[StBernard] Katrina Emails
westley at da-parish.com
Wed Aug 30 21:27:20 EDT 2006
Just before reading your comments, I had visited the online teen
'newspaper'--www.readthetattoo.com--that my daughter, Samantha has been
writing for since Katrina hit. You are right about our St. Bernard being
God's seed. We will all bloom in the many places we have scattered too. I
am sharing an excerpt of what my daughter has written as she reflects on
this past year. I am so very proud of her. She's just 18, but has such
depth and feeling within her--compliments of Katrina. I can say compliments
because she has taken all of the horrible things that have happened and
turned them into good. I have always felt that good comes from bad and I
only have to look at her to see it. She has been writing for the TATTOO for
a year now, but I am not sure how many people from St. Bernard have heard of
this wonderful publication totally produced by teens from all over the
world. She has been blessed by so many wonderful people as a result of the
TATTOO. I would like to give something back to them by making folks aware
of the wonderful work they do --in their spare time on their own dime! By
'they' I mean Steve Collins and Jackie Majerus. Steve and Jackie are
husband and wife reporters for the Bristol Press in Connecticut. The
Bristol Press also donates space in their paper for the TATTOO.
Her words about life a year after Katrina made my heart ache knowing how
much this past year has taken from our kids. Sam's writing means so much to
those who know her, that I hope it will touch someone and give them a little
more strength to get back to where we were and want to be again--home.
------from the August 2006 TATTOO issue----
-----My gypsy life hasn't stopped. It was so strange when I moved here
to the dorm on campus. My mom said I was leaving home, but it doesn't feel
that way. I feel too battle-weary to become attached to things like houses.
I've slept in too many beds, come back to too many places at the end of the
day. I was only in the house we rebuilt for a couple of short weeks. There
wasn't any furniture. I kept most of my clothes on the floor because I don't
have anywhere else to put them. When I sat with my parents to watch
television, we sat on the floor. It isn't the home I remember, and I wasn't
there long enough to make any connection with this new place. Maybe that's
why I adjusted to the dorm so easily. It's just space. A place to stop at
the end of the day, a bed to sleep in. What more could I ask for?
My home, the home I still love, is in my heart. It will always be there
inside of me wherever I go, the water of the marsh and lake, the jokes at
the giant family gatherings, going to school with my cousins. That place is
my home, not houses, not dorm rooms, not travel campers. I lived in all, but
home isn't where the trailer stops. Home is inside of me. It goes with me
everywhere I go in my memory. The St. Bernard Parish I love died this day
last year, but I will always remember it. It will always - always - be with
me, as will the culture that raised me. I won't let it fade away.
----- Everyone in this world will have to endure storms of their own.
Flooded, we fall and break, tossed about, tumbling. We can't avoid that, but
we can make things better when these storms happen. It took me a long time
to realize that, and my journey over this past year has taken me many
places. I don't regret it. Terrible things happened this past year, to me,
to my family, to my parish, and to the Gulf Coast, but we're tough. All of
us. People. Human beings. We fight back.
----- This day last year, people died. Bodies lined the rivers that
were streets. Homes were flooded, possessions lost. This is a dark day, but
there has been so much good in the world: the volunteers who came to clean
out houses, the aid of strangers who blessed so many lives, and the people
across the country who took in refugees.
----- My name is Samantha Perez, and I am from St. Bernard Parish,
Louisiana, a place just southeast of New Orleans. I am now a freshman in
university, studying to become an English major. I have lived many places in
the past year because my home was destroyed by powerful Hurricane Katrina,
which one year ago from today changed life for everyone.
If anywone would like to read the rest of Sam's hurricane journal, visit
www.readthetattoo.com <http://www.readthetattoo.com/> and click on the
journal link. I
Janet Perez--proud mother of Samantha Perez 2006 Hannan Honor Graduate and
Southeastern Louisiana University Freshman!
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