Like many New Jerseyans, our house took some direct hits from Irene and Lee. After living with a completely dry, finished basement for the last 12 years, this time, it flooded twice and then our ceiling leaked, and our finished basement became finished in the other sense of the word. As in, kaput. Granted, we didn't suffer one iota as much as the folks in the hardest hits parts of the state, like Cranford (see Eileen's post, below) or Paterson. My heart goes out to the people in those areas, and, considering the complete devastation of their homes and belongings, I can't really complain. Relatively speaking, losing our basement wasn't so bad.
Still, I lost something in the flood that, as a writer of children's books, makes me awfully sad. I lost most of my longstanding collection of children's books. I have...make that, had...hundreds, maybe thousands of books. I'd been collecting them for decades, since I was a kid. My own kids have added reams of new titles to that collection every year. Three days post-storm, I got home from being stranded in Colorado to find them soaking wet and soiled, ruined. I'm not talking about them being ruined by the clear, Poland Springs-kind of water, I'm talking about the brown, smelly, yucky kind. These books clearly had to be tossed.
So lately, I've been throwing out everything from Rick Riordan to Carolyn Keene. So long, Caps for Sale. Nice reading you, Polar Express. Unwind, Artemis Fowl, The Thief Lord, all gone.
It is a drag. On the other hand, ruined book collections can be rebuilt, for the most part. As for ruined homes and lives, it's not so easy. My thoughts turn to those folks now. I wish them all a speedy recovery, and lots of financial aid from FEMA!
Paper Waiters, did Irene and/or Lee affect any of you, too, from a children's book writer's perspective?