Sunday, January 6, 2013


When hurricane Sandy hit NYC, John Cullum and Emily Frankel were not  inundated with water, but their part of town (Chelsea) was seriously affected.

They're still recovering from but their five and half days, when they were cold, hungry, and stuck in their 5th floor home, unable to function normally..

The Cullums are back in the world now, but how vulnerable they are, how all of us are -- what Mother Nature can do to us -- is a new, frightening reality.


Carola said...

We went without power for 5 days last winter. It WAS boring. Even the daylight was hard to read by, and because it was mid-winter, did not last long. I don't know how John Adams and Ben Franklin and all those guys managed to read so much with only candle-light to light their pages.

Linda Phillips said...

For me and largely for you two, we are or have been New Yorkers and Californians. Both coasts have challenged us on so many occasions. Black Outs, Blizzards, Earth Quakes and so on that I believe it has made us all survivors.

Plus, I know my own life and a fair amount about both of yours as well. We are true survivors.

Other people have had their own challenges I am sure.

Being a survivor teaches you those needed skills. I think we even in a way might enjoy the challenge. Well, for a while anyway. :-)

Anonymous said...

Yes. Natural disasters.
I remember maybe six months ago, Em, I was telling you a little about myself. Telling you about the Ice Storm we had in 1998.
We were without power for nine days in the Canadian winter. Every Canadians' worst nightmare.
I think the worst thing about natural disasters is the total isolation you experience when life as we know it pauses for awhile or stops.
It's almost like a death in the family. We may never see things the same way again.
And we experience firsthand how fragile our civilization and way of life are.
We may never watch the news of another natural disaster on tv again without that shiver in our stomach, remembering our own time, and knowing that just by chance, this time, it wasn't us.
During Sandy, with my own Ice Storm experience resurfacing, I had a strange thought.
I wondered how criminals were faring during this time of indiscriminate destruction.
Were drug dealers, gang members and killers working with their fellow humankind to survive? Or were they doing their usual.
A crazy thought I have to admit. But not only good people were affected by the storm.
Did it make people realize that we all depend on each other? That there is not one unimportant job in the city and we all need each other to make sure their cog is turning in order for everything to function?
Our civilization functions with the complexity of a finely tuned old pocketwatch.
Sometimes it doesn't keep very good time.
But without it there is no time at all.
Louise Sorensen
louise3anne twitter

Unknown said...

Thank You Emily and John for sharing.I sat watching Sandy erode NYC:NJ utterly astonished by the tenacity of Mother Nature. 10yrs. ago I lived on the west coast earthquake fault line (Vancouver Canada Pacific Rim). I knew vulnerability makes me bitchy. Up high in a highrise, swaying to and fro, scared the b'Jeepers out of me twice. I became educated (thanks to Firemen giving classes) how to assemble a safe-kit. 90% of the time folks will be stranded for at least 72 hours, to stay put where it is safe. I also had a kit under my desk on the 37th Floor of my deluxe office tower. I'm not an obsessed "prepper" but a kit of necessities is very wise indeed. All said, let's hope no-one has to go through such a traumatic experience again. Our planet is so fragile and mighty but so are we.

Peggy Bechko said...

When I lived in FL I always kept a manual typewriter handy as the power failed frequently with storms or just for the heck of it... moved out west & had no problems so let go of manual typewriter ... now the power fails frequently - either drunks running into power poles or just for the heckuva it.

What's a body to do? Looking into solar and wind power...

Anonymous said...

I live at the Jersey Shore and while my home sustained no damage (thank God), the neighboring towns were devastated. There are so many people and businesses that are still displaced and Sea Bright still looks like a war zone. We had no power for 5 days too and I have to say, it was a little freeing.... no internet, no Facebook, no Twitter, no blogging, no t.v. We settled into a daily routine that revolved around us, our home, and simple pleasures (as well as boiling water to try to stay warm!) And I agree, candle light is not sufficient to do anything by! Like you and John, our only source of information was the battery powered radio and we listened to it each evening and called it the fireside chat LOL

I'm so glad you had each other to get through it. I don't know what I would have done without my hubby. Thanks for sharing your Sandy story with us Em! So glad that you didn't have any damage and made it through okay. (And you might want to get a Coleman LED lantern just in case something happens again - I did!)


Anonymous said...

Good blog and lots of response on this topic. Living in Kansas we have tornadoes and big storms and have gone without power for a day and that was terrible for 2 seniors that are handicapped. we sat in our chairs in the dark and slept. I think you never get over living through a storm like Sandy. Such isolation and despair. thanks for sharing your experience. kam

Unknown said...

So glad that you were able to hold it together and keep each other amused. You may not have had heat but you obviously have a marriage that is still full of warmth. xoxoxo

Anonymous said...

EM and John thanks for putting a positive spin on your Sandy experience. I'm truly glad you all came through ok. It seems like Mother nature is blind to us and shows no mercy just like the stars in the sky. NYC would seem to be the last place for a weather disaster and probably will be free of another for a very long time imo. Best we can do is prepare I suppose.

Julian Speed

Gus said...

Em when you two are together, you want for nothing. Not even 5 days of mayhem could affect your obvious devotion for one another. Indeed, a couple who survives such an experience and are still talking to each other -- have it ALL!