Read the full transcript of the interview here:
Q: Hi I’m Debbie Harwell and I’m here with Susie and Doug Brown. It is Friday, April 20th, 2018, and we’re going to talk about your experience with Hurricane Harvey. Thank you, first of all for being willing to meet with me. I really appreciate it. I’d like to just start with a couple of questions about each of you individually, going back before Harvey and if you wouldn’t mind stating your name, each of you, and tell me when and where you were born and just a little bit, little something about your early life. Whoever wants to start its fine.
A: My name is Doug Round. I was born in Chicago, Illinois. Spent some time there in northern Indiana and went to high school in Connecticut college in Indiana. My career took me from New Jersey to Ohio to California back to Ohio, where I met Susie. Then we moved from here to Kingwood. I worked in Conroe at what was then Arrowhead Industrial Water. Then we moved to Virginia for a couple years. Really didn’t like that very much at all. We were able to come back here. that was ‘96 October, we left in ‘93 and came back in.
A: October of 95 yes.
A: Soon as we could.
A: I’ve been here ever since.
A: I’m Susie Round. I was born in Ohio and raised married young, had two children, was divorced after 10 years of marriage and worked two jobs to keep my head above water. Then I met him, and he was recently divorced and had a child and we married and came to Texas and brought all three kids. We had custody of all three of them and raised them here and put them through school and college. They’re all married now and have eight grandchildren between the three of them.
Q: That’s nice.
A: I went to work for Edward Jones about 12 years ago, just for the fun of it, doing on-call, just as needed. Then he’d lost his job and we didn’t have insurance all of a sudden. I went back to work full-time four and a half years ago, and now I’m retiring in four weeks, and I’m done because we both have Medicare. Now we’re just going to travel and join the grandkids.
Q: That’s nice.
A: Sit here and cross our fingers that we don’t flood again, because that’s weighing very heavily on us.
Q: I’m sure that’s true.
A: Doug has joined the board of our neighborhood HOA, going to the meetings.
A: That has nothing to do with the flood to tell you the truth.
A: No, it doesn’t. But he’s been going to meetings about how they’re going to dredge the river to prevent.
A: That has everything to do with the flood. Going to meetings, several meetings in regard to the flood, has nothing to do with the enclave board, but the latest I’ve heard and a key thing, well that’s two key things. One is beginning in May, they’re going to start dredging the river in phase one, as they call it, from 59 to West Lake Houston, which is a big deal. Secondly, they’re going to be adding some-
A: Floodgates, thanks. I couldn’t think of the word, into Lake Houston Dam, be able to control the water levels a little bit better.
Q: I know that one of the things that I’ve been impressed with as a Kingwood residence is the action that our city council member has taken to really ensure that Kingwood doesn’t fall off the radar.
A: He has really kept after him.
Q: Is he participating in the various HOA meetings or?
A: Not in the HOA meetings, no, but these are the meetings that I’ve been to Debbie are, I don’t really even know one is a grassroots thing, and Dave Martin has been there as well as others.
A: And some attorneys.
A: But it’s Dave Martin and he’s been working with Sylvester Turner and Greg Abbott. It’s all pretty positive stuff. Of course, it all comes down to just money is really who’s going to pay for the dredging. A lot of that money is federal is what I’m understanding. Not that I really have any say in on any of this, but.
Q: Will the dredging include, for example, this bayou or the drainage…
A: No, I don’t think so. Just through the river.
Q: …over here by the library and the Y?
A: Yes, I know exactly what you mean.
A: I don’t know about that, but it’s going to do from the 59 bridge, at least to the Lake Houston Bridge initially, and I discovered some pictures, aerial pictures on har.com. I was looking at a house that somebody said it was for sale. I always look at the picture at the bottom that shows the actual Google photo of the lot. I noticed it said 2018 on it, and I thought, so you can actually move your cursor down. I followed the river all the way back. This was this morning. Did I tell you about this? Yesterday, I guess I did it, over here at River Grove Park where the boat ramp, the dock is. You can take a boat down the dock on the boat ramp to get into the water, but just beyond that, there’s a 15-foot-high sandbar that has, and it totally blocks all the access to the river. The river looks like a bunch of different canals now. If you keep moving that cursor, you can see where all the new silt and sand are, because it’s white. It’s very obvious how the river’s just, it’s like the river’s gone. It’s not even there anymore.
Q: I’m going to have to look for that. I walked at Easton Park every morning.
A: Do you?
Q: Sometimes on the, every weekday morning, on the weekends, sometimes Tom and I will walk not around the duck ponds, but we’ll walk to the lake through we walk through Foster’s Mill and King’s Point, and we come out over there where shore Hills or whatever those nice houses are that back up onto the lake. I’ve been taking pictures ever since Harvey, of all the places where there are sand dunes now that we did not have sand dunes before. It is exactly you said, it’s the white sand.
A: Eventually, probably before the end of the summer. That’s all going to fill in with growth and you won’t even notice it anymore but if it’ll make a difference in where the water can’t go.
Q: Yes, it will.
A: I guess that’s what, when Greg Abbott flew over and he was just so shocked at how bad it was.
Q: I’m really encouraged to know that they’re going to start dredging in
A: Yes, me too.
A: Set within four weeks.
Q: I’m curious to know, do you feel that that is the most important first step? What other steps do you think, if any?
A: That to me is the most important is to get the silt out of the river to allow it to flow.
A: Everybody’s got an opinion about this one.
A: It’s very slow. There’s a bottleneck here.
A: To get the people up on Lake Conroe to quit opening the flood gates the way that they do.
A: See I think there’s three things that are, there’s multiple many things that are going on, but one of them is that there’s the dredging, which is important because right now there’s nowhere for the water to go other than just spread out over this wide area, which concerns us. Secondly is the water level control that includes Lake Houston and being able to do something with that. But that’ll be, that’s years. Then the third thing is that there’s water that comes in from any number of areas along San Jacinto River, whether it be Spring Creek, Cypress Creek. The big culprit in my mind is Lake Conroe. Now for the first time, there’s actually two members on there’s two or three. I think it’s two members on the San Jacinto River Authority Board. I’m getting this wrong.
Q: No, that’s right
A: But that will actually have a say as far as water levels and…
A: They’re from our area, from Kingwood
A: It’s actually downstream of Lake Conroe, which is new. Everything was always Montgomery County.
A: Just the people on the lake.
A: I’ll tell you this too, Debbie, not to get too far afield, but we signed up for this mega lawsuit against San Jacinto River Authority.
Q: I wasn’t going to ask about that. I wanted to know, but I wasn’t going to ask you intrude too much.
A: It’s not a class action thing, we’re not expecting to get anything from it other than that. It’s made right, that won’t happen again.
Q: For the future.
