This is dour me sitting in the Waterford NY public library, the nearest open wifi network to my in-laws. I'm printing boarding passes, doing a few work notes and updating iPhone software. This is what passes for fun in my odd little world these days. Waterford's a pretty little town at the intersection of the Hudson and Mohawk rivers. this place is old in the way that only Eastern towns can be. I see it in the layers of paint, the pipes shooting through my in-law's house. I see it in the slope of the house, the ceramic door knobs, the 60's wallpaper over plaster and lathe walls, the stone curbs, the slate roofs, the sensual, curving banisters and the general settled quality of everything. This place seems so permanent.
That's an illusion of course. The simple fact that I have to write this in the library brings that home. For the last five years or so, I've been able to slum on an open wifi network from a neighbor of my in-laws when I visit. Unfortunately all the neighbor's homes were damaged in the flooding from tropical storm Irene. Merle and Catherine got off pretty easy. the water didn't make it over the first floor. Everyone else on their block had to move out and wait for their homes to get new walls and floors or, in a few cases, to be torn down and rebuilt. the water was about 3' deep at the sidewalk. Flooding happens pretty often here and they know what to do when the water rises. This was the worst in anyone's memory.
This is a picture from Waterford. As bad as it was, it was nothing compared to the damage in Prattsville. We drove through it on the way to see Carolyn's sister in Middleburgh. It didn't get much coverage in the national press but I'm not exaggerating when I say it looked like the damage we saw in Japan. Whole buildings thrown down hillsides or torn to pieces. The town was just gone. We couldn't take any pictures. It was too horrible. This was home to so many people. Just google "Prattsville flood".
It was strange driving through the Catskills to get here. It was beautiful, despite all the detours around washed out roads and bridges. It's where I grew up and it's still home. I'm sorry so much has been lost. I know the towns will come back. We stayed a couple days in Middleburgh with Carolyn's sister and got to see the town coming back online. It will take time but people have come together and they're getting it done.