UPDATE: Thank you all so much for your kind emails and comments about my health this week. I am feeling much better, though still groggy from all the pain pills. From what we can put together, I think I originally sprained my muscle while we were in the car on the way up to Gulf Breeze. I kept turning around in the passenger seat to give Bean toys and things and 6 hours of driving all twisted around like that seems to have caught up with me. Then while we were having lunch, I passed out while I was picking up Bean Mean, so I think that’s what triggered the spasms. So, that’s my advice for the day to all you Mom’s out there. Be careful that you are picking up your baby the correct way to save your back!
After a minor setback with the whole ambulance/guts falling out/emergency room thing this week, I am back to blogging about my hometown. As I shared on Monday, Gulf Breeze is a barrier peninsula off the coast of Pensacola. If you’re in Pensacola, you take a three-mile bridge across the bay into Gulf Breeze. But out past Gulf Breeze, there is a barrier island called Pensacola Beach. From Gulf Breeze you take a mile long bridge over to the beach. And it literally is a strip of beach. There’s a boardwalk and good restaurants and bars. But a most of the island is residential.
Yesterday, Chris and I drove out to the beach to have dinner with friends and family. As we were driving around, we passed a lot of places that had memories for both of us. We passed a parking lot where Chris used to play street hockey and he was happy to see that the city had turned it into an actual street hockey court now. We passed my college roommate, Neal’s, parent’s house where we used to hang out during our summers.
But we also passed places where things had once stood. See, as a barrier island, Pensacola Beach takes the brunt of the hurricanes that come through. Which means the homes on Pensacola Beach take a huge hit.
See all this open space between these two houses?
That’s where Chris’ best friend, Justin’s, house used to be. It was washed away during a hurricane. And see all those pilings next to that house? Those used to be support for another house that stood there before Hurricane Ivan a couple years ago.
Chris’ mom’s house was destroyed by Hurricane Ivan (I think it was Ivan…) a few years ago. She lost everything, but the most devastating thing was that she lost all of her pictures from when Chris and his sister, Annie, were growing up. The year after the hurricane, Annie spent months emailing family and tracking down copies of photographs that her mom lost. She collected pictures of Annie and Chris, but also pictures of Chris’ mom’s childhood as well. She scanned each picture and put them on a DVD for her mom and she also put the photos themselves into an album. It was one of the sweetest Christmas presents I’ve ever seen.
I remember when my family moved to Gulf Breeze from Atlanta when I was in sixth grade. My parents had no experience with hurricanes and so my mom started reading up on them. One of the things she said to know in advance what you want to take with you if you have to evacuate. When its time to leave, you have to take care of your property and gas and traffic getting out of town and the last thing you want to have to do is try and think of what possessions you want to bring with you. My sister and I were each given a small box and told that if we ever had to evacuate, we could fill that one small box, but that would be it. At the time, I had a pretty standard set of belongings I took with me when we evacuated: my teddy bear, my ballerina Madame Alexander doll, a baby doll my Grandmother brought me from Paris, and extra socks. Because you always need extra socks.
Driving through Pensacola Beach yesterday, I thought back to my small box of belongings and wondered what I would bring with me now if I had to evacuate and could only take a few things with me. I would take my shoebox of letters Chris and I wrote each other while we were dating long-distance in college. And I’d take the Bible that my sister and her fiance gave Bean when he was baptized that has his name and baptism date engraved on it. I would take a ring that my parents gave me when I turned 21 – its a garnet stone in gold setting, garnet and gold for Florida State University. And that would probably be it, I think. Everything else I love is either on me at all times (my Bean necklace and my wedding rings) or my pictures and stories which are saved online.
What about you? If you had to evacuate and could only take three things with you, what would they be?