Posted by: getthenac | May 4, 2010

Nashville Flood 2010: Share Your Story

from Wayne Wood:

We’d  like to invite staff, faculty, students and volunteers of Vanderbilt to share your stories of the Flood of 2010 in the comment section below. This is not the place to ask for help (that would be through the Work/Life Connections EAP office at 936-1327), but this is a place that we can tell some of what we saw, or what we felt or feel.

In News and Communications, we did a quick check yesterday to find out what was going on with our staff members. A few had scary stories of watching rising water or of frantically bailing flooded basements. One co-worker was stranded on high ground in her Bellevue house, fine but unable to leave.

Here’s my Flood Confession:  I spent most of last Sunday in a mini-funk, or possibly a semi-sulk, annoyed that our power was out and the roof was leaking a little. Over the past couple of days, as the reality of what has struck our city has come clear, my remembrance of my churlish Sunday attitude has made me feel smaller and smaller. I must face that I am a contender for the title Mr. Ungrateful 2010.

What’s your story? Please click comment to share.



  1. I’ve had many emotions over these last few days and will continue as well, I’m sure. Frankly, I didn’t realize how much I love living in Nashville until this week. The concern people have for neighbors, families and strangers is very inspiring.

  2. Last night, I sat in the backyard of Eric Delpire (anesthesiology research) with his family, the family of Diane Gilbert (finance), and several more of the fabulous neighbors in our Bellevue neighborhood. We ate our burgers and hotdogs, washed them down with a beer, laughed and told stories for hours. We were soul-weary and body-weary after spending the day clearing out water soaked memories, ruined mementos and dirt caked dreams. Some of us were still covered in the foul mud that crept into our homes and the homes of our neighbors. As we talked away the daylight, I felt so grateful for my community. Grateful for the neighbors who banded together when cut off from the rest of the world by raging waters. Grateful for the homes that were spared. Grateful that my neighborhood knows each other; called to wake those in danger; rescued folks from their front porches by boat; checked on the homes of those not home. Grateful that we support each other physically and emotionally. We left each other last night as the sun left the sky all a little more full in the soul than when we had arrived.

    I share my good neighbors with the Vanderbilt Community. My great neighborhood is also yours.

  3. I was sitting at my desk yesterday and the emails just kept coming with updates about all the friends that were shifting from surveying damage to drying out their homes.

    After and hour or so, I went to my boss who graciously allowed me to take the rest of the day as vacation and headed out to the homes of two elderly friends in Bellvue.

    I didn’t think I was going to be able to get to them for all of the road closures, but eventually I made it and the damage was staggering to behold. The victims had smiles on there faces for the help that had come and tears on their cheeks for the pile garbage that had once been their home.

    Both of the couples that I was helping yesterday did not have flood insurance because they weren’t in a flood plain. Their homes were flooded to 3-4 feet. When you get home look at the amount of your things that would be ruined if you filled your house with that much water. It was staggering. Very little was salvageable.

    If you get an opportunity, go pitch in for a couple of hours. It will be greatly appreciated and it will give you a warm feeling inside (and a wet feeling in your shoes and gloves)!

  4. Nearly 5 years ago, my sister evacuated here after losing everything to Katrina. Today, she’s back at my place after the flood in Bellevue took out her first floor and car. But it’s different now. Although, like everyone else, there’s no insurance, we’re really struck by how much everyone at work, friends and neighbors really want to help. Thank you, Nashville!

    • Hi Mimi,

      I am a producer for Good Morning America and I would love to talk with you about your story. If you’re up for it, please email me ASAP at


  5. I was stuck at a conference, unable to get home until Monday. I was blissfully unaware of how close to the river my house actually was, and with no frame of reference for something of this magnitude, unable to truly imagine what was happening back home.

