Superstorm Sandy Brings One Family Closer | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

Superstorm Sandy Brings One Family Closer

Play associated audio

The Hardy family goes back generations in a tiny neighborhood called Gerritsen Beach at the southern end of Brooklyn. For them, Superstorm Sandy has created something like an extended family reunion.

Their 2 1/2 bedroom house is currently just barely livable. They removed a fallen tree, replaced drywall, fixed the electricity and heat, and threw down rugs to keep the dust and mold from overwhelming them until they do the work the house really needs.

The Hardy family is more closely knit than a lot of people could stand.

"There's nothing like being 30 and single and living home with mom. Sounds great," says daughter Heather, laughing.

While they were waiting for the landlord to rebuild her last place from a fire, Heather and her 8-year-old daughter, Annie, moved into her parents' home. Her 23-year-old brother has the downstairs bedroom, and her 24-year-old sister, Kaitlyn, comes here every afternoon to watch Annie and her own son. That was the situation when Sandy hit.

"We had everybody in the family here that night thinking it would be safer here," says Heather's dad, John. And then, he says, the water started to seep in every crack.

"So me and my sister were dancing around, 'Oh, my God, water's coming in! Water's coming in!' And my mom was like, 'Get me a towel, you idiots!' " says Heather.

"It went from no water in the house to our knees in a matter of three minutes," says John.

John had recently injured his back. "My son is 6-foot-4, my nephew is 6-foot-4; [they] had to pick me up and pass me out the window, along with all our grandkids," he says.

In the days that followed, things happened in the emotional life of this family. The father of Kaitlyn's 2-year-old showed up every day to help. The two were trying to work things out, but her parents were wary.

"I don't think they would have given him as open of a chance as they did because he helped them so much," says Kaitlyn. "He cut the tree down, he put walls up, he carried things for Daddy, he did everything that he was asked to do."

Her mom, Linda, agrees. "We got to see the side of him that he wanted us to see," she says.

Heather is the oldest of the Hardy siblings. She's a professional boxer, but makes her living as a trainer. Post-Sandy, she says, she feels more stuck than ever.

"There's nothing in Gerritsen Beach to rent after Sandy because everybody's looking. There's so much competition. Nobody wants to rent to a single mom anyway," says Heather.

Heather worries about her daughter, Annie. "She's 8, and everybody needs their own personal place. My kid doesn't have that where she can come home from school and go to her room. I don't have anything to give her. That's super hard. It makes me really worried," she says.

Annie says she's fine with no room. "I really don't mind," she says.

"What about when we had our own apartment — you miss that?" Heather asks her daughter.

"A little," says Annie.

Heather says that if it was up to her mother, the family would all just stay at the house. "She's like, 'Oh, we need to rebuild. Let's just put on eight more bedrooms so that no one ever has to leave,' " Heather says.

Indeed, her mother has plans to build bigger. "We're going to put space aside for the two of them so Annie will have her own space, [and] Heather can have some privacy," she says.

Copyright 2013 WNYC Radio. To see more, visit http://www.wnyc.org/.

NPR

For The Autumnal Equinox, A Poem As Chilling As The Fall Weather

Tuesday is the first day of fall. This time of year reminds critic Abigail Deutsch of Stephen Dobyns' "How to Like It" — a poem about a man who ponders his lost summers and fleeting dreams.
NPR

Keeping Heirloom Apples Alive Is 'Like A Chain Letter' Over Many Centuries

Scott Farm in Vermont grows 100 apple varieties, some of them dating back to the 1700s. These apples may not look as pretty as the Red Delicious, but what they lack in looks they make up for in taste.
WAMU 88.5

New Anthony Brown Video Accuses Opponent Of 'Hiding' And 'Lying"

Democrat Anthony Brown unveiled a new web video today alleging that Republican Larry Hogan is "hiding" his positions on contentious issues like abortion and gun control.
NPR

Retailers' Customers Cautioned As Cyber Attacks Continue

Home Depot says some 56 million card holders were possibly compromised in a cyber attack. It says there's no evidence that debit PIN numbers were comprised or that the breach affected online shoppers.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.