Saturday, September 10, 2011

You know you're a genealogist when...

I know other blogs have started with this same title and this week I found out how true it is for me in my own way.  Six years ago when I moved into my house in Pennsylvania my office was located in the basement.  Two reasons for this.  There were only two bedrooms in the house, one of which my husband and I slept, and the other which doubled as his office and a small guest bedroom.  My basement office, though at times lonely and cold since it was unfinished did have more room for all of my research.

Over the years our basement would take in small amounts of water during very heavy rain storms that were controlled by towels or just having the water run into the floor drain.  How we chose the only corner of the basement where water never seeped into the house was pure luck.  As my husband said recently, it was like sacred ground where no water went.

Recently, Hurricane Irene came through the area with lots of wind and rain.  Somehow the basement didn't take on but a trickle of water.  On the heels of Irene came Tropical Storm Lee which dumped 5-7 inches of rain in such a short period of time to already saturated ground that the basement took on more water then in the past.  Towels were of no use to keep the water contained.  After almost 12 hours of trying to control the water leaking into the basement exhaustion just took over for the day.

On the second day, after the first hour of cleaning up the water that came in overnight and headed for the floor drain, I heard gushing water.  Imagine my panicked surprise when I saw gushing water in the sacred ground of my office where no water previously went!  I called my husband on the phone breaking down as I almost yelled into the phone, "there's water gushing in thru the wall in my office area, I have to get my genealogy out!"  Then I hung up on him.  Running up and down the steps for the next two hours grabbing everything off the bookcases that had anything to do with my research, photo albums, documents, and books.  I never knew how much I had that was so important.  I was lucky in the fact my computer had been taken up to the third floor the day before the basement had first started taking on water.  I didn't care about any bookshelves, my desk, file cabinet, nothing but genealogy. know you are a genealogist when you let your furniture get damaged/destroyed over loosing your genealogy realated items.

My kitchen, dining room, and living room are a mess now.  There were other items grabbed after the important things mentioned.  I did save a large bookcase which now resides in my kitchen along with a smaller bookcase.  A third is laying on the floor of my living room.

At first when all of this was going on and complete exhaustion set in I thought things were really bad for me.  Then I saw the destruction and devistation of many Pennsylvanians not an hour north of me who have lost everything.  It made me put things into a much needed perspective of how fortunate I am to still have everything I have.  I do know someone who's home was flooded and at this time they haven't been able to assess the damage to their items, but they are sure they have lost all of their valuable memories of photos and other items that just can not be replaced.  I didn't loose my things, but I can relate after the panic I went through when I thought I was going to loose my things.

Remember, safe guard your valuables.  Be prepared for the unexpected.

Oh, at least no boulders can come loose from a hillside and roll into my house like what happened to my Grandmother (see The Boulder Story

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