At this moment my classmates and I are sitting on the train on our way to the Oral History in the Mid-Atlantic Region conference in College Park, MD, to present on this project. There has been so much work done to get to this point and it is finally here.
We have learned all about oral history and how to create it. The last two weeks has been spent conducting our interviews and if I was nervous for that I don’t know how to describe my feelings about presenting in front of a large group of people.
As nervous as I am I am just as excited to be able to share our projects and even my own personal experience; even though I am terrified of getting emotional in front of a room of strangers. Sandy may have been months ago, but to me it is like it was yesterday. To this day driving around the neighborhoods I get choked up at how empty it all seems. Every time I hear the sound of rushing water I get a panicked feeling and the memories; of sitting on the stairs watching the water come into the house, come flooding into my head. We were in inches of water in less than five minutes and it wasn’t long before we were staring down at almost four feet of nasty dirty water. We watched as our possessions floated in and out of the rooms and as the furniture was picked up and flipped over in the water. We waited and waited for what seemed like forever for the water to go down and when it did we were left with a mess. I’m still not sure what was more traumatic, sitting in the house watching the water rise and dealing with the mess and loss of possessions or going out and realizing half the town and surrounding communities were gone. Houses were just taken away, ripped right off the foundation.
This is just a glimpse at my experience and I am getting emotional just thinking about it. Tomorrow I will be sharing more information with a number of strangers and I can only hope that my adrenaline will kick in and my brain won’t have time to process the emotion that comes along with the story and trauma.