    Now I’m overwhelmed. With relief that my daughter got out of Boone Trace (Bellevue) safely to her dad’s as the waters rose (and a bit of nausea that keeps returning everytime I realize how close she came to being trapped at home alone or on I-40). With disbelief that my house, with a two-foot high water mark around its base, was not flooded. With sadness and anxiety for my neighbors and dear friends who were not so fortunate. With anger and horror at the destruction to our community. With such gratitude at the numerous emails and calls from friends and colleagues around the country who reached out with such concern. With pride and thankfulness to see how we have pulled together as a community.

    I haven’t cried yet. I figure that will come sooner or later.

  6. A special thanks to the classmates of my son, members of the first year class of Vanderbilt Medical School and mebers of Lambda Chi Alpha. These students have spent the last two days cleaning, sorting through flood damage, knocking out dry wall, pulling up hard wood floor, and giving us moral support. In spite of upcoming exams, they have worked tirelessly to help us in our Bellevue home, as our entire first floor and garage were flooded. We tried to do a little microbiology review, as we discussed the possiblility of a Pseudomonas infection when someone stepped on a nail through their tennis shoe. When a neighbor came over with a cut on his arm they all eagerly watched as I put stitches in under less than desirable conditions ( no lidocaine, and aluminum foil for a sterile field). We literally don’t know what we would do without the help of these students. We are eternally grateful for their assistance. Our family was safe, and all our possessions can be replaced (except for my just-framed autographed poster of the Vanderbilt men’s basketball team that was sitting on the floor! :). If you could see the way these kids worked, you would know you admitted the right kids to Vandy! Thank you, Laurie and John Alsentzer, Class of ’83.

  7. I moved to Nashville only four months ago but already feel a tremendous amount of pride for this city. This flood has done nothing but to cement my initial impression that Nashville is a great place to live.

    Although I live downtown, thankfully our place had no damage. We are very lucky in that for us the flood was an inconvenience – not a catastrophe. Out of town for the weekend in Memphis, we were blissfully ignorant of the damage until Sunday afternoon, when it took us an extra seven hours to drive home.

    When I first moved here and was describing Nashville to my friends and family back in NC, I poked fun at the Cumberland River saying it wasn’t a “real river.” Boy was I wrong. On Monday, I watched in disbelief as the river seeped onto the Titans Field and up in front of the symphony.

    But what amazes me most about this flood is the “glass half full” optimism and compassion of the people of Nashville. I was truly touched to see our community walking around downtown just talking, taking pictures and sharing stories. And even more inspired at the sight of my neighbors, colleagues and friends selflessly supporting one another. It’s the kind of kinship only seen in the South.

    It’s why I’m proud to live in Nashville.

  8. I live in Bellevue near River Plantation which was heavily flooded. Thankfully, I was not flooded. I have a rain gauge in my vegetable garden which I started monitoring on Saturday. I measured at least 20 inches of rain in a 48 hour period. At one point on Sunday, I was no longer able to get to the rain gauge to empty it, so there was a period of time when the rain overflowed the gauge, and therefore not included in the 20 inches that I measured.

  9. Riverside subdivision in Bellevue was hit hard and I know many of my Vanderbilt neighbors who lost their homes. I took photos during the flood and posted on youtube.

    The clean up volunteers have been fantastic and all our neighbors are doing their part. What a wonderful community.

  10. Well where to start. My house was 1/2 flooded we lost our living room and my oldest son Dave (also a Vandy Employee ) lost everything just about he had. Although feeling devastated and overwhelmed I still am grateful that we did not lose everything. Others have lost so much more and then some.

    I am glad proud to be a transplanted Nashvillian from MA. I have lived here for about 5.5 years and can say when all is said and done We take care of ours.

    We just moved into our new place less than 6 months ago and have lost half of our things. Yet right now as I type this my husband and brother (also a Vandy employee ) are helping our neighbor try to empty out their lost belongings as well.

    I have to agree with the “glass half full” optimism as well. It really is not only the heart of Tennessee but some of the biggest hearts in America reside in our fair state. Thank you all for the support you have shown and continue to show. All I can say is “Thank you”!

