KLEIN: ...It was one of the most encouraging experiences you could ever have. ‘Cause what happened is, here you are, you don’t have, you don’t have a clue, about who to call. What, what disaster have you ever dealt with personally before? You see things on TV, and you hope the best for ‘em, and you even pray for people, and you send mission, uh, groups and, uh, you know, to help, like when there’s a tornado, or a hurricane, and you help people on the coast-- And here it is, you, you’re the one, standin’ there in the middle of, just this trash heap, of your existence. And, you don’t know, I mean, how do you call FEMA? You know, what, what’s that all about? What do you mean, “FEMA,” you know? And where do you, where does all this stuff go? What, what do you do with this? And, oh, by the way, it’s not just you, it’s hundreds and hundreds of people, who are just absolutely destroyed, as far as their homes are concerned, and so much of their belongings. But you start getting past the, ‘Ok, well we can, we can, deal with, you know, we’ll find a way.’ And we happened to have flood insurance. We were one of the few that had flood insurance, and it wasn’t because we were so brilliant; we just had a line of credit at a bank--that was one of the requirements, is that you have flood insurance. So, you know, the good news is, we had flood insurance. The rest is of the story is, the flood insurance, the amount that we had, was just about the same as what we would have gotten from FEMA. So (laughs), so it was kind of like, you know, ‘how does that work?’ Uh, we did get $800 from FEMA, and that was their intent of covering a month’s rent, um, so, I don’t, you know, I don’t know where that would cover a month’s rent, but I’ll talk more about our living circumstances in a minute.
But, um, but what happens, is-- First of all, what made the day so encouraging, was that day, that morning, at, you know, early hours--I can’t tell you, it was 7 o’clock or 7:30--but there were people (pauses)--(emotion in voice) from our church, there, ready to help. There were people from so many schools. The, the baseball team from this school, and the football team from that school. I remember, of course, seeing people from Christ Presbyterian Academy, but I remember Father Ryan’s people being there, and Ensworth people being there, and MBA people being there, and, you know, who knows, and-- But, church people were there, from a variety of different churches, and it was just, you know, “we’re here to help you.”
But there was a person across the alley from me, who didn’t know anybody. She had moved here from New York two months prior. The only person over there helpin’ her was her realtor that sold her the unit. But what happened was, you know, there were so many people that came to help, like, for instance, us--I mean, there wasn’t any way to use them all, and it just, you know, people found-- “How can I help you? What can I do? How can I--?”
You know, then, you know, you kinda, ‘what does help even mean?’ ‘What, what am I supposed to do?’ And you start learning about, well, you gotta take out all the walls, and you gotta take out however much ahead, you know, above where the water line is, and you gotta do this kind of treatment, and you gotta get this kind of dryer, and you gotta do this with the electrical. And you start trying to learn all those things, ‘cause, you know, yesterday I didn’t know anything about it; now I gotta be an expert and do it.
Uh, you know, and I mean, there, there so many people that, you know, there, a number of retired people out there who didn’t either have the, just physical capacity to do it, or the emotional capacity to deal with what they were dealing with, and they’ve gotta figure a way to deal with all the--you know, no offense at all intended with this, but--the government bureaucracy, just to know, ‘what am I supposed to do?’ ‘How can I do this?’ I mean, you know, and let me say very quickly, government--and I mean Planning, and Codes, and FEMA, and TEMA, and, you know, others--were aggressively doing the right thing, uh, without question. But it’s just, you know, ‘I don’t know how to deal with all of these, you know, processes,’ so, you know, just figuring out ‘where do I start?’ was huge.
Now, um, getting people there, you know, there were people bringing food, there were people bringing water, there were people expressing a great deal of support, there were people working hard, you know, pulling out junk and trash and all that....
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