It's been a week since the mandatory evacuation order to leave the Florida Keys for the Cat 5 storm IRMA, and I would be lying if I did not say it has been a roller coaster ride. We were in the direct path of it for so many days it was really unnerving. Life in the Cone! I am a lifelong Floridian, a business person, and most importantly a wife, so when someone you love doesn't want to leave… guess what… you hunker down. It's a personal decision and you have to respect that.
Many factors favored a good outcome. The house I live in has seen numerous hurricanes since the mid-1960s, Andrew included … it's got good bones… it's situated at nearly the highest elevation in the geographic center of the island… a whopping 11 feet above sea level, in a native plant hammock. Cisterns, solar power, generators. And though I may think what the heck, every June I go out and buy provisions to last for at least a month. That's just what you do.
Yes, there was the gamble you can't predict a monster storm. And with all the social media it's just really difficult to find a personal calm. During those hours, glued to the weather channel, I remembered my project during the early 2000’s, The Fragile Keys documentary, Pete Purdue, legendary fisherman and marine store operator in the Keys, an interview about how as a boy, he survived the Killer hurricane of 1935, that wiped out Islamorada, including scores of servicemen who were on Flagler’s railroad cars who couldn't get out and were washed to sea. He and his family and neighbors sought refuge in a school bus. As the surge water's were rising up to within inches of the roof of the bus, his grandmother announced that they all recite the Lords Prayer. And they did. And the waters went down.
Prayers work. And like those emojis you see on a live feed on Facebook, when I closed my eyes I saw persons important in my life and development. They were real faces and I’d concentrate even harder to make out their features. Compassion for others.
As I write by candlelight, there are super dark skies, free of light pollution, I can even see the stars. I want for nothing. Yes it's hot and it’s hard work cleaning up, but my pain is eased when I think of those folks down South. The Keys, The Islands. The ones who lost their jobs, their homes, perhaps their lives They have lost everything. Except they have also gained something. Their friends, families and complete strangers are coming together, helping each other out.
9/14/2017 06:21:50 am
Thank you Carol-loved your letter and ALL of the photos. Good Luck to you all!
9/14/2017 05:46:13 pm
Great photos Carol. Hugs to you AND you know who :-))
9/15/2017 02:33:38 pm
What a wonderful thing you have done for so many, Carol.......the words you wrote and the pictures you have taken were amazing. Both can only bring comfort to us all. Thank you.
Marilyn Broeman and Mary Smith
9/14/2017 08:03:37 am
Beautiful photos - encouraging in a way - we survived and with time and a lot of hard work we will be fine! Many thanks Carol!⭐️💐😍
9/14/2017 08:52:05 am
Thank you so much for sharing these pictures-they really tell a story!!!
9/14/2017 09:51:02 am
Great job Carol, that was a really good look around.
9/14/2017 11:01:20 am
Carol...thank the good Lord you are safe and withstood Irma!!!!Thank you Jesus!!!
Ray & Cathy Jansen
9/14/2017 11:57:30 am
Wonderful and strangely comforting. Thank you for your effort.
9/14/2017 05:35:21 pm
So happy you are safe and able to post these wonderful pictures
Julio E. Sune, Jr. [Real Estate Appraiser]
9/15/2017 02:49:48 am
Excellent photos. Ocean Reef Club is a unique community which I have admired and respected for over 38 years. Its beauty and architectural integrity will be restored very quickly and to the highest standards.
9/15/2017 05:29:37 am
Thanks Carol for the amazing tour of the Reef ! Good luck to you. Be safe!
Terry and Pat Baxter
9/15/2017 07:08:22 am
Just the best look possible without being there. You are a talented, tough lady, and so thoughtful to share these photos. One of our treasures that survived Irma. Thank you, Carol!!
9/15/2017 03:25:49 pm
I agree completely.
9/15/2017 10:14:35 am
Carol, thank you so much for the amazing pictures. Many of us are anxiously waiting to return, in the next couple of weeks. These pictures were comforting, given all of the destruction to the Keys. We hope to meet you, in the future!! Stay safe!!!!!!
9/15/2017 03:24:57 pm
Nice Job. Glad you and your hubby are safe. See you soon.
9/15/2017 03:27:49 pm
Carol, Thank you for your time with this pictorial. We will look back at these one day and know just how strong we are.
9/17/2017 11:19:28 am
Photography is so important to document historical events. Thank you so much for taking the time to record the post-Irma conditions at the Reef. I'm glad so much survived!
12/4/2019 09:15:09 am
Hello--would you happen to have a contact number or address for Pete Purdue? I am looking for him for my cousin Dick Butters who would like to get in touch with him. Dick is in his 90's and would like to reconnect with "Petie". Thank you.
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