  11. My boyfriend lives in West Nashville. We were at his house on Sunday morning when I was made terrifyingly aware of exactly what the term “flash flood” means. We had not been home on Saturday night but came home on Sunday morning in the pouring rain because a neighbor called to say there was water going in the corner of his house. When we arrived, you could see the grass in his front yard and there was indeed water up to the corner of his house. We went inside to find the water bubbling up through the toilet and the tub and were trying to stop that by stuffing makeshift “plugs” in both. While he worked on the last one, I went to the front door and noticed the water was already up to and seeping in the front door and you couldn’t see grass in the yard any longer. I told him we needed to get out. We started grabbing clothing and important papers and heading for the door. I ran to the car with the first load and took a cell phone photo from my car and ran back to the house. When I turned to come back out, the water was already waist deep and everything inside was floating. That was exactly eleven minutes after we arrived. We took those second loads to the car and then hurried next door to his mother’s home to get her out. She is an invalid in a wheelchair. We waded through waist deep water to get her out….leaving her wheelchair and belongings behind. Once she was safely in our car on the hill, we went to rescue the neighbor next to her…a single lady with a newborn.

    The whole experience was harrowing. I am off this week to get our affairs straightened out and I am thankful that we all got out safely and are well. I will be thankful, and grateful, to go back to my job at Vanderbilt come next Monday morning.

  12. Today I went with a group of about 50 to help clean up flooded houses in River Plantation subdivision today. I really was not excepting it to be that bad. I’m guessing there are 200-400 houses that had water 4 feet or higher in their house. None of them had flood insurance. We spent the day ripping out drywall and insulation. The amount of water damaged household items, carpet, drywall, appliances and trash that everyone has dragged to the curb or yard was unbelievable. I left today tried and with the over whelming feeling I put too much attention on things that I have that could be taken away form me in a instant and what really matters are the people in your life. I also had the pleasure of meeting and getting to work with Lindsey and Steven both nurses on 5 South.

  13. Imagine four-feet of water in your home that is a combination of sewage flowing out of your toilets and muddy river/creek water. Now try to visualize everything that lives below four-feet in your home: drywall, paneling, books, CDs, DVDs, chest-of-drawers, mattresses, beds, toys, clothes, rugs, hardwood floors, tile, HVAC system, HVAC duct-work, photographs, electronics, piano, refrigerator, washer & dryer, tools, pet food and pet supplies, dishwasher, garbage disposal, trash cans, couches, chairs, floor lamps, and the list goes on…such as privacy fences, decks, outdoor grills, etc, etc.

    Now imagine realizing that 85% of all everything I listed is/was destroyed when you arrive home, and you’ll know what my Sunday afternoon was like on May 2nd.

    The flood did not care what it destroyed, whether it was irreplaceable due to sentimental reasons or if it was junk that needed to be thrown out.

    However, I can say that it feels good to work for a business/institution that cares about its employees, and this caring was evident to me from the responses/reactions from the Chancellor, Vice Chancellors, and other leaders of our great University. I returned to work today, Friday, after spending four days salvaging and cleaning and was pleasantly surprised to read the responses from our Administration.

    Thank you.

