Twist and Shout

Twist and Shout
Life is never straight (Joey Kulkin photo)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Vignettes from Vermont: #Sandy Refugees

Rebecca and Regina of Long Beach, New York

BENNINGTON -- Art Gallery Dude told ski-cap girl with a Nikon she'd be able to find some cool photo-ops in the Graffiti Vault.


Regina followed the girl past the 2-ton steel door and picked up a piece of chalk, too. 

Within moments the walls had new material -- and mother and daughter had chalky fingertips. Regina drew a hat with flower growing out of it (above).

Here is what Rebecca chalked:

Not the "Maura 2012" or "Leah + Chris 10/27/12" but the blue words in puffy font:


... with a wavy swirl to emphasize Refugees.

They live in Long Beach, New York. Hurricane Sandy turned them into refugees. 

The ocean bursted onto land and roared over the dune, continued over the 50 feet of sand and smashed through the fence meant to keep non-residents away. It turned their street into a river of debris, and parked cars became floating weapons that rammed each other.

During the storm they played UNO and rummy in the candlelight. That got kind of old fast, though, so Regina and Rebecca hopped in the car and drove to Regina's sister's house in Albany. Regina's husband and Rebecca's dad stayed back in Long Beach with Regina's mother (and Rebecca's grandmother) to guard the family fort against looters.

Regina said cops imposed martial law on the neighborhood and that no one could be on the streets from 7 o'clock in the p.m. to 6 o'clock in the a.m. Her hubby disobeyed the curfew somewhat and drove his mother-in-law around looking for places to charge cellphones. Cops stopped them at a checkpoint.

Rebecca stood in front of her house and took this photo of the block:

Regina explains the carnage (picture taken of Rebecca's camera)

Regina said the her house survived damage because the family prepared with sandbags.

The cute mother continued to talk to Art Gallery Dude about Sandy. Conversation shifted to other things, like how she and Art Gallery Dude have several things in common such as both of them being from Long Beach -- although AGD is from Long Beach, California.

Rebecca, meanwhile, fell in love with this mug ...

Second time in a week a customer loved and bought this mug

... and mom paid for it.

Then Art Gallery Dude told Regina and Rebecca about Lil Britain, the great fish 'n' chips joint 3 doors down. That whet their appetites and they walked there for lunch.

UPDATE AT 3:30: More #Sandy refugees arrived in the highlands and spent some time in the old marble bank turned art gallery. Ernie and his girlfriend Betty came to Bennington to stay with Ernie's sister while the power slowly returns to their Clearbrook residential building in Monroe Township, New Jersey.

"They called and said the building has 80 percent of its power back," Ernie said, "but we live in the 20 percent."

Ernie and Betty of Monroe Township, New Jersey