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Thursday, May 3,2012

The Flood

By Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Kimberly Kirberger  
I woke up to the crash of thunder and the pitter-patter of rain. It was 3:43 A.M. Boom! Boom! Thunder was crashing as loud as a stereo with the volume turned up to the limit and the speaker held up to your ear. This didn’t alarm me, though, and I fell back to sleep. At 5:16 A.M., my father rushed into my room.

“Adam! Adam! Get up! We’re flooding! The basement is flooding!” he shouted.

Still groggy, I tried to ignore him, but he shook me by my shoulders. That got me up! Since I didn’t have time to change, I ran downstairs in my pajamas to the basement. It was a devastating sight.

The water had risen six inches already. My mother and I immediately started to pick things up off the floor and take them upstairs. I had no shoes on, and my feet were absolutely freezing.

My parents were quite upset, and they had a right to be. Within half an hour, the water was eighteen inches deep. Things would only get worse.

Within the next hour, we had moved everything we could to the first floor. The computer, big-screen television and heavy boxes filled with our most valuable possessions were taken to safe ground. However, our piano, Ping-Pong table, sleeper sofa, laundry machine, dryer, furnace and water heater were all still down there—being destroyed.

During our final trip to the basement, we smelled a disgusting odor coming from the water near our bathroom. Our toilet downstairs looked like a geyser. Water was shooting out of the bowl at great speed. I rushed upstairs to try to call our neighbors, but the phones were dead. My mother waded over to their house, but soon returned, saying there was nothing we could do.

That was the hard part. Knowing that part of your home is being destroyed is bad enough, but realizing that you can’t do anything to stop it feels even worse. Most people don’t know how sickening the feeling of being totally helpless is. For the record, it’s horrible.

We all went out on the front porch.

The water was rising outside, too. It was about four inches away from coming through our front door. When my parents saw this, they ran back inside. My mother told me to pack an overnight bag of clothes and valuables. With a lump in my throat, I knew what was happening.

I packed my stereo, CDs, baseball cards and a change of clothing. My mother rolled up her Oriental rugs and packed her china dishes. We carried everything out and put it on higher ground. My father was frantic. He only had enough time to pack clothes. It was really bad.

By the time we were ready to leave, water had come in our front door. Rescue rafts were floating in our streets. The basement was like a swimming pool—six feet of water, we would later learn. My parents weren’t crying, but they were praying. About half an hour later, our prayers were answered. It finally stopped pouring. We learned the National Weather Service had declared the storm a flash flood.

When it was finally safe to walk outside, all the people in the neighborhood gathered at the street corner. The only positive thing that day was the corner gathering. Everybody bonded. Acquaintances became friends, friends became like family. People comforted each other. Everyone was saying, “We have suffered enough!” That was definitely true.

For the next month, my family had to live at our friends’ houses, where we could shower, eat, do laundry and have a good time together.

I really learned something from this flood. I’ve learned what devastation is. I’ve learned what family is. During the past few weeks, I’ve learned what true friends are. In the future, when I watch people’s lives affected by natural disasters, I will not laugh. Instead, I will pity them. I will feel more compassion. I will relive my own sadness and remember the flood.

Adam Edelman, age 12


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