A: We signed up with this law firm, Arnold & Itkin, which has probably hovered up a number of people here. The intent of that is that it’s called inverse condemnation, in that, for example, if a city wants to build a freeway through your house, well, they got to buy your house before they tear it down and build it through. In an inverse condemnation, they just flood us out and then we have to move thing. I don’t think we’re going to get much traction on that, but that’s for the lawyers to decide. My point about that whole thing was that we are making this effort, we are raising the alarms. We’ve asked Lake Conroe to voluntarily lower their lake level from 201 feet above sea level to 198. They’re not going to do it. But it’s that thing that I feel like if Lake Conroe was a little more responsible about pre-leasing water, we personally would never have had this play. It’s a terrible thing. I’ll just put that blanket statement out there that it’s just an awful thing.
A: One thing that they did recently, which was, I don’t remember. I moved here actually in 1995 also, and we were gone for three years from ‘05 to
Q: You moved after the ‘90 here, after the ‘94?
A: We moved here after the ‘94 flood. We lived in Sand Creek the first time in Foster’s Mill this time. For 17 of those 23, I mean for all but three of those 23 years, we lived here. I don’t remember ever hearing them talk about draining Lake Houston in anticipation of a storm, and they just did that recently.
A: They did.
Q: Was that discussed at all that strategy?
A: Absolutely, and we can thank Dave Martin for doing it.
A: They said Barrington was on the verge of flooding with this last heavy rain we had.
Q: I believe it because I saw those pictures of River Grove.
A: Because I can tell you that he showed pictures. I went to this meeting, I guess it was Tuesday night, and he was showing pictures they had lowered Lake Houston three feet, which doesn’t sound a lot.
A: It is if you have a boat dock.
A: The people on Lake Houston were just howling bloody murder because all of a sudden, their boat docks were dry docks kind of thing and if they hadn’t done that…
Q: I can guarantee if they hadn’t done it, I would be willing to bet anything because I took pictures in the morning when I want. Of the water, how low it was, then of course I didn’t walk when it was raining, but the next day that I was out there and I don’t know if you’ve ever been out there at East End, but there’s boardwalks in a number of different places.
A: I have never been out there.
Q: There are a number of different places where there’re boardwalks and there’s one that goes all the way out to the water’s edge. It’s where you see the gators every once in a while. But it was dry several feet off from the boardwalk. Then after the rain, the water was all the way up, not to the boardwalk, all the way up underneath.
A: Sure yes.
A: In one place where we go off in a different direction, we couldn’t even get through there because the water had come up all the way up over the path and onto a boardwalk if they had not lowered. I don’t know that people would’ve had water in their homes necessarily.
Q: They seem to think North Shore over here in Forest Cove would’ve had water back in. A lot of these people have built their houses way up high and they still flood.
A: As I understand it. Lake Houston dam itself is nothing but a spillway. It can’t control water levels. But it does have, I guess two smaller gates. I don’t even know if they’re gates, but they were able to lower the lake.
Q: It was built in the 1950s. 40s and 50s was when they were constructing that. Now, I don’t know what updates they’ve done for years.
A: I don’t think they’ve done anything used to that, so this idea of adding some floodgate controls to Lake Houston Dam is a big deal in my mind. But I think in all fairness, I think Hurricane Harvey was aberration, you don’t get 15 inches of rain.
A: No, that’s really an unusual event.
A: It is unusual.
A: A very unusual event.
A: But we seem to be more and more of that’s happening.
Q: I have a friend at the university who lives in Meyerland that flooded Memorial Day Tax Day Harvey three floods in less than two years, three years.
A: I know Susie has said this too, is that any forewarning was just nonexistent.
A: They didn’t.
Q: I’m just going to ask you about that because, or do you want me to go through and do my chronological questions?
A: Why don’t you ask your questions and then we’ll expand from that.
Q: Because and one of the things I want did want to know is about that because I also interviewed a woman who lived here Lillian Hood, who’s 90, and she was evacuated in her wheelchair in a dump truck. She said, “No warning.” that was one of mine.
A: No warning, in 94 they went through all the neighborhoods with bull warrants.
A: They warned people.
Q: I didn’t know that. I didn’t do that in my neighborhood. I’ve a question just for starters, had you ever experienced anything this before?
Q: I’m gathering not from the conversation that we’ve had so far.
Q: Did you tell me when I spoke to you on the phone that you had lived on Rustic Woods before?
Q: You never had flooding out there either.
A: No. It didn’t flood this time either. It did it at the bottom of the street down by the parking road where home there by the parking road flooded, but not on the other side of the street.
Q: Let’s talk specifically about Hurricane Harvey. Prior to the storm coming, did you anticipate at all, even with the predictions of the amount of rain that this would happen?
A: Not that at all. Our house is the highest elevated house in the enclave. Our neighbors across the street have 28 inches. We only have 14.
A: My office over here had 33 inches.
Q: That’s at West Lake Houston?
A: It’s right next to where Radio Shack used to be. Radio Shack and — between the shoe repair and Radio Shack.
Q: And now where are you all?
A: Right now we’re still on the temporary office. We’re sharing an office with another financial advisor over here next to the Chase Bank on Lake Houston Parkway with Skip Curry. We just rented a space in Town Center. We’ll be moving there within a couple of months. As soon as it’s built out, it flooded too. But Edward Jones has insurance. That’s their problem.
A: No, we were sitting here the whole weekend watching the-
A: I was going out, we gave up on our rain gauge because it wouldn’t hold it, only hold five inches.
A: It was a rain gauge.
A: I put a stockpot out and I wish I had kept that piece of paper, threw it away just a week and a half ago. I had a notepad, and I would write the timing down, and I’d go out and I’d take a ruler and measure how much water was in the stockpot and then dump it. I was up to 28 inches when the rain finally stopped. We only had 28 inches here.
Q: You were still here at home at that point?
A: Yes, we were here, that was on Sunday?
A: Was it Sunday?
A: I think it was Sunday when the heavy rain stopped.
A: They moved on over to Bob Barn.
A: But Susie was saying we were sitting here watching the news and watching all these people being evacuated and thinking how awful it is. Then the electricity went out about 4:30 in the afternoon and just-
A: Everything’s shut down.
A: Everything’s shut down. Susie said they still got electricity over in my office. We can go over there and sleep and have air conditioning. I thought, well, what a great idea. We’ll just go over there and sleep and then come back here and no problem, middle of the night if water started coming in the door.
A: I was going to show him a picture on my phone. But I forgot my phone at door. 3:00 in the morning I got up to go to the bathroom. I walked back down the hallway, and I could see water off the street, lights out the window out the front. The storefront windows. I went out and turned the lights on and just as I did, the water started coming in under the door. I went back and grabbed him and woke him up. I called the home office, and they were telling me how to power down the computers and everything. By the time I talked to them several times, I talked to my boss who lives in [inaudible – 18:55]. He says, “I can’t come get you.” He says everything, it’s flooded clear up to almost Wendy’s. He says, “Sit tight somebody will come get you.” Then they were jumps told me when I told him how deep the water was getting and the power was still on, they told me to get out. But by then, we were sitting with our legs up on the furniture; we weren’t in the water waiting for daylight.
