The floods of March 2010 effected the entire state of Rhode Island regardless of where anyone lived. In our neighborhood basements that had never flooded were filled. Our house was built in 1925 and nary a drop of water entered the foundation walls in all those years. But this time, it was water, water, everywhere.
Our elderly neighbor, too, had water in her basement. I watched as two fire trucks stopped in front of her house. We hadn’t really gotten to know Lucille in the year since we moved into our house. But when I saw the fire trucks I went running over in the rain. I went in the back door, greeted by multiple firefighters trying to get Lucille to leave her house. The basement had over 3 feet of water and required them to turn off the electricity to the house.
A frantic 81 year-old woman was on the phone with two of her nieces asking if there was a couch or space for her to stay until the water could be pumped and the lights turned back on. The niece next door to her was a smoker as was her husband. Having just recovered from pneumonia there was no way she could stay there; and the other niece on the other east bay simply said “no”–I overheard the conversation and was shocked! I simply couldn’t understand how she could have said such a thing.
I looked at the firefighters who were desperate for an answer and readying to leave for another call. I said, “She’ll stay with us, next door.” Of course Lucille said she couldn’t put us out, which I assured her was not the case. I’d just started a new job and Steve was out of the house all day, so she she’d have the place to herself. We set up a cot in the dining room and blocked off the doors for her privacy.
Lucille stayed with us for an entire week. It was fantastic! We had the chance to get to know our neighbor in such a different way. She gave us some history lessons about the neighborhood. Steve developed a particularly lovely bond with her, I think he reminds her of the long estranged son she hasn’t seen in years.
Last week Lucille celebrated her 86th birthday! We are sure to visit with her at least once a week. I don’t think we’d have had the pleasure of developing this lasting relationship with our neighbor if she had gone to stay with her niece. So today’s thank you is for the Great Flood of 2010, we couldn’t have done it without you!