Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Day 16 SOL 16: A Flood of Memories

Realizing my husband had left a few lights on in the basement, I took a deep breath and headed downstairs.   The light was coming from the far side of the basement so I had to walk through the scattered boxes and ruined remnants of our lives to turn them off.  As I stepped on the carpet with my bare feet, water squished under my toes.  The carpet had become a sponge still holding onto some of the water that had flooded our basement since Monday.

Since first hearing the news, I'd tried to avoid the basement.  Most of my life, I have found pretending something isn't happening can make it a little less painful for a bit.  Knowing I'd eventually have to take myself down there and start filling a dumpster with unsalvageable pieces, I thought I'd take a wait to worry approach.  I was already heartbroken about the waterlogged hope chest that once belonged to my grandmother.  Years ago it stored letters from her first husband, my grandfather, sent to her while he was at sea during World War II.  I'd thought about the hope chest, but I was refusing to think of all of the other small stories that might rest below our first floor.

Walking across the carpet, I tried not to look around too much.  I tried to ignore the still drying dollhouse, the storage boxes turned on their sides, and the smell of stale water that filled the air.  I walked carefully, trying not to notice too much around me.  It wasn't long until ignoring became impossible as, to my right, I noticed a photo album.  I bent down to look at it closely.  It was thick and filled with pages now saturated with water.  Picking it up, water poured from its pages.  I took a deep breath and flipped the thick book open to find the wedding album my grandpa and grandma had made with pictures from my wedding shower, our wedding day, and other related celebrations.  Looking away, my eyes fixed upon the old slide projector my grandfather had used to show slides when we were kids.  A reel still stuck in its side as if it had been stopped mid-show.  I forced my glance back to the photo book.  Memories flooded my mind.

I wanted to turn around and go back, but I couldn't leave the light on all night.  Knowing there wasn't much I could do to change our current situation, I stood the book up in hopes some of the water would drain and some photos would be salvageable.  The memory of my grandparents, the sweetness of those days long ago, and the disaster that surrounded me, weighed heavy on my heart as I searched for the strength to move toward the light.  My feet returned to the squishy carpet, my eyes fixed straight toward the floor in hopes of avoiding discovering the other items damaged from the water.  Finally, I made it to the light switch.  Quickly I pushed the switch, and the room went dark silencing the stories that surrounded me.  I walked back up the stairs and closed the door behind me, for now returning to pretending that nothing had happened.

For the month of March I will be participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge hosted at Two Writing Teachers.  It will be a busy month of writing, commenting, and learning with this community.  Stop by today's link up to join the conversation or find some great reading.


  1. I know how heartbroken you must feel, Cathy. Perhaps the photos and other tangible things are gone, but the memories are stored safely in your heart. Share them and they will live on.

  2. The vision of what you encountered just makes me so sad for you. I know how much I treasure photographs and how irreplaceable they are. I will keep my fingers crossed for you that something can be done and salvaged. I have a scanner if you want me to see if there's anything I can help you save.

  3. I know how sad it is to see these things that were dear to you damaged by the flooding. I went through the same thing when the basement flooded when we lived there! They are just things and you still have all the memories of family. This to will pass and life will go on. I hope that everything will be all taken care of soon and you can get on with life.

  4. I love this line - "the room went dark, silencing the stories that surrounded me". It is so final yet so full of possibility. I hope everything dries out and you go down to the basement to read those stories that are waiting to be told.

  5. This line really struck me - adding so much emotion: 'The memory of my grandparents, the sweetness of those days long ago, and the disaster that surrounded me...' The beautiful and the heartbreaking. Beautiful slice of how you feel about your family - water can never take that away.

  6. I had no idea - how horrible!
    I think of all the memories in our basement - the ones we've collected, and the ones brought to our house after Dad Terlecky died, and then again when my dad died. I complain about the mess down there now, but your story puts a new light on my view of that situation.
    I sincerely hope some company or person has skills around restoring items for you... maybe...


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