We saw these boats coming down the street. We went out, we had flashlights, we went out opened the door and were waving and yelling at these guys in the boats. They came over and got us and took us over to Wendy’s. Then the police took us to some friend’s house in Bear Branch. But at noon that day, I had gone out to run an errand and I could see that the water was in the parking lot over here at HEB. I came over here and I saw some people over here in Lake Houston Parkway walking, carrying belongings and plastic bags and had dogs. They were about five or six of them I said what, where they said, “We were over in the harbor area, and they evacuated us because they say it’s going to flood.”
I said, “Where are you going?” We’ve got friends over here in Fosters Mill. I said, “We’ll, get in my car.” I took them over there. I got over here at Kingwood Drive. I had to go through water right here by the golf course. Then I go over, and I take them over to Middle Falls, off of Forest Garden. I couldn’t go down the street because I could look down there and see water in the street, that’s why I let him out. I came back home through flood water. In the meantime, my son had been trying to reach me on my cell phone and I didn’t have it with me. He sent a friend of his from over here looking for me; he saw me and followed me back to the house.
I said, “Yes, I’m fine. What’s going on?” He says, “Well, they say the river’s flooding. Are you okay?” I said, “Yes, we’re fine. We’re high and dry,” power was out we decided to go over to the office and sleep, which happened. I cannot believe I drove from water there. These people were flooded out. Foster’s Mill was taken in water. It never occurred to me that my house would flood.
A: It didn’t
A: I just can’t believe would never occur to us. Water was rising everywhere. I just never.
Q: When you all moved here, I assume you knew about the ‘94 flood, is that right?
A: Yes, we owned a house in 19, in 2004 we moved back. We moved into Bear Bridges.
A: We weren’t here in ‘94 though.
A: We moved back in 95. We bought a house in Bear Branch on the nature preserved at the back corner, that lot is in the floodplain, but it did not flood in 94. I was driving around one day in 2004 and saw this house for sale over here, patio home on the golf course and after for sale sign. I said, “Oh, that’s cool.” And there was a man at the corner working in his yard and he says, “I’ve got the key to that if you guys want to see it.” We went in and opened it, and he opened it, here’s all these floor ceiling windows overlooking the lake in the golf course. I thought, “Oh man, would my husband love that.”
We bought that house for half what they were asking for, because those people flooded in ‘94. They had 24 inches, and they did not replace the Sheetrock. Moved back in it, put new carpet in, and lived in it for 10 more years. Then they got old, he died, and they put her in a nursing home. We paid half what they were asking for. Went in and remediated it. Rebuilt it and lived in it for six years. But we put a pool in. They started raising the flood insurance because it was shortly after we bought the house that they came in and resurveyed all the property for the flood zones and that house then was put into the 100-year floodplain. Our insurance started getting higher, our taxes kept going higher because we kept making improvements to the house. We finally in 2011, is that when we sold that house?
A: Yes, it was.
A: Sold at the summer of 2011. We made a huge profit and bought a foreclosed house on Rustic Woods. We lived there for six years, and we decided, we got tired of taking care of the pool and the yard. We bought this patio at home, and it flooded.
A: In regard to this home though, it never occurred to me to get flood insurance or anything like that. I thought this house will never flood; Kingwood will have to flood,
Q: Have insurance.
A: And sure enough, Kingwood flooded.
A: The house on the lake had already eight feet of water. The current broke all the windows out of the back of the house. It’s boarded up.
Q: Oh my Gosh.
A: They have done nothing with it other than. It’s Marion Brown, she’s a realtor. You might want to call her and see if she would you wanting to be interviewed. Marion Brown. She used to be with Remax, but she might be with Keller Williams now. She bought a house. She moved over to Oakhurst. You know Eunice Dennis? She’s a realtor with Remax. She lives next door. She bought her house.
Q: But I know Barbara Nunan and her daughter, Suzanne Nunan Murphy.
A: Yes, Murphy.
Q: I know them really well.
A: They would know how to get ahold of Maryanne.
Q: Could help me.
A: You can Google Maryanne Brown Kingwood realtor and you’ll get her number.
Q: I know a lot of people that didn’t have insurance and most of them have used the ’94 floods as their gauge. I think I told you when I talked to you on the phone that my neighbor that lived across the street from me on my driveway side, they had bought a house here a few years ago and they had been leasing it out. When they both retired, they sold their house over in Fosters Mill and they moved into this house in the enclave. They’d only been in it a year, they flooded and…
A: We were here just a year. Nothing in here flooded in ’94. It came close.
A: That’s why I thought we’re safe. The good thing about not having flood insurance, we came in, I called a carpenter who’d done work for us before I called a painter.
A: Not much good about it.
A: Edward Jones, Edward Investment financial Advisors came out and they came in one day and spent a whole day cutting out all my sheet rock. We were back in by Thanksgiving because we didn’t have to wait on the insurance company to, and we didn’t. No, never mind. We’re not going to say that on tape. We just did the work and moved in. That’s good enough.
Q: Yes. There’s something to be said for that, that’s for sure. How about any of your neighbors or your friends? You mentioned that you had some people were asking, are you sure you’re okay over here? What about any of your neighbors? Do you know where they, preparing to flood? Were they thinking they were fine too?
A: They were all here.
A: No, none of them, they all stayed. Neighbor across the street she said she got up to go to the bathroom and her husband started screaming because there was water in the house. They were totally shocked too. I don’t know if any of our neighbors evacuated did, they? They were all; I know that all the cars and everybody’s garages here were towed out because that was part of the problem. The tow trucks couldn’t get in to take the cars out because of all of the other cars out here.
Q: That was a problem even in our neighborhood, in your neighborhood, I’m sure it was even more difficult with the cul-de-sacs. Then one of the things that I noticed is that you all had the one way in one way out.
Q: Which was very smart. You did-
A: They had to because they had cars on both sides of the streets, you could only get one car through it off.
A: Our cul-de-sac, for a while there it was just massive cars, construction workers, tow trucks. It was just a busy little street.
A: The debris there, because there wasn’t any, we didn’t have yards to pile the debris. It was just sky-high debris.
Q: How long was it before they came and picked up your debris?
A: I didn’t think it was bad. It seemed it was forever but within three weeks.
A: Yes really.
A: They came back two or three times. But we still had debris. We had construction debris after hat that we had to keep finding someone to haul off.
A: They came back at least twice.
A: That was with the big, long dump trucks, with the big claws.
A: Scooper, yes.
A: If you didn’t have it close enough to the street, they couldn’t get it because the claw would damage people’s trees.
A: But we’re talking, there was furniture and chairs.
A: All of our furniture. Rugs.
A: Drywall. Cabinets.
A: Appliances. Everything was on the curb.
Q: Did you lose pictures or anything?
A: Photo albums. We lost photo albums.
Q: Photo albums?
A: But not all of them
A: No, not all of them.
