It’s been quite an ordeal for my elderly parents. My childhood home is under water. Saturday my parents were trapped inside as the water gushed in within 30 minutes of the hard rainfall. Three feet of water inside and 5 to 6 feet outside on the streets. Appliances, furniture, and boxes overturned and floating around the house. At one point a snake entered the house and dad had to kick at it, eventually needing a stick to smack it out of the house. Ugh. My siblings and I tried to call emergency services and rescuers but the lines were busy. They were overwhelmed all over the sprawling city. No rescuers in sight for my parents. Getting desperate, by Sunday morning they had to leave. The rain wasn’t letting up and water was still rising in the house. Mom isn’t a good swimmer, so she sat in a large 2 X 3 potted planter that they planned to use for their garden. Luckily they hadn’t poked a hole in it yet. Valuables were placed in a trash bag and then set in a storage box. My dad and uncle Thanh (who lives with them) waded out, pulling and pushing the bins, at many points being submerged with water over their heads. Dad was weak from last month’s vertigo episode and admitted he was tired at some points. Half and hour later they made it to uncle Tai’s house that had not been flooded yet. Within hours water was up the driveway and to the door of his house. So uncle Thanh waded another 30 minutes to my brother’s house which is newer and built on high ground. My brother was stuck at my sister’s house 20 miles away with no access to home. Freeways are underwater. Uncle Thanh was able to get my brother’s truck and drove back but couldn’t make it past the high water. He parked at the local grocery where my parents tried to wade out to meet him. A passerby in his big tire truck picked them up and drove them to the grocery store lot. Thank you to this stranger for helping my parents. So finally after an all day ordeal, my parents are safe, sound, and dry. They await the rains still to come as the storm is supposed to return.
They admitted they were scared, but they said they have been through worse. In 1983, we had to be rescued from hurricane Alicia. I remember sitting on the top bunk in my sister’s bedroom. My dad carried each of us on his shoulder to the front door where a rescue raft was waiting and took us to a shelter. We are hurricane veterans. And 42 years ago my parents’ escape from war torn Vietnam was much worse, but they were 20 somethings then, and 40 something years later, they are elderly and faced mother nature. I felt helpless. I was anxious constantly dialing the red cross, the national guard, and other numbers that continuously reached a busy tone. I didn’t call my parents because I know they needed to conserve their battery. I got updates from my sisters. I see my peeps in Houston posting their situations, and I am thankful they are safe. Finally talked to my parents last night and again this morning. I was so happy to hear their voices. I am still worried, but my parents are survivors. They have the grit, intention, and experience of survival. They will rebuild as they have done many times before. So will Houston, my childhood home… this special place in my heart is resilient. Stay strong and be safe, Houston. It’s not quite over yet.