  14. May 1, 2010 is a day i will never forget. I came to work 6am in pharmacy Vch worked 9 hours . A Saturday afternoon traffic on I24 was heavy the yellow caution flasing as i listened to radio. It only said tdot if your vehicle is stalled please move off the road. We sat inching along at blue hole road what seemed like a hour. A girl had got out of her car she ran out of gas, we were at a standstill for at least another 1/2 hour then being beside the wall of concrete i noticed a trickle of water then the water was at my front tire and people were coming at me the wrong way the water getting deeper i had called my family and they told me get out of your car now. We had no warning it was so fast. I pushed my door open and grabbed my purse The water came flooding in. Some people went over the concrete wall of the interstate but with oncoming traffic i waded up in water above my waist and people pulled me up on the shoulder . I followed a path to a opening and there i saw a church. The people directed us to a shelter but as we went to the shelter water was coming to the edge of the building and as i looked a huge building was floating toward our cars. I ran and screamed at the officer there is a building but there was nothing they could do i watched in terror and soaking wet in the rain as the building plowed into the cars and fell apart. It took till 9:30 and the mission people carried us out to safety. I ask could they take us to I65 where I could family to come get me. When my family called they could not come they had closed I65 in Franklin. I was exhausted. While I had a room i had been wet for at least 4 hours. I realize how lucky we were. Sunday brought my family to me and out of harms way later to hear of all the damage in Nashville later Sunday. I feel so blessed I was safe with my family. I feel sad still. Just like all the hundreds of other people we have to wait on paper work Insurance and still ther is so much to tell. Thank the people i work with for checking on me and their prayers. Mostly I Thank God without him we are lost.

  15. I had a very Nashville moment just now. Delivering simple sack lunches to neighbors in the Beautiful Valley section of Boone Trace. “We so appreciate it,” the woman said “Where can I send a thank you note?”

    Really? A thank-you note for a dry, slightly squashed turkey sandwich, a bag of Sun Chips and a freckled banana? When her belongings have been hauled to the dump, her house has been stripped to the frames and she’s been up to her elbows all morning in Clorox?

    I’ve read and heard a lot about how Nashvillians have jumped to volunteer to help those who has suffered losses in this disaster. Having been on the volunteering end, I can’t tell you how impressed I have been with what an appreciative and thankful community we are. The manners and the hospitality are running both ways, let me tell you.

  16. My heart goes out to all those who have suffered with the loss of their homes and personal belongings. I am fortunate enough to live on a hill and although I was stuck at home for a few days with no way to get out(still hard to get out, road is a disaster!) and no power my home and family are ok.I hope to be able to get out tomorrow and volunteer in our community(I live in Hickman Co. & our community was hit really hard).I’m thankful that Vanderbilt is helping those who are in need. I feel privileged to work here.

  17. I never realized how many creeks and rivers I have to cross just to get to work. I live in a very rural area (on a hill thank goodness) in North Dickson County on a very large farm. All my avenues were cut off for several days to get to work here at VU. I finally was able to get to work but drove 200 miles RT wow! My daughter had flooding and she too lives on a hill in Charlotte, TN and is waiting on FEMA. However, the impact of those who lost all their possessions humbles us so. It breaks my heart, but mostly those who lost loved ones. We lost cousins at Coone Creek a father trying to save his kids, and the church my mother grew up in, just terrible.

  18. Last Monday, reeling from the weekend’s flood, I sent an email to my three girls asking them to please forget Mother’s Day gifts this year. Instead, I asked them to either volunteer to help someone affected by the flood, or in the case of my oldest, in Knoxville, to make a donation to help. They all did, and it’s one of the nicest Mother’s Days I’ve had. My youngest daughter helped her boyfriend’s grandmother pack up her belongings to move out of River Plantation in Bellevue. My middle daughter and her fiance handed out gatorade and gloves they bought with their own money to volunteers working so hard all through Bellevue.

    Early Saturday morning, I took my own advice, and drove out to Bellevue. I hooked up with a volunteer church group and we were transported over to River Plantation, to General George Patton Road.

    I was paired up with two Vanderbilt master’s students, and a young girl and her brother and friend. We ended up in the small condo of an 84-year-old couple. Nearly everything in their lower level was destroyed. I thought, “How do you put a value on 84 years of belongings?”

    The wife was walking slowly around the lower level of the condo. She wasn’t making eye contact, and would stop every now and then and pick up a ruined item, trying to clean it off. Her husband smiled and thanked us as we walked in, and I’ll never forget what he said. “I still can’t believe this happened to us, losing everything at age 84,” he said. “When I got back over here, I wished the flood had taken me too.” I didn’t even know how to reply. I just patted him on the shoulder and told him we were there to help.