A: Because we didn’t have that much water. We lost some on the bottom shelf in here and I had a tab with photo albums in it in the garage that I hadn’t done anything with yet. It floated and overturned. But my son, I pulled him apart and just took the plastic sheets with the photos. My son took them home and put them in his freezer. Then for Christmas, only a fraction of them but he got them out, dried them out, cleaned them and gave them to me and gave me an album to put them in. Of course, they’re still in the cupboard, I haven’t done it but when I retire.
A: We had passports too.
A: Our passports were in our fire…
A: Safe wasn’t flood proof though.
A: Yes, it wasn’t flood proof.
A: But we salvaged those.
A: We left to go to Japan and China and Korea three weeks after the flood.
Q: They took them?
A: He dried them out. When then we were driving, he stacked books on top of them.
A: I went to the airport beforehand.
A: We took them to the airport. As soon as he dried them.
A: We check them out, they said, “Yes, these are okay.”
Q: One thing about it, they knew about Harvey all around the world. [inaudible 00:31:20] you’re from Houston?
A: Did you fly?
A: Got an email.
Q: Little soggy, but we’ll take it.
A: We got an email from some friends in England about it.
A: They were worried about us.
A: Yes, you’re right everybody knew about it.
Q: Everybody knew. Let’s see. You already answered a lot of my questions here. I want to go back to evacuating you from the office. Who did you say did that?
A: It was a surgeon. No, these people were, they weren’t paid. They were a search and rescue team from Orange County, California.
A: Yes, they were professional.
A: They were out here 5:00 in the morning coming and boats getting people. They knew we were going to flood, but we didn’t, we weren’t told. I did hear-
A: Now they might have come along.
A: On the news that they said more people are going to flood because the water’s going to rise. If you haven’t flooded before, it’s possible will flood. That’s all I heard on the news.
Q: Which day was that do you remember?
A: Sunday, I believe.
Q: Last week, I got very mixed up about what day of the-
A: I think it was Sundays.
A: We flooded in the middle of the night on Monday night, Tuesday morning.
A: The water came into my office at 3:00 AM is when it started coming in
A: Which tells me it still was not in our house, because we only had 14 inches and we had three feet in the office. I had a Yukon XL, which is like a suburban. I went out when it started to flood and I pulled it up on the sidewalk thinking, if it gets too high, at least my car won’t flood. He’s got a Honda CRV. It was in our garage.
Q: It’s fine.
A: It’s fine.
A: The day after the flood, well it did start, but we pushed it out in the driveway before you turned it on. Turned it on and water came shooting out of the exhaust pipe. We let it run for an hour or two. The car was wet in it. Mine, I still have it. I paid $2,000 to have it cleaned up and I had to have motor to the power seat. That’s the only major repair they had to do. Man, it’s 15 years old, so it’s not worth anything. But it only has 113,000 miles on it, and I like it. I paid the money, got it fixed, and I got it back. You never know it flooded to look at it.
A: Just checking out my appointment. September was, it was blank. I obviously didn’t keep up with it at all, but I’m trying to think. You were going to go to.
A: I was supposed to go to Oklahoma that weekend for.
A: Oklahoma, then you didn’t go
A: For Labor Day to paint my daughter’s kitchen.
Q: When the people came and got you, did you feel relieved?
A: Yes. We were terrified.
A: They wouldn’t even let us walk. They have two of them, they had me hold onto the straps on the back of one guy and he had a feeler and lights, a pole. Every step, and he said, soon as we get into the parking lot, he says “There’s going to be a strong current.” We probably wouldn’t have drowned. But he just had his knee replaced. He was having issues with walking at the time. You probably would’ve the current, possibly could’ve knocked him down. It wasn’t deep enough. Probably that we would’ve drowned, but it would’ve been hard.
A: Then they just took us over to; there was a collection area part of Wendy’s.
A: Just outside of Wendy’s.
A: Right there, at the city center, they let us out.
Q: At the center they were using for-
A: They got us out. The police, they took all our information wanting to know where we live, what our names were. They said, “Where do you want, do you have a place you can go?”
A: This was about 5:30 in the morning. It was still dark.
A: He says, “We can take you in the city center if you want. Or he says, “The police are here. We have a van. If there’s some place you know that you could go that’s not flooded, we can take you there.” I thought of a neighbor that lived across the street from us over here in Bear Branch. I remembered their home number. I called it, I said, “Did you flood?” He said, “No.” I said, “Well, we did. The police evacuated us. Can they bring us to your house?” “Sure. Come on over.” We go over and we walk in, we’re drowned rats. We ended up wearing JB’s underwear. I had a nightgown that was dry that was in a suitcase that I had a nightgown and JB’s boxer shorts, I wore for two days before I got a shower. The next morning, not Tuesday morning, or was it Wednesday morning? Tuesday all day, just sat with all the neighbors and ate and some more family members of this other neighbor were evacuated from the Barrington, they joined us, and everybody was taking food out of the freezers. We were cooking DiGiorno pizza on…
A: On the grill.
A: On the grill, and tater tots and anything they could think of. We were drinking and eating.
A: Actually, we came back Wednesday.
A: Wednesday morning.
A: Wednesday, yes.
A: We had JB our friend come down. No, he took us over here to Wendy’s and they were still launching boats on Wednesday morning.
A: We hitched a ride.
A: We hitched a ride over here and they brought us by boat. Then we were around the last boats, they were letting anybody go back in because the water was receding too quickly, and they didn’t want the boats damaged.
A: Even at that time the water had receded.
A: Yes. They pulled us up in the driveway. We got out and the water was out of our house already in 24 hours. It was gone.
A: That was not a natural flood.
Q: That was very fortunate that your water went down that quickly.
A: It was a flash flood and within the next 24 hours, it was out of all the houses.
A: We drove over on Thursday.
Q: Some of the houses over in Fosters Mill, I wasn’t out that fast.
A: That’s because they had the water-
Q: Exactly where the water was deeper.
A: No, I think we came back on Thursday.
A: We started carrying furniture out on Thursday and my daughter and her son, they arrived from Oklahoma. They drove down Thursday and got here with a whole. They had a whole Jeep and her van full of supplies that their elementary school got together for us.
Q: That is so nice.
A: And gift cards, they brought us gift cards. It’s amazing.
A: Minister from the church came over and he was helping.
A: Choir director.
A: Choir director. That’s it.
A: Our choir director at church camp
Q: Which church do you go belong to?
A: Kingwood Methodist.
Q: I have some friends that go.
A: And a bunch of-
A: I got to tell you this.
A: My choir friends took all of our linens and any of the clothing that got wet, so we saved all of our clothing. We didn’t lose any of that.
Q: Wow, that was really fortunate.
A: That oriental rug in there, I called about a couple days after the flood, it was just laying out in the driveway and they said, “Roll it up and we’ll come get it.” But it was, at least a week before they came to get it. I said, “Won’t it be ruined and molded?” she says, “Oh no, we can fix it. We have a car wash for rugs.” They hang them up and they blast them like the car wash, after they hang them to dry, then they dry clean them. That rug looked brand new when we got it back. The one in here was a white red, and it was 20 something years old and it was falling apart. We
A: Ditched it
A: We went to Lowe’s and bought another rug.
