Carolyn – Faces of the 2011 Flood

I met Carolyn in a shelter for flood victims at the First Baptist Church in Morehouse, Missouri. Although Morehouse isn’t directly on the Mississippi River, flood waters quickly rose when systems that normally drain into the Mississippi backed up. The situation was further complicated when a dyke created to keep nearby Highway 60 open for traffic diverted even more water into town. No one had much warning and most of the small town’s homes sustained water damage. I plan to tell you more about Morehouse in an upcoming post, but since I won’t be available to post again for several days, I want to introduce you to Carolyn.

Carolyn welcomed me and brought a chair so I could sit beside her bed, one in a row against the wall. Although about 50 people were staying in the shelter at its peak, most have now moved in with family and friends. Only about a dozen remain. She was gentle, soft-spoken and friendly as she told me there had not been time to gather any of their belongings – only their two dogs.

Carolyn has diabetes and neuropathy that prevents her from standing on her feet very long, so cannot work. Her husband works as a cart gatherer at WalMart. “We are very lucky,” she told me, “my husband only had to take two days off of work during all this. We won’t be able to live in our house anymore, but we have signed up for help from FEMA.” She introduced me to her dog, Sissybell, who she said is part  “Shee-a-it-zu”  “I don’t want to say it the other way because I don’t like to say that word,” she said with an embarrassed smile.

“Everyone here has been so kind,” she said. She hopes to stay at the shelter until their housing allowance comes through from FEMA and they can find another place, but she said, “I know God will help us when we need it – He always does.”

Before I left home, I had lunch with my dear friend, Norma Jeanne, who is now in her 87th year. She’s a lively, joyful little pixie with an enormous, loving heart. Norma Jeanne lives on a fixed income and isn’t wealthy, but when I told her about my upcoming trip to the flooded area, she pulled out a $20 bill and asked me to give it to someone that needed it. As I sat with Carolyn, I knew this was the right person. I told her about Norma Jeanne, gave her the bill and asked her to remember my friend in her prayers. Carolyn was very touched and appreciative and repeated Norma Jeanne’s name to be certain of it.

 Sometimes it’s the “small” things that feel the biggest.

About Gayle Harper

Travel Photographer and Writer
This entry was posted in 2011 Mississippi River Flooding and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Carolyn – Faces of the 2011 Flood

  1. Oyunu says:

    Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on
    the video to make your point. You clearly know what youre talking about, why throw away your intelligence on just posting
    videos to your blog when you could be giving us something enlightening to read?

    • Gayle Harper says:

      Hello – thanks for visiting and commenting. And thanks for the encouragement to write more! As you might have noticed during the time I was on my 90-day road trip on the Mississippi Great River Road, I posted fairly regularly. Now I am in the process of writing the book about that experience and selecting the photos for it. It’s coming well – and it is a big project! So virtually all of my time and creative effort is going there until it is done. (I’m writing about day 71 right now of the 90 days – so more than 3/4th done!)
      I do plan to revive the blog and give it attention and new energy then – so I hope you will check back in a few months! Regarding your comment about the video – I find it a little confusing. You posted your comment on “Carolyn – Faces of the 2011 Flood” and there is no video link there at all. There is one with the following post and as far as I can recall that is the only video link anywhere in my blog! Anyway, thanks again for your comments and I’ll get back at this as soon as I can!

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