    Several of us helped clear out the couple’s flooded bedroom and bathroom. The smell was overpowering. Muddy water poured out of drawers that I opened in the bathroom. We had to throw all of their clothes away. We did all we could before a demolition team came in to start tearing the condo apart.

    I left feeling like I only made a dent. I am overwhelmed with the desire to help. I’m so thankful that Vanderbilt is helping both its employees who were affected, and steering those of us who want to do something to the right places. But there’s so much to do.

  19. I must admit, I have not been the best Vanderbilt employee this past week. Despite the rain and flooding May 1st and 2nd, I found a way to get to my work. Saturday night I was evacuated from my condo located on the riverfront of the Cumberland River. Lucky for me, I had a friend who had some extra space at his house, so I had a place to live for the three days my condo was inaccessible.

    Because I purchased a unit on the second floor, I suffered no damage personally, however our pool was under about 6 feet of river water and, most devastating, 41 of my neighbors on the first floor were flooded.

    I was glued to the news all night for two days. I was terrified that the river would wash away our river bank and foundation; alas, the structure seems worn, but fine.

    I am a member of the board of directors for my home owners’ association, so I was being hit with calls and emails. When I volunteered for this position, I had no idea that I would have to help manage a disaster of this magnitude.

    Needless to say, I was overwhelmed with the prospect of trying to deal with my HOA duties, my work duties, and my desire to help people clean. Again, I was lucky, for I work with some of the best people who suffered little damage and could take up the slack my absence caused. For this I am grateful, for the aftermath at my condo complex was hard to fathom.

    After the waters went down, the board and our property manager were frantically attempting to call owners, so the cleaning could begin. Some owners totally abandoned their property and were never to be heard from again. “Let the bank take it” was their motto. It made me mad and added to my fear that mold and rot from their units would begin to harm their neighbors who were working very hard to make sure their condos were clean and dry.

    That week, I was at my neighbors’ homes pulling drywall, ripping up floors, and calling contractors. The other board members were on top of things too. We were 5th on the FEMA list they were so fast filing a claim. Our management company was asking us for advice, for the owner and our manager had no clue how we were getting things done so fast and so efficiently. We were a machine. I was proud!

    I suddenly became overwhelmed again on Saturday. My condo organized with several community organizations to get over 100 volunteers to our site to help demolish the 41 units that were flooded. We were forced to turn people away at some points, for we had more volunteers than we had need. For some, we were the second or third place they had been turned away from, due to the huge volunteer response. I was overwhelmed with joy and pride for Nashville… the city in which I was raised.

    I was overwhelmed by Vanderbilt’s response to their own that were displaced by the flooding and had lost so much. Two weeks of extra paid leave is amazing!

    I was totally underwhelmed by Vanderbilt’s efforts to help those outside of its own community. I worked a total of 23 hours at Vanderbilt last week due to the fact that I was helping my friends and neighbors and trying to take care of the business of my fellow home owners through my position on the board. It disheartened me to find out that I had to donate my vacation time rather than sick time for the amount I was required to be somewhere other than Vanderbilt. My lost vacation time may be bitter, but it is given up with pride that I made the choice to do the right thing and not abandon my neighbors and friends.

    I have a new passion for Nashville and everyone who turned this catastrophe into something positive. There is an amazing spirit and soul here that I sometimes forget exists. The people of Tennessee have an event that requires amazing effort and so far, that requirement is being fulfilled beautifully with passion and resolve that this community will return to some form of normal.

    I am in awe! We will move on but we will never be the same. At least I won’t.

  20. It was with a heavy heart that I left Vanderbilt a few weeks ago for Dallas, the result of a family relocation. The sense of community at Vanderbilt hooked me from day one, and I knew how much I would miss everyone.