A: But I was going to tell you when we came back on Thursday and we were working in the, just working…
A: Just hauling furniture to the curb and…
A: Hauling the stuff out. This young couple came by and said, “Can we help?” I said, “Well, what do you want to do? ” She said, “Well, anything he wants us to do.” I said, “Well, come on.” they were just like angels coming out of the sky.
A: My choir director walk, and she knew him because she was a choired director at
A: Some other church.
A: St. Steven’s Methodist Church downtown. They had gotten dressed that morning. They had their Saint Steven’s church, which our food pantry, our church is society saints.
A: They couldn’t get there.
A: Anyway, she worked down there, and they were trying to get to their church members down there, but they couldn’t get, the bridge was still closed. They just turned in this neighborhood and they turned in the first cul-de-sac where they saw people that very first house they came to where there were people, and it was us. They came in and worked all day.
A: Isn’t that something?
A: Her son, I got up in my attic and got the Styrofoam packing for my grandfather clock weights. He packed all those up and he packed the clock all up and we put it in the garage and it’s fine. I still need to clean it and we’ve got somebody coming to put it back together, but.
A: Yes, they just showed up
A: Then the next day, six financial advisors from as far away as Conroe, we had seven or eight Edward Jones people here in the area that flooded and five offices. They were really helpful.
A: We took the drywall four feet up, approximately and just cut it out and pulled it up and dried out, the studs were exposed, and we just let it dry.
Q: Did you stay in the house while they were working on it?
A: No. We were in here helping work on-
Q: After while it was drying out and while they were doing the-
A: No, we stayed with friends, took the cats and stayed with friends, then we went on this vacation for almost three weeks and then we came back and then we got evacuated. Not evacuated.
A: We went to Oklahoma for a week.
A: What’s the term that when they kicked out?
A: Kicked out. It’s my best friend or husband threw a tantrum because my younger cat knocked over a lamp one morning and he’d had enough.
A: Then we ended up.
A: I didn’t go back to work. We put the cats in the car and drove them up to Oklahoma and took them to my daughter and left them there.
A: We spent a week there and then we ended up spending a couple of weeks at Best Western. It sounds bad, but it really wasn’t bad.
A: It really was very comfortable. We had a microwave and a refrigerator, and we went across the street to Kroger’s or HEB and bought TV dinners and-
A: They had breakfast in the morning.
Q: Did not like the little drive up exterior. Do not like the drive-up exterior corridors that they used to be here?
A: No, this was an inside a lot. It was a hotel.
Q: Yes. They have a lot of nice properties. My husband’s in the hotel business.
A: He’s even.
A: We tried to get in the Holiday Express the very first day, but everybody was full. By then people had moved elsewhere.
Q: Those properties up there in Humble that one, that Country Inn & Suites floods every time it rains.
A: They had just finished repairing those from the flood the year before and then they all flooded again.
Q: And then the Fairfield, which floods sometimes, but not every time.
A: The Hampton Inn got it this time.
Q: I thought about that several times while, well there’s a lot of displaced people.
A: Of course, when Costco flooded, I loved it. I thought it was hysterical because it served them right. Because I didn’t think they ever should have built anything in there because they built that land all up and to me, but that just caused more water to come into Kingwood.
Q: But there was somebody, I can’t remember who it was that said it at the time, when they put forward the proposal for Costco and The Main Event, which was up considerably higher than Target and Kohl’s. That it was one of the best plans that they had ever presented as a way to prevent future flooding based on the…
A: Well, it didn’t work.
Q: The, what do you call it? Detention ponds and whatnot. yes. As well as the elevation, then it obviously…
A: Fifty inches of rain in Lake Conroe dam.
A: The one that I really didn’t totally get was the HEB center because my parents lived there. When we moved back from Florida in ‘95, my parents had moved here with us. I’m native Houstonian, but we’ve lived other places and they moved into those apartments to be near us. I was the only child and only grandkids. They were in their eighties already and every time it would rain a whole lot, I’m sure you remember how the water would be, there at the intersection all those ducks would be down in, so when they were building that, I was thinking at first, I thought, “Oh, they’ll leave some of those trees.”
A: HEB knew that building down.
Q: They didn’t leave any of those trees. Then I would sit there at the single lot sometimes and I’d think, “Well, they’re going to raise this.”
A: They did raise quite a bit.
Q: But they didn’t…
A: Because I’ve watched them build it, because my officer is off the street.
Q: Go down.
A: You do.
Q: To get into it?
Q: I just thought…
A: That’s why — I knew that that’s why I was driving around that Monday and I saw they were flooding. There was already water in the shopping center.
Q: And they’re lower than your office.
A: Yes. They’re a lot lower than we are.
Q: Yeah, they had seven feet.
A: Yeah, HEB — yeah, I was gonna say…
A: It was just above the desktops, about 33 inches.
Q: How many feet is the question that you triggered in my mind when you said a constant reminder about things that are a constant reminder? Do you ever go to Torchy’s?
A: I know about the sign, that they asked them to take it down and then they put it back up.
Q: How did you feel about that?
A: I think it’s hysterical. I don’t see anything wrong with it.
Q: I don’t think — see anything wrong with it either.
A: HEB has signs. They have…
Q: They do. But theirs are more subtle.
A: The office over here where I’m working, Elaine, the other branch office administrator, she got tired of every time a client came in saying, “How much water did you get?” about three weeks ago, she made a chart and hung it on the side of her desk and put the 25 inches. She says, “Harvey Waterline.” Now everybody, they are joking. They think that’s hysterical. I said, well.
A: It’s not as if it’s going to be a secret. I mean, come on.
A: They got less water. But that building, that particular building is four feet above the street level. It’s where the Ward Brother’s insurance office is too right next to Chase Bank.
A: Just think that’s not going to flood well, dang it sure did.
Q: Let’s see. I covered a lot of the questions. Do you mind sharing what you felt when you came back to the house the first time when you saw when it flooded, not when you came back the first time moving back in, but the first time you came back in and saw how much water had been in the house.
A: It was just overwhelming, slimy.
A: Then when we had to empty the refrigerator and-
A: Yes, there’s myriad of throat.
A: I have one set of drinks back up. I took them they’re on Corners board. I took those down laundered. They’ve been out in the garage for months. Laundered them and Oxy clean in the washer and the dryer, and then stapled them back on that board. I can save them all, the rest of them are still in the garage. Because I haven’t had time to really work on them again, but I’ve saved him. That was amazing to me. What bothers me is how many people had like the lady next door, she had people from her church that came in and they threw all her stuff away. They didn’t even ask her. They have another friend that her son hired ServPro to come in. Wasn’t ServPro, but it was one of those,
Q: That thing.
A: They came in and emptied her house and they threw all her clothes away. They didn’t need to be thrown away. They just needed to be laundered. People from church took all of my throw rugs, my bathroom rugs and all that, and area rugs. They took them all, threw them in the washing machine, hung them to dry it. We’re using it.
