Looking Back >Katrina Refugees: September 6th, 2005

Day 9

Today has been very exhausting. Jon and Bob got up early and left for Mississippi. I couldn’t get back to sleep. The rest of us had to get up earlier than we have been since we evacuated, so we could get the kids going in school. We took Jonny down to the elementary school and tried to enroll him. Unfortunately, the school that we told him he would be attending was capped (it was the school his daddy went to as a little boy – which made it a little special). So we ended up going to another school nearby, which was just as good, just not the one we were expecting. It may be a blessing in disguise, because he will be entitled to bus service, which might make things easier in the long run. While we were enrolling him, several other evacuee families were enrolling their children. Jonny has a little girl in his class who is from north New Orleans. We were able to sign Jonny up for after school care; dad will pick him up when he’s done with work. Mom asked the YMCA (who is running the after school care) to check on the situation with the evacuees. Since we were evacuees, Jonny is eligible for free tuition, which saves us $273 this month. Staci also enrolled Samantha in high school, the same high school Jon graduated from. She seems pretty okay with the situation and Heather will take her to school tomorrow (after she drops off Jonny) and make sure she gets settled in. After lunch, Staci and I loaded the boys up in the car and headed up to Bubba and Vonnie’s in Mullin. It was a 2 ½ drive so we packed our bags too and planned on spending the night and enrolling the boys in the morning. From the minute we arrived, the boys were out running around. They are very excited about spending some time in the country. Bubba and Vonnie have about 7 aces, a horse, a donkey, a goat, dogs (including ours), cats, a bird and a slew of chickens. Tomorrow we’ll take the boys over to the school to enroll them. I think they each will have less than 10 kids in their entire class. We’re hoping that all the kids will do well with where they’re at; although the boys are against the idea of going to school and Jonny says he doesn’t like his new school. They all need to settle into a routine. They’ve been staying up until midnight every night and sleeping in until noon, if we let them. Not a very healthy routine for them. Please pray for the adjustments. Thankfully, being military kids, they are better equipped than most kids to deal with school transfers. And pray for Staci; it’s going to be hard for her to be separated from Spencer, he’s her youngest and she’s never had to leave him anywhere.

I received a phone call from Jon. He and Bob made it to Diamondhead okay. They said that pictures don’t do the devastation justice; it’s really bad. Bob and Staci’s house only had a tree in the back porch screen and a rank smell from the spoiled meat in their deep freeze. Bob also has electricity and running water already. After unloading the vehicle, they drove over to another friend’s house (Mark Burton had just purchased his house in Diamondhead; he and his family are still in Hawaii). Their house fared fine, but about 100 yards out the back yard, it looked like a tornado had gone through. As Jon and Bob were driving over to our house, Jon saw entire households piled up on the curbs; all the ruined furniture and items that had been cleaned out of other flooded homes. Then they arrived at our house.   Jon said our house looked bad on the inside. Our Sante Fe still had standing water in it. Jon couldn’t get into Heather’s car because she forgot to give him the keys, but she had a thick fungus growing on her steering wheel. The refrigerator in the garage had fallen over in the storm surge, mildew is growing all over our kitchen cabinets, the doors on my china hutch are warped, the bathroom floors are covered in black mud and the most heart breaking of all: my cedar chest had disintegrated in the water. Jon didn’t look around too much, but he said that my cedar chest with all my memories, all my journals, all my yearbooks, was just gone. He didn’t bother to look to see if his cruise book and Antarctica stuff survived. Jonny’s books were also ruined, because they were all on the bottom shelves of his book case, where he could easily reach them. Jon did say that our mattress (that we are still making payments on) must have floated on the box springs, because it was fine. He moved it upstairs. A blessing. The jury is still out on his big screen tv (that we are still making payments on). It looked okay, but he hasn’t tested it yet. Our back yard looked like a war zone also.

So, I cried. And I’ll cry some more between now and when I see it. And I’ll cry a lot when I’m actually there. I’ll try to remember that all our possessions (even my writing) belongs to the Lord, it is His to do with as He sees fit. I’ll try to remember that so many have suffered far more than we have. But it will still be hard. And I’ll still ask God why. And I’ll cry, so that the Lord can begin the healing process. Because that is what we all need. It will take time. It will take love and strength and endurance beyond what we have on our own. But the Lord will see us through and we will make it. I thank God for the family and friends who are here for us in our time of need. I thank God for the important things. And I share this all with you, that you might understand what so many others are also facing.

Please keep praying for us.

God bless.

Grace & Peace


About Jill English Johnston

God writes His story on every heart, if we only pause to read it. My heart has lived in a fantasy world since early childhood and am delighted that God has finally brought me to the place where I can bring the fantasies to life through story. I am currently working on a fantasy trilogy (of course) but I also post thoughts, reflections and (hopefully) inspiration to my website: tabletsofhumanhearts.wordpress.com I am a follower of the Rabbi Jesus, married to my best friend and inspiration, and the mother of three incredible children, one daughter and two sons, a son-in-love, a daughter-in-love and two adorable granddaughters. When not writing, I passionately pursue prayer, reading (never enough time to read them all!), and the outdoors. My husband and I both served in the US Navy and have lived/travelled through many states and all over Asia. We both still enjoy travelling, but we really love our home in New Braunfels, located at the Texas Hill Country.
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