    That feeling was multiplied by a zillion when the rains came. To hear of the muddy water tearing apart the lives of loved ones, and be three states away and unable to lend a hand… That was tough.

    I tried to stay glued to the TV here in Dallas, but there wasn’t much on about Nashville. I was hearing horrible on-the-ground stories via phone, Facebook and Twitter, and finding virtually nothing on the news about it. What a disconnect! Thank goodness for social media.

    In previous disasters, I’d have been right there in VUMC’s command center, wearing the too-big vest that reads “Public Information Officer.” This time, all I could do was text messages of support, and try to help monitor and correct crazy rumors popping up on social media. I longed to be helping much more deeply.

    Being a writer, I poured out my sadness in a blog. I’ve been writing it about the culture shock of leaving Nashville for Dallas, but I couldn’t help but switch the tone a couple of times to the flooding and its heartbreaking devastation. I cried for Vandy friends (and others) who’ve lost everything, whose homes are now mere skeletons of wet studs stripped of drywall and insulation.

    I was a volunteer on the Gulf Coast after Katrina struck, and seeing this sent me right back to those hot, steamy days. Knowing the terrible smells of sewage-riddle muck and rotten food. Knowing the shock in the eyes of those leveled by something they never thought would happen.

    I called into the telethons. I nagged national media contacts. I checked in with friends of friends who had information about other friends.

    But this weekend, I simply couldn’t stay away. I caught a plane back to Nashville. Instead of packing up my house for the move, I ended up packing boxes at Second Harvest, then cleaning up homes on River View Road in Bellevue. I got to see a few friends who’ve been flooded out.

    It didn’t feel like enough.

    But it did leave me secure in the knowledge that Nashville will rebound, that loving hands will continue to reach out to those affected in the coming weeks and months. This city lifts each other, both with our arms and our hearts. And the Vanderbilt colors run deep in our veins.

    I miss you, Nashville and VUMC, and I’ll continue to help any way I can, even if it’s long-distance. Best of luck to everyone. You will recover!

    • We miss you too, Laurie. You are a very special person to have gotten on that plane and come to the aid of so many distraught people. You have touched my heart and I’m sure many others…Thank you..

  21. This weekend I participated in the flood clean-up at the home of two of the members of my church who lived in one of the areas hit the hardest. As I drove into the area there were piles of debris, some over 10 ft tall, that people has pulled from their home. The piles extended for miles with furniture, clothing, dry wall, insulation, ductwork, etc. thrown into their yards and streets. There was barely room to maneuver your car, both because of the number of people working and because of the debris that was everywhere.

    It was a very moving experience being overwhelmed with the enormity of the damage as well as the number of volunteers that were there helping. Whole church groups, friend groups, neighbors, and strangers were there going from house to house and helping whomever needed it. They came prepared with gloves, shovels, buckets, hammers, wheel barrows, etc. In one home there was a National Guardsman pulling out drywall in a house of someone he did not know only a week before he was being deployed to Afghanistan. He lives in Lebanon a city about 30 miles outside of Nashville. Just thinking about the day brings tears to my eyes.

    Many groups delivered water to the workers. On one street a truck moved slowing along with 3 little girls in the back and their moms dressed in gingham aprons delivering lunches, snacks and beverages. Several restaurants had set up food tents and were giving food away to volunteers and families as they cleaned their homes. Flood buckets had been prepared by churches and disaster groups and delivered to the area. It was another beautiful warm sunny day in Nashville which helped the clean-up.

    After having attended a flood debriefing session at Vanderbilt and feeling like I had some information to share with the women who lost their home, I tried to explain what I had heard. But the woman whose home was lost just kept saying ‘they’re taking apart my home’ and was only able to deal with what she needed to at that moment. Anything more was just too much.

    We need to remember that in the coming months and continue to provide additional support and information in the coming the months.