A: Yes. We had a lot of help. But I guess what I would say is that I didn’t really get any of those teary moments about, “Oh, we lost our wedding pictures and that kind. OK.”
A: I have one moment when my daughter-in-law came in here and she came in and brought the kids. The first thing I said was, “Jennifer, you can’t bring the kids in here. It’s dangerous.” She hasn’t had a percent of a clue. She came in to help. Her sister came and picked the kids up and took them back. Then she helped one day. But I hadn’t cried or gotten upset. I’m one of these people that I’m usually good in a crisis. I just jump in and do what needs to be done. But I just fell apart, just that one time though, I don’t recall.
A: Yes, I hadn’t…
A: I had another few moments after he had his knee surgery that I was just overwhelmed.
A: I will say that it shows up in her work. There’s before flood and after floods.
A: I’ve just not been focused at work. I had planned to retire in February originally, and Keaton, the guy I work with I’ve just been agitating her. I was in somebody’s conference room for four months and they finally moved us into another office where at least had an office and we had one with Windows. We could start having clients come back in again. I can’t think straight. I think it’s PTSD or whatever it is, but I don’t sit around cry all day or anything, but I don’t want to be there. Finally, two weeks ago, he came in and he says, “Why didn’t you retire in February?” I said, “Because I didn’t want to leave you because we’re still don’t have an office.” he says, “Don’t do it for me. He says, you want to retire?” I said, “okay.” We got busy, and we found somebody, and we hired somebody and she’s going to start the 29th, if not before. Then I’m going to retire. But I’m going to go back doing long call work for various offices. I just need to get out of there, can’t do it anymore. I can’t even read. I do read the good paper. But we went on that trip to China, and I think I read maybe one book in three weeks, and I have other friends that say the same thing. Even my bosses affected by it, because he went through what I was going through with our office and his parents live in our neighborhood, he knew what they went through too.
Q: We have someone out at University of Houston, he does more ethnographies, ethnographic, but anthropologist.
A: That deep research.
Q: Whereas historians we do things a little bit differently.
A: I remember my daughter, senior year in college, she called me, she says, “Oh god, mom, I got a D in anthropology. Yay.” She said, “I was just hoping I wouldn’t have to take it again.” But she got credit because she got a D in it. I thought, she got really good grades and everything, but not that.
Q: This gentleman, he’s really nice. He did a lot of work with the people that came here from New Orleans during Katrina or post-Katrina. But he talks about how it does matter what your situation was if you flooded, if you didn’t flood every day-
A: Everybody’s affected.
Q: Everybody’s part of our community has been impacted.
A: Well, my best friend-
Q: We are all survivors. We’re just survivors in different ways.
A: My best friend and her husband after living in Kingwood for 35 years, put their house on the market and then moving to San Marcos. I know, and our friendship has been affected by what her husband did.
A: I know that there’s been, it’s not an issue for me, but I know that some people fell as I know they’ve been survivor’s guilt. They didn’t get flooded, but they know people that did, and they feel bad for them. I was like, “Okay, I got it.”
A: Jo. Jo was talking to me one day about her roof and she says, “you know what Just really me off.” I love her. She’s hysterical. She says, “I had an insurance claim on my roof because of that helicopter and those blades.” She says, “And they put it down as Hurricane Harvey damage.” She says, “That didn’t happen because of the hurricane.” I said, “Well, yes, it did.”
Q: She also didn’t like it because that one other person that got so mad at her because she didn’t flood
A: A neighbor.
A: She didn’t tell me about that. But why would they do that?
Q: Because she’s the only house on the cul-de-sac that didn’t flood and misery loves company, you know?
A: I have another friend that lives on corner across the street from her and she was in a bridge group I was in, and she had quite a bit of water, I think.
Q: Where they the ones that, there was one I walked over there at first. I couldn’t even get over to where…
A: If you go down Middle Falls and turned left into Jo’s Court, this friend was on the very first house, on the corner on the right.
Q: I think they’re the ones that had, there was one house I walked over when I finally could get over there for a few days. I couldn’t get out of my area. I’m on a T like this, and every way I went, the water was too high. We couldn’t even get out of our neighborhood for two days after it stopped flooding. But when I finally could walk around over to Jo’s, I turned to where I could see up her street and there was one house on the right that they had stacked everything, all the furniture up the driveway in a perfectly straight line. It was somebody was playing Tetris with the furniture.
A: Oh boy.
Q: Then of course they had to move it all because you were talking about the claw. It couldn’t reach all the way up there. They had been so meticulous about keeping it out of the yard and whatnot.
A: To save the yard.
Q: But anyway, that was one of the, that what I remember the first thing when-
A: We didn’t have any yard to save, but they ended up, there was so many debris that we had to have all our rocks removed out here because there was so much debris in there, it wasn’t safe. We have one firm that wanted to charge, a yard company wanted to charge us $3,200 to blow out the rocks. I said, you can’t blow out, the people that ended up doing it took them all out into the street, hose them down, put down new fabric and threw the rocks back, then cleaned up the debris.
A: He did a lot of work. He did a nice job.
Q: That’s a lot of work.
A: That’s what had to be done.
Q: We didn’t have it all in our yard, but we have it in places where it lines parts of things. My husband does that or well he used to do it himself.
A: We did too. We’ve got it all around the back of the house too.
A: Bless his heart. If I did it myself, it’d be a lot of work first of all.
A: We couldn’t do it.
A: It’d take me weeks. I know wouldn’t and they did it in two days.
A: Two days.
Q: Young men the same age as you we’re too old to move rocks. My husband doesn’t feed kids.
A: But I did the sheet rock on the fireplace and then the backs splash because I decided what, two months ago that I didn’t our backs slide. We had put it up and we bought the house and then it didn’t look with the paint we had. We had a Corey Anne countertop that I liked. It was white with a beige black loved it. Well, they cracked that getting it out. We had to buy a new countertop. I tried to buy granite that looked good with the tile we had, got the granite in, the granite didn’t the backsplash. We ripped it out and I hung new drywall in the kitchen. Then we paid somebody to come in and put the tile in. But then I had to do finish the drywall around here because the painter said he wouldn’t do it without charging us because it had been done while we were gone.
Q: Now I see what you’re telling me.
A: Just on the size.
Q: Yes. OK. I didn’t even know-
A: He was going to charge me for it. I said, “No you’re not.” I did it myself. I’m not paying him to do that. I already paid him to do it once, but he shouldn’t have done it because the fireplace wasn’t done yet.
Q: When I came in you said that you point over there something wasn’t finished and I didn’t-
A: You probably think it’s supposed to look like that.
Q: That was what I thought at first.
A: The woods, the bare woods is going to be painted.
A: It’s actually, you can’t see it, bro. There’s some bear molding.
A: There’s bear molding underneath the bar around the floor that’s never been painted.
Q: Your house is lovely.
A: Thank you. We love the house. That’s why it just broke my heart that this happened.
A: That’s a shame.
