I write this as 17,000 fellow Long Islanders have suffered the latest power outage today; thankfully, we have been spared so far. Today, it was warm, so it was rain and wind and flooding; a year ago today, it was cold, so we built forts atop the two foot blanket of snow, despite the 50+mph wind.
A little more than 4 years ago, I returned to Long Island from New York City, and was promptly greeted by Hurricane Sandy. Trees fell on our home, above my family, and they were miraculously saved by one single courageous branch. I pitied our plight too much in those days after Sandy. But we had our lives; thankfully, we were spared. My boys, rescuing food from the dormant freezer, had ice cream for breakfast.
The year before it was Irene. Which was preceded by an earthquake that shook our apartment building as I received news of the death of a loved one in California. Irene prevented our flight back from California, so we flew to Chicago, and drove back from there, stopping at a White Castle in Indiana, a Cracker Barrel in Ohio, following the storm up the Jersey Turnpike.
In September 2010, a day before my best friend's birthday, it was a tornado that made me believe I was going to die on the Grand Central Parkway. I didn't. My son's day care playground was ruined for a few weeks. More than 1000 trees were lost. There was a community-wide tree planting months later.
For as long as I can remember, I have been marking my life by storms. We had just moved into our house a year before Gloria. I think we were off from school for a week. The traffic lights would just not turn on.
We moved from Queens to Long Island in 1977. There was a terrible blizzard and a terrible power outage. The Plainview Diner had a generator, and invited everyone in Plainview-Old Bethpage to store their perishables in their fridge. It wasn't a business move, I'm sure. With that one stroke of generosity, they earned the loyalty of hundreds, if not thousands, that endures to this day. Surviving each storm comes with a healthy dose of gratitude.