Dear readers: After a phone interview with Emily Morse about the loss of her home in early November, I emailed her the rough draft of the article that appears on page 14 of NYSUT United’s December issue. Here is the letter she sent in reply:
Yes, it is true there is no going back to our two story home again for us. The home had housed 5 generations starting with my husband’s great, great grandparents. To date, my husband and I lived in the home for 26 years of our 36 years of marriage. We raised our two daughters now ages 30 and 31. We lost everything on the first floor of our home from shoes, coats, pictures, appliances, recipe books, dishes, pots and pans, etc. My grandson’s toys were pushed out of the broken windows from the force of the raging water. A filing cabinet filled with important documents was picked up and washed down the Schoharie River. In addition to being misplaced (homeless) in my personal life, my office at the Windham-Ashland-Jewett Central School was affected where I work as the guidance secretary. The guidance office was unable to be occupied until the walls and flooring could be replaced, as well as many other locations at the school. This set back the opening of our school for 3 weeks. I am also the president of the WAJ Support Staff Association which currently has 39 members with NYSUT.
Presently, my husband and I are living with my sister in Prattsville. We are hoping to be housed in a FEMA trailer as soon as they arrive. We wish to move on from there to a permanent place, but stay in our home town of Prattsville where we were both raised. We are thankful that we still have our jobs, each other, and our family and friends. Many times it has been very overwhelming for me to receive items, money, prayers and best wishes in your future recovery from complete strangers who I don’t know. It is difficult to thank someone properly when you are in this circumstance and I will never forget their generosity such as the $500 dollar check from the NYSUT Relief Fund. My husband’s vehicle was also washed away and part of the money was used to purchase another vehicle. Some of the remaining money was used to purchase work boots which he lost in the flood. I purchased food items that were needed and on a personal note socks and undergarments that were desperately needed! When you have lost everything, like many of us have, every little bit helps. We will get through this. I find it hard to be on the receiving end for help. I like to be on the giving end and being the helper.
It is very hard for me to put August 28, 2011 behind, as it was a very dreadful day. My husband and I said our goodbyes to one another along with our daughters and grandsons and our unborn granddaughter. Along with our family members and friends, we thought we were going to die by drowning. We were trapped in the second floor of our home for 9 and half hours as we watched pieces of our home get ripped off. The flood waters raging through our home made an eerie sound, and glass smashing and furniture being picked up and moved by the flood waters. The water was rising higher and higher. Several things I can take away from this tragedy are
- “live every day as it was your last,”
- “do not take anything or anyone for granted,”
- “always say I love you to your loved ones because you may never get another chance for them to hear you.”