Saturday, October 13, 2018

Hurricane Michael Refugee Panama City

We are refugees from Michael, a situation one never envisions for oneself. Monday of last week, October 8, I had plans to get my hair done, play bridge at the Yacht Club and attend the St. Andrew Bay Yacht Club Ladies Auxiliary on Thursday. However, we heard that there was a mandatory evacuation called for 6 am the next morning. I packed us a change of clothes and Joe and I headed for Dothan to stay with my sister Sylvia and her husband Tom who have a beautiful home with plenty of bedrooms and bathrooms. We brought Gigi, our standard poodle, with us. Sylvia has two little schnauzers who are aged and delicate, so we took Gigi to Westwood Pet Care. 
Hoping daughter Cecily, her husband Steve, and daughter Lily would be coming close behind, we left daughter Brooke's home in Dothan free for them.

We weathered the storm with Sylvia and Tom with trees falling all around us in Spann Farm. Cecily et. al refused to leave their home. Fortunately, Camryn's Crossing had little damage, just a bit of the roof.  It is now Saturday. They finally have come north to Dothan and Brooke and Mike's home. For how long, there is no telling. There still is no power and they must boil water and cannot flush commodes because the sewage is backing up in Panama City.

Thursday night we got a call from dear friends of ours, Gary and Karen and Gary's daughter, Marion.  They had gotten scammed on a room in Marianna. They had left Karen's son with whom they had weathered the storm in Mobile, at 11:00 and after a long day on the road (Gary is still recuperating from a stroke that has left him partially paralyzed on his right side) they gave us a call. They had gotten to Marianna and Karen went in to the totally black reception room to ask about their reservation. They were told no one there made reservations. The power was out. They had nowhere to go. So, my sweet sister and brother-in-law invited them there. Marion was frazzled. She not only had her Daddy about whom she was concerned, she also had her three little poodles in the same delicate condition as Sylvia's schnauzers. They finally found their way to Sylvia's and we all settled in to an exhausted sleep. 

After the storm, everyone wanted to go to Panama City and see what had happened to our guest house and townhouse. But, with my arthritis, I realized I would not be much good doing all the walking and carrying that might be necessary, so we called our son in Mobile, who has become quite a gifted carpenter and we met him in Crestview.  Joe joined him in his truck with tarp, chain saw, wood, etc. and I went on to Mobile and Brittany and the boys while they went to Panama City to deal with whatever needed to be dealt with.

These are the pictures they took. 

This is our church, First Presbyterian, missing a roof. 



Episcopal Church on Beach Drive




That may be the brick side of the Woman's Club


I think this is Cove Boulevard. No longer is there that beautiful oak canopy.




 This is St. Andrews looking North beside Harbour Village where Sylvia and Tom had just moved into their new place at Harbour Village. They lost the roof and had lots of damage.



Harbour Village






Oaks by the Bay to the right






Beach Drive?



Cove Boulevard?






Side of the Woman's Club on Beach Drive



Cove Boulevard?














First Presbyterian Church Downtown Panama City. This is our church.





Downtown? 













Cove Boulevard








Woman's Club on the corner of Cove Boulevard and 6th


Cove Boulevard






St. Andrew Bay Yacht Club




















Our Guesthouse
















Our home (town home)



We were amazingly blessed that so many of the things that were my mother's and father's survived. As did my portraits!

This is the view from the top deck. That is Gary Hein's sailboat sitting pretty there. I am not so sure about their house. I hope Roz and Gary left!

This is Nantucket up the hill from our townhouses.





Downstairs library





So far so good. But it will be a long time sitting with wet carpet in there. And we cannot get in to move anything out. 










Joe's mother's china cabinet. 


























It is amazing to see the things that remained unmoved in our townhouse right next to a really big mess. Wind, rain and tree limbs. 

But you can't hurry. Now Panama City is still getting the basics repaired and the roads cleared so that we can begin rebuilding. 

But the truth is we are so very blessed. We have our family intact and had a wonderful visit with my family in Dothan. And now we are comfortably ensconced in Mobile with our son and daughter-in-law and two grandsons. Drew and Joe will return to Panama City. Our son will put us at the top of his work list. Our Insurance will help us rebuild the townhouse and repair the guesthouse. Our dog plays happily with Brooke and Mike, Cecily (who finally came North) and the granddaughters. Our neighbors guard our spot while we are not there and we will all rebuild. One neighbor is a retired veteran and policeman with a supply of defense devices (guns). We have heard there are looters in the neighborhood, believe it or not.

It is Saturday. I had to buy some clothes today because I only planned to be gone overnight. I saw an old friend from Dothan at the Dillards in Panama City.

Our son-in-law, Steve, is back to work as a mail carrier. They are in to work today, Sunday, delivering medicines.

Joe and I are together. Our children are safe. We have air-conditioning and cable.

God is good.