A: It’s funny because when they built these houses, what ‘97 this was built?
A: Something like that.
A: Twenty-something years ago,
A: Something like that.
A: We had friends that were buying houses in here. I said, “Why would you want to buy a patio at home?” Then after living in this one store, we loved one story. But the pool just got to be too much work; he was working in the yard every day.
A: This is-
A: We’re too old for this.
A: This is all one level easy.
A: This house is bigger stairs than the one story we had in Sand Creek, got more square footage and we’ve got extra bedrooms for when our grandkids come to visit.
Q: That’s nice.
A: No more carpet on the floors though. They wanted a carpet. I told my daughter, I said, “Nope, no carpet.”
A: How many interviews are you going to do you think?
Q: You know what, that’s a really good question. I probably have a list of 20 people out here in Kingwood at least. That I’d like to interview.
A: That’s quite a commitment on your part.
Q: It’s not just me. There’s a whole group of us in the history department. We’re probably talking about our goal is over three years to do about 300 interviews. We’re going to do a day at multiple places around town. But our day for Kingwood is going to be October 29th at the community center where we’ll bring a team of people where people could sit down and just one-on-one in one of the-
A: Tell you what happened
Q: Rooms and talk about their experience. We’ll collect a lot of interviews then. I mentioned I’d worked on that magazine on the EMS. I have some really good friends with the fire department that are going to help me with some first responders. One of the people that we’ll interview, which this will actually be our third interview with him, is Dr. David Perk, who is, he is the, you probably you may have seen him on television. He’s baldheaded guy with the mustache. He’s the physician director for Houston EMS and he’s also the Public Health Authority for the City of Houston. We interviewed him in 2006 about the Katrina situation. We interviewed him in 2016 for the 45th anniversary of EMS. Now we’re going to interview him again for Harvey, and we’ll get some other people from EMS. Those are the two areas that I’m working there on Kingwood and EMS. But we’ve got other subjects as well. Some people are working on feeding communities and telling those stories. Someone else is working in the energy corridor. Like I said, other people doing other neighborhoods. It’s not just.
A: The food was awesome at first.
A: That’s great.
Q: The food was awesome.
A: Chick-Fil-A came around one day with sandwiches and the next day it was Do-
A: I don’t know, Don.
A: Domino’s Pizza. Then it was Manuel’s Mexican with breakfast tacos. The guy over here from Summer Wood. Then one of our financial advisors is a cute little blonde woman, she and another lady that worked with her came over on Friday and she had enchiladas in the back of her station wagon or SUV. She put out a table and she served us all the guys that were working with me in and just, it was awesome.
Q: They were serving barbecue over at the Fosters Mill pool. I never did find out who that was but was somebody came with a great big pit on the truck.
A: Everett Jones brought some people from Louisiana. A bunch of financial advisors, they were in a church parking lot over here serving barbecue one day too.
A: We went to Kingwood Strong, or I don’t know what the occasion was but-
A: In the parking lot at HEB.
A: The old HEB parking lot.
A: Torchy’s tacos was doing-
A: They had food tracks. It was awesome.
A: Free tacos, you know. It was-
Q: I remember seeing that that day, but I didn’t know that’s what they were doing.
A: It wasn’t very well advertised. I bought the Hurricane Harvey book. I didn’t know if you noticed it over there, but there’s one page.
Q: I have that too.
A: One page in there that says nothing about Kingwood.
Q: I called Channel 13 and complained one day. We had hooked up our, we have a small generator and we had hooked it up so that we were running the refrigerator and the television. I got so mad one day because Channel 13 was down over with the helicopter over in Walden. They were saying they were over Kingwood. I said back, “You know, you guys have been doing a pretty good job, but I just got tell you-
A: You’re not.
Q: You are not in Kingwood. Quit trying to, and because they kept saying, “We’ve got a helicopter on the way to Kingwood.” I kept watching. I didn’t want to change the channel because I didn’t want to miss it. I said-
A: We weren’t seeing anything.
Q: This was for nothing.
A: We had no power. We were sitting at people’s houses and cooking food on a grill, and we couldn’t watch the news because there wasn’t anything to watch.
Q: That was what happened with us with Ike. Because we didn’t have a generator
A: We boarded our wind. We lived over on the lake when Ike hit, and we did not flood. We boarded the windows, slept through the hurricane. My daughter called me at 5:30 in the morning. “Are you okay?” I said, “Why? What are you talking about?” Well, what are you doing? I said, “I was asleep.”
A: Non-event for us.
A: I took some Benadryl, drank a bottle of wine the night before and went to bed.
Q: Good plan.
A: Yes, she says, “The eye is over Kingwood mom.” I said, “Really cool. I went outside to check it out.”
A: The trees were going this way and they were going that way.
A: Our power was out. We took our cats, and we went up to, they were living in-
A: College Station.
A: College Station at the time. We just locked everything up, tidied up the yard, took the boards off the windows and left. I stayed until neighbor called to tell and power was back home. We were up there for the duration, and he was traveling at the time. He did go out of town for a few days.
Q: My husband did that too. He went out of town soon as the storm left. He traveled a lot then. He didn’t do that anymore.
A: He doesn’t go anywhere anymore either.
A: Fortunately, we have not had a, yes, Harvey’s been a catastrophe, but it has not been catastrophic for us. I don’t feel it has been.
A: We were just so glad the market did so well last year.
A: We’re glad that the market did well because financially it was a terrible hit not just expensive at all. The value of the house is two thirds of what it was before. We lost a lot of money. There’s just no two ways about it.
A: But, unfortunately, we had money, we’re not rich, but we-
A: When it comes-
A: We’re not suffering.
A: When it comes down to money, you’re good. If nobody’s dead or hurt, if it’s just dollars, it’s okay. That’s my feeling, having been through a terrible divorce. You can get down to money. It’s easy from there.
A: But we’ve been married 33 years next this month.
A: Thank you.
Q: That’s nice. We’re 37, almost 30? No, 38 almost.
A: We were both married in what year did you think of married? I got married in 72. You got married in 73.
Q: My husband’s been married before and that’s about the time he got married. Was it 72? Maybe 72 or 73.
A: We all survived. The kids survived at all. They’re all married, successful, families.
Q: None of them flooded. Obviously, you said one was in Oklahoma.
A: One’s in Oklahoma, ones in Austin.
A: Just still water. One’s in Austin and the other one’s over in Water’s edge.
A: He didn’t flood.
A: Just south of Walden. I was worried about him because he’s just a block from the lake.
A: He said he got water in the street, but that was it, he was good.
A: He was panicked because he couldn’t get over here to help us. He kept my dog, my sister in Ohio called about every 20 minutes for three days. I was about to strangle her. I said, “I can’t talk to you. I’m fine. I’ll call you when this is over. Leave me alone.”
A: We did hear a lot. First people we hadn’t heard for a while.
Q: [inaudible 01:06:48]
A: That’s true.
A: I heard from my uncle in California. Actually, he called me when I was out driving around and when I was taking the people over to-
Q: To Fosters Mill.
