Have I been in a time warp? Or just in a flood?

My hometown was flooded in June, and it's preoccupied a lot of my thoughts for the last few weeks. It's a little town halfway between Waterloo and Cedar Rapids in Iowa. I grew up there and my 89-year-old mother still lives there. Luckily she's on the south side of town and the flooding was on the north side. She was without power for several days, and several family friends had homes damaged, but overall, she and they emerged unscathed.

It really made me realize how much we take for granted -- basic necessities like lights, water, heat, air conditioning, safe food, clean water. So many people in the world don't have access to those things on a daily basis, so how can I worry about people who only endure it for a week or two at a time.

I think it was particularly hard to see my memories go underwater -- buildings at the University of Iowa, places in Cedar Rapids -- I went to school at Iowa, I went to CR almost every weekend. I suppose this is all a part of growing up and letting go, saying goodbye to the past, but it's hard to see Mother Nature take over like that. For the most part, this was totally unprecedented -- these buildings, etc., weren't that close to the river, they sat high above the river. Who could have predicted inches and inches of rain all falling in a narrow band like that?

Anyway, it's adding a lot of ... background, I guess you could say, to my next Work In Progress. It's my Oz book: yep, somebody dies in a tornado, and it ain't the Wicked Witch of the East. I figure I can find a lot of research material by just going home for a visit ...

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Comment by Karyn J. Powers on July 6, 2008 at 1:54pm
The flooding has been terruble, but in an election year, with so much money going into ads for the candidates, the impact of mother nature on the midwest falls off the radar. I grew up along the Mississippi in Wisconsin. We used to come to Iowa to smuggle margine into the "Dairy State." One of my earliest flood memories is getting excused from 4th grade for a week to help make sandwichs and carry water for the volunteers making sandbags. My older brothers and sisters got to miss two weeks so they could help build sandbag dikes in the wetlands north of the city.

In 40 years we've gone from Star Trek's communicators to the common cell phone, but we still fight floods with sandbags. Where's the R & D focus on this? Where are the protests against the Army Corps of Engineers? I hope your friends and family get dried out and back to a "normal" life soon!

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