  22. My mother-in-law, brother-in-law, and his wife were at our home helping my wife and I finish the last details in putting our home on the market to sell. After months of rennovation, only to leave the home for a “can’t turn down job,” we were emotionally drained. We live in a 100 yr flood plain but the home had never flooded, so as the waters rose in the backyard, the stress escalated. I assured my wife that things would be fine. But, the water just wouldn’t recede. We decided, just in case, to make a quick trip for sandbags. My phone rang as we were slowly choosing 60-pound bags of sand. On the other end, I could barely understand my mother-in-law because of the panic in her voice. “Forget the sandbags — you have to come home now! Your house is already flooded! What do we do?!” I could only answer, “Go to the shed and use the ladder to climb on the roof before it gets any higher!” The futility of this statement hit me when I later saw that our shed had already washed downstream, releasing its contents for a half-mile.

    We prayed intensely and aloud as we raced the 3 miles to our house. In those short few minutes, our neighborhood became a lake and our home a dam to the natural flow. Inside was two loved ones and three dogs. The water became a rapid at the corner of our house, but we helped each other, dogs in tow, to shallow water. When we evacuated, we did not expect anything to be standing upon our return.

    Because our home is in a floodplain, we thought this situation was unique to our neighborhood. It was much later that we realized other areas were hit much harder than us.

    The city and FEMA have undertaken a series of stormwater management steps in our neighborhood. These are the only reason our home will survive.

    When we finally do list our home for sell, it will have new flooring throughout, new heating and cooling, some new electrical… and a shed that is built on stilts.

    Blessedly, our mortgage requires flood insurance and the claim is already processed. Our hearts hurt for those who live in areas where floods were never expected.

  23. What started out as normal sunday, for myself and my mother. It quicklty turned into a day we will never forget. We lost all of our belongs. It was hard to stand and look at the water take over your home. It was very heart breaking.

  24. I spy with my little eye………… WATER

    Yes, Janis, I am ok. Janis asked that I check in. If you’ve seen the videos from Nashville with Pep Boys, I live there. Exactly there. I live in the Richland Creek area and it flooded it’s banks.
    I was awakened by the tornado siren at 5AM. As I turned on the t.v., I saw that it was a warning and not a watch. It was on top of me, headed for dad, then mom and sis. I called them to get them out of bed. As I was talking to them, I looked out the window and saw the trashcan and recycling bin lying on the ground. And the sandbox that took 4 men (one of which was a UT football player) to carry on the other side of the yard???!!! I thought either winds or water moved that. It wasn’t raining at that point, so I thought nothing more of the weather. I went back to bed worrying about how I was going to get that doggone sandbox back where it was? After all, there’s just me. That made me a little sad. I got up at 9. We were sitting around doing nothing, except realizing that the water in the backyard was getting higher. My house, evidently, was built to withstand a flood since I am so close to the water. It’s really high. You have to go up steps just to get inside. I kept an eye on it through both the back and front windows. Mom even asked me if I thought I’d be ok, and I said yes, since the house was so tall. All at once, there was a huge clap of thunder and the skies opened up. Looking at where it was to where it ended up, the water rose about a foot in 30 minutes. I would occasionally put my ear to the floor and hear it dripping into the crawl space, but was glad it wasn’t coming in the doors/windows. As it was rising fast, I saw Phil (next door) move his brand new SUV. And it dawned on me, I hadn’t been looking out the side of the house… if Phil was about to be under water, how deep in it was my sports car???!!! I ran to get my keys and stepped into reality. Thigh deep water. And sat down. In a car whose pedals were unseen and prayed it would start. I got it out of the water. It started. I went back in, crying and sobbing, saying, “I don’t want to do this! I can’t do this!” with every step, over my baby car (that I’ve poured every last dime into for the past year ($3,000)). The water continued to rise and then my son said, “What’s that sound?”

