Thursday, August 1, 2013

Sandy Still Requires Attention!!!

 I hope you will read on to get to the sewing part of this post!
Ashokan Resevoir
     I have just been to the mountain-top, metaphorically and literally.  Two weeks in the state of New York, how lucky am I?  First a visit to the Catskill Mountains for a family baby shower, next down to Brooklyn for a week including a day in Manhattan, then back to the mountains to spend more time with relatives.
Though the mountains were beautiful and the relatives lovable, I will always be grateful for the spiritual experience in Brooklyn.  I am fortunate to attend a truly faithful church with a pastor who has a passion for missions.  We decided to donate half of what we would normally have spent on Christmas gifts this year to the victims of Hurricane Sandy in Staten Island, then organized a group in coordination with UMCOR to be trained and work on storm relief in Brooklyn.  There is still soooo much to be done.  When I told friends that I would be leaving, some said, "What hurricane?"  How quickly we forget about the catastrophes in other places.  Another acquaintance said something about that being a noble thing to do.  The truth is, I don't agree.  I got to feel useful and to be a part of God's plan.  In fact, the time I spent with the beautiful Ms. M was a gift to me.

    Okay, so what does this have to do with sewing?  Well, after the first day of mudding, sanding, painting, and planning for tile work; we went back to our host church for the evening.  During the dinner conversation, my awesome hubby said something to me about how Ms. M had been a seamstress -- assuming that I had heard that conversation.  She told me that she lost almost everything and I saw the damage, but I couldn't sleep that night wondering and wanting to ask her if her sewing machine was lost too.  Then I began to think about this crazy day a few weeks earlier when I found an incredible White at a garage sale for $30!  I had three thoughts of what I might do with it but hadn't committed to any of them.  I now knew why.  
I thought about giving it to my niece or my mother -- or keeping it to travel back and forth when needed so "Bernice" my Bernina doesn't get roughed up.
     When we got to her home the following day, I could hardly contain myself, but I didn't want to overwhelm her anymore than she already was.  I took her aside and told her that I hadn't been part of the conversation about her seamstress skills and that I was a bridal seamstress before I began teaching.  We connected on a new level immediately.  I asked her about her machine and was floored by her answer.  Unfortunately, her machine had stopped working before the storm, so she borrowed one from a friend.  They were both destroyed in the flooding.  She bought a new one for her friend to replace the one she borrowed but didn't have one for herself.  I melted. (I am very emotional and sorry this is so wordy.)  
     Beware: the world is going to get even smaller now.  Out of the blue, my 27-year-old daughter K decided to move to Brooklyn about a month before our trip.  Therefore, I will be returning with the White and some fabric from my stash this month when we move my sweet little girl/best friend and all of her possessions.  I don't believe that any of this was coincidence.  
K with her wristlet.  She doesn't look upset that the lining with credit card pockets is upside down.
     Ms. M is an amazing woman, and that machine will be put to good use.  I wonder how many other fellow sewists have lost what many of us in this blogging community hold so dear.  I don't think I can ever pass up a decent machine at a yard sale now.  However, finding those in need will be a challenge.
     For those of you who might be interested in the devastation, here are a few details that I learned.  
  • The water rose so quickly in the homes that are slightly below street level, or in basements that people trying to get things out had to escape through windows.
  • The only items that can be salvaged are made from solid materials.  But even then, they may be warped or rusted.
  • The relief stage of removing damaged and moldy materials from the homes is just now coming to a close.  Many people have not been able to live in their homes.
  • The people who were affected are still working very hard to recover from the damage.  
  • Some repairs were done before everything was cleaned properly and mold is growing behind walls that will have to be redone.
  • Some businesses will not be able to recover at all.
  • The damage is not visible at this stage from the outside of the homes, but many people are without walls and staying in less than comfortable accommodations. (Imagine doing your dishes in a laundry tub and bathing in a bathroom without the bottom four feet of wall.)
  • Money is often tied up so people are still waiting to begin repairs.
  • The area was hit with another damaging storm a month later, then an extremely snowy winter, and two more difficult storms after the snow melted.  There are some who had to start over several times due to the continual bad weather.


  1. Thank you for posting about this. You must have been quite overwhelmed about the sewing machine, and it is just the right place for it to go. We do forget just how long it takes to recover from these awful disasters. The same situation occurred in Brisbane after our devastating floods in Jan, 2011. From the outside the buildings looked ok but inside there were no walls, and makedo furnishings. Many businesses didnt recover. It takes years for things to return to "normal".

    1. It is always so nice to hear from you! I have to say that this is the closest I have been to a disaster. We don't always get the news here about what happens in Brisbane. I hope your family was able to avoid being affected by that storm. I am counting down the days until I can deliver the sewing machine and so looking forward to seeing my friend Ms. M. She became very dear to me in such a short amount of time, I get emotional every time I think of her.
      Thank you for commenting Marilyn.

  2. My goodness, what a story! I must admit to a goose-bumpy feeling reading it too. You are such a kind and generous friend!

  3. Hi Anna Christina,
    It was such a pleasure to chat with you at the ASE. I'm so happy you were able to come to the dinner with us! It was so much fun! You are so incredibly sweet and kind to donate your time to helping the victims of Sandy. Sandy is not forgotten here in NJ and we appreciate everyone who has helped, especially those who came from so far away, to help everyone here get back on their feet. What a generous gift! Take good care. Kyle