here, I just took for granted our community would. I am proud and amazed how we have come together, without someone being "in charge" and got so much done. Was it all done in vain? I guess in the next ten days we will find out. I am still scared we will be the next "Grand Forks". I am terrified some of my friends and co-workers will say "enough of this crap, we're leaving for good." I am scared we will have to leave. We are very far from the river and our house is only four feet into the ground, (good if you are having a flood, bad if you have a tornado) so we shouldn't have to worry if the lift stations go as they have in other parts of Moorhead, but if the power goes out what will we do? I am so thankful we are safe and out of harms way of the flood, the kids are OK and we are all healthy, for that I am grateful, but what if...? I feel so terrible for the people we know who have already lost their house. All of those memories, gone. It's sad enough to sell a house and move, but you have the excitement of a new house waiting for you. These people didn't want this. It really sucks feeling this helpless. From here on out it's a waiting game to see what will happen. Because they do not want people driving, and because you literally can't get to some of the schools in Fargo, Moorhead and Fargo called off school for all next week. They didn't even do that in 97. Not everyone can say they have lived through two 100 year floods. One year ago this week, I was teaching my class about the flood of 97. That is history to them. They weren't alive when it happened. My kids are living through something that will forever be talked about, remembered and in the not so far away future be taught as history. I remember telling my class, after showing them the photos of Fargo and Grand Forks, that I cried at my desk in Agassiz school because we were told to get our important files and leave, that we all ended up OK. It was a horrible, stressful, nightmarish time, but we all became a stronger community because of it. Please view the footage at http://www.youtube.com/watch? type in fargo moorhead and click on the one that has Maria Shriver.