I remember Oct. 29, 2012 like it just happened. At times it was a warmer night than usual; it was very quiet also. I remember hearing about the storm coming on the radio and on the weather channels. I didn’t think much of it at the time, I thought it was just a bad storm like all the other storms that passed our neighborhood. I was getting alerts and phone calls at that time. One week before Hurricane Sandy hit, I really didn’t think it was going to be anything different.
The night before Oct. 29th, I received a phone call from my daughter who at the time lived in Ohio with her family. She was asking me to go online and watch news about the storm coming. She said I needed to evacuate. So I decided I should pack an overnight back with some personal things, never thinking I would lose everything I owned and worked for, including my marriage. I say this because my husband decided to get separated from me and he left from Brooklyn, without asking me when I was going to leave the house.
I also received a call from my brother who lives in Brooklyn, away from the water areas. He said to leave right away. I then took myself and my car to go stay at my step-daughter's house who also lived in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. I had no idea that I would be staying with her for more than a week and a half. I was homeless after that, and spent over a year living from one hotel to another. Alone.
When I looked out of my front door of my house, all I could see was broken tree branches cable lines, garbage, and debris left over from the hurricane. There was sand and mud all over the street. There were no birds flying. It was a sunny day and it just showed how lonely and dirty everything was. Cars were hanging off the neighbor's fence and people were walking back and forth. Cars that could pass were driving by slowly to take a look at everything that was destroyed.
It was like something out of a war zone. People seemed like they knew each other even when they didn’t. Everyone asked for hugs. I hugged people I never met. The air smelled like sewer and washed away dreams. People looked expressionless and there were many shared blank stares. It was a warm day but a slight breeze was in the air too. Some people were asking each other if they needed anything like blankets and clothes.
I would sit in my car a few months after all the people and workers went home. I would think where do I go from here. What will I do to get my life back on track? I sat until it turned dark, then realizing there were no lights in the streets except for a flood light a few blocks away. It was an eerie feeling to be in a place I use to call home.