    It was the water about to gurgle up through the vents. I screamed inside and shouted orders out loud. Get dressed! Get Murphy! I’ll get Maggie! I just wanted to be done before it came in. I don’t know why, but I did. I first tramped across the yard with Maggie the Norwegian Forest cat. They like water, but she was none too keen on swimming today. It was waist deep. My phone was in my waist pocket. So much for the phone! I’d told my son to stay on the porch, but he didn’t. He came on with Murphy the ginger colored, amber eyed kitty, in his carrier. I started the car to head for higher ground, but it wouldn’t go. I found out later on I couldn’t have gone anywhere anyhow, the road was impassable. We spent the day waiting and watching. Our street was pretty flooded, but, evidently, it was better than other streets. The fire trucks with their boats used it for the next two days. With sirens blaring, night and day. THP helicopters looking for flood victims hovered night and day for two days. It was like being in a war zone. At about noon, I was standing in the one spot it wasn’t raining (at a restaurant that was closed) and saying, “It isn’t supposed to be like this! It was supposed to be my last day of remodeling and cleaning. I was going to have my celebration meal!!!” As the waters receded some, we went back and stood on our own porch, no longer covered with water and debris. The trees were cracking loudly, heavy with water. At that point, I looked up at the looming maple and shouted “Go ahead, just fall on it! I dare ya!” And then we started laughing. I mean what are the chances my almost ex-husband Ed’s house would burn down one weekend and the next my house is flooded in the worst flood seen by Nashvilleans in decades? I should buy a lottery ticket! We just laughed and laughed at the stupidity of the situation. That’s where I spy… water came from. Ironically, the sandbox floated back to where it started. And that made me laugh too. My nephew finally came late that evening since no one could find me via my dead wet phone. I love that boy, but I have never been any more glad to see him than I was on Sunday.

    The “water sucking guy” made his rounds to all the houses on Monday and the “carpet fan blower guy” made his rounds on Tuesday. I only needed the fan blower guy for under my house. It’s a bit quieter now. The house behind me lost both cars and it was under two feet of water. The house next door had the bottom floor filled with water. Both houses have lost their floors and carpets, but they had the good sense God gave them (and the presence of mind) to get everything off of the floor. The house next to it, their crawl space had items they forgot about, so they lost those. The house next to it lost their entire finished basement. That said, all I’ve lost certainly is my duct work and air conditioner. I can’t afford the deductible, but that’s another story. I may have lost my car. It was submerged, but the electrical doesn’t seem to be affected. I do have a new phone, but I’ve lost my phone numbers. My house never got wet inside. And I have electricity. I went to bed that night, my mantra verbally heard, “Thank you God, Thank you God… “ for the bullet I missed. I didn’t get by unscathed, nor did I lose everything. I’m an in-the-middle sufferer. Still haven’t had that celebration meal, but I will. We’ll celebrate something a tad different than planned.

  25. I moved to Nashville in Nov 2009, started at Vandy Dec 2009 and bought my condo in River Plantation the end of January 2010. I came here after living in the cold weather all my life and with the dream of rebuilding a new life after tragic loss in NY. Though this flood isn’t the worst thing I have ever lived through- it did test my strength and outlook with life.
    As I looked around at my “new life” on May 2nd- I heard hundreds of different stories, fears and loss.
    I watched each day as we all discarded our homes and belongings- from precious memories and items that ” we would cherish forever” to the soaked walls and furniture that made our house a home.
    Then the bulldozers came and piled all of our lives into one big pile- quite a persepctive came over me. We are all in this together…the flood victims, the volunteers, our employers, friends, neighbors and strangers.
    No one has been spared.
    As a single woman on a journey to start a new life- there was even a moment of symbolic melancholy- as I threw away all of my files that documented my life up to May 2nd.

    Though much of my loss can be replaced in time- I am renewed each day as I meet a new person-
    who shows kindness, compassion and a minute to think about something else.
    I have had loss before- but I have never seen this kind of support, caring and true generosity as I have seen here in Nashville.
    I came here alone- but I am no longer alone.
    That is a priceless gift.
    My heart & thanks go out to so many wonderful people.

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