A: To Fosters bill that day. He calls me on my cell phone. He says, “so what’s going on?” I said, and I told him, I said, “I have there some people that are evacuating. I’m taking them.” He said, “Oh yes you’re Nightingale.” What’s the nurse?
A: Florence, you’re just your old self. Florence Nightingale. I said, “Yes, whatever.” Then I called him a few days later and I said, “Well it’s not so good.” He said, “Well you can come out here,” because we’ve got that apartment project you can live in. I said, “It’s not exactly convenient.” They live clear out in Southern California.
Q: No, that’s a little bit of a convenient.
A: I had a cousin in Austin that offered for us to come there, and I said, “If this ever happens again, the very first thing I’m going to do is get an apartment.” Those were the smart people.
Q: That was one of the problems though. My nieces in apartment management and two of her properties, one’s at Kings Harbor and the other one’s in town center. The others-
A: They were all flooded.
Q: Other places in Houston. But yes, there were so many apartments that flooded out that-
A: The guy I’m working with over here, he and his wife rented one and they’ve got a house and steamboat, and they were up there at the time and then get back till a week later. Their house was in Kingwood Greens. They got an apartment, but it’s over across from my son’s house. Just on the other side of the railroad traps off on Lake Houston Parkway. Over in the lake shore area. They just rented one, they sold their house, and they rented a two-bedroom apartment over here a town center on the second floor.
Q: In the apartments
A: In there, yes.
Q: Ramp them up. Because I have a son that lives over off of North Park in an apartment then his rent went up $50.
A: Is that right?
A: Because they can get it.
Q: It didn’t flood over there and he’s on the second floor but-
A: All of the ones here. Kingwood Lakes, they all flooded too.
A: I did. You can’t quickly realize that recovery’s not going to be a matter of days. I’m thinking weeks. But it’s more like months. I had a hard time coming to that realization, I’ll tell you that.
A: We’ve bought houses and flipped them.
A: It was tough.
A: We bought houses that were a disaster and moved in them and remodeled them and sold them. Lived in them a couple years and sold them at a profit. We’re used to remodeling and doing this stuff. I just thought, “Oh, couple weeks we’ll be back in here.”
A: It was August, September, October, actually three months, almost from the day of the flood, which was fast.
Q: That was fast.
A: We did dry out thoroughly and we sprayed bleach and then we sprayed the fungicide and let it dry again. We did everything the way it needed to be done.
A: It takes — it’s just — it just doesn’t happen…
A: It takes a long time. The guy that did our floors is our carpenter and he wanted to do it. He had put our hardwood floors in a year ago with when we bought the house. I said, “Howard, you don’t want to do these floors, it’s too hot.” Or these “No, no I want to do them.” I don’t think he’ll ever do floors again. This house-
Q: You have a lot of floor.
A: We have 2,700 square feet of tile and he laid it all.
A: Then I’ve got a lot of these friends who lived in their houses because they had two-story houses and they lived upstairs. I said that’s the only thing that I wished I had a two-story house for that reason. Because it would’ve have been, and it was hard for me because I couldn’t be here hands on while they were doing the work, I was at work and that just killed me. Things would’ve been much, we should have canceled the trip to China, and we didn’t do that. We were going with friends, and I didn’t want them to be disappointed, but.
A: On hindsight I wish we’d canceled it. Because I can’t say as I got anything out of it.
A: Can’t go to a lot of effort to get that whole thing organized and then to just cancel. Getting a visa for China was not an easy task.
Q: I’m sure that’s true. Was there anything I didn’t add that you want to add or?
A: I don’t think so.
A: I was amazed at the generosity of people.
Q: That’s nice to hear.
A: I have family and that sent us checks. I had people that just handed me gift cards. Edward Jones employees, the home office, that regional office came by and gave me a whole envelope full of gift cards. A couple weeks after Christmas they brought me more and they had a disaster relief fund.
A: The church brought stuff.
A: The church brought us a gift card and we did release, we did get something from the Disaster Relief fund, and I was just absolutely blown away and not supposed to talk about that because they don’t want people to know.
Q: That’s really nice.
A: It was a big help.
A: People were very helpful, just very helpful.
A: We got money from FEMA. Not enough to do the house, but it was a help. But we still took a hit.
Q: I’m sure you did.
Q: I’m really encouraged to hear that you’re involved in things and keeping up with change so that-
A: I feel like I’m-
Q: I don’t want to happen to any of us, anybody in Kingwood, again, I don’t want to have anybody anywhere, but-
A: I feel a spectator in many, many respects. But when they say 500 people showed up, well, I’m one of those 500.
A: He went to one meeting one night that he couldn’t even get in the door, and he turned around and came home.
A: Yeah, I left early. Whatever.
Q: Did you get invited to the meeting when Governor Abbott was here? That was a…
A: No, I did not. That was…
A: That was just with officials.
A: Yes. No, I wasn’t there. But I’m on everybody’s email list. Let’s put that away.
Q: Going back to what you said Susie, about, people being nice. It is one of the things that we, and it’s in the book, it’s everywhere about how it brings out the best in people. I think we certainly saw that for the city as a whole. Not just Houston and not just Houstonians all those people, the people that came and rescued you that came from California. The Cajun Navy, your family that came down from Oklahoma and they-
A: They just came.
Q: People that just came and said, let me help. Or people who went to-
A: Yes, absolutely.
A: Is that a friend. The guy, I’m in a church choir with his wife. I went to pick up stuff from her and she says, “I feel like I know you intimately” since I washed your husband’s underwear. I said, “Oh, that’s too funny.”
Q: That’s true.
A: I had never met her before, but now she knows me, and I know her.
Q: My husband came home with a couple of people who lived down the street from us that we’d never met before. We feel we’re really good friends and that we had known each other for years. I know exactly what you’re talking about.
A: I did laundry for people after hurricane a Tropical Storm Allison. Our daughter was slept on the floor at Texas Children’s for three days because she lived nearby, and they came and got her in a high truck to brought her back to work to help because people couldn’t get to work.
Q: Some of the hospitals had to evacuate with Allison.
A: They did. They evacuated a bunch of people. They had a lot of patients from St. Luke’s that they brought into Texas Children’s.
Q: Okay. Because I know there were at least, I want to say there were at least four I think hospitals?
A: All of the hospitals down there had water in the basement. She made a lot of money that week.
Q: Thank you so much. I really appreciate you.
A: We appreciate what you’re doing.
Q: Taking the time to spend time with me and be willing to do this. If you think of something else that you want to let tell me, you can email me, I’ll come back with recorder. I’ll do whatever you would mind.
A: I will send you some pictures.
Q: That would be wonderful.
A: I’m going to sort through them a little bit.
A: I have some on my phone too.
A: I’ve got dozens of pictures, but I can’t…
A: Figure out where they are.
A: I’m pretty sure they’re on the computer, but I’ll just check.
Q: Thank you and I wish you happy retirement.
A: I can’t wait.
[End of Recording]