Saturday, April 26, 2008

Work Day #3

Friday, April 25, 2008

Pauline St. site: Giles, Mary, Bob, Glenda, Carla, Emma and Nancy Daley
Wickfield St. site: Kathy and Lyn

We all arrived at the Pauline St. site and then Kathy and Lyn went over to the Wickfield St. site to let the plumbers in again and install a bi-fold door. We continued staining and polyurethane-ing the woodwork and began installation of the baseboards. The stained baseboards are giving the room a nice finished look. We are working our way around the perimeter of the house. We determined we didn’t have enough baseboard to complete the job so we had more delivered and so we have stained and polyurethaned again. Carla and I are experts by now.

We met for lunch (McDonald’s employees are starting to recognize us… is that bad?) (where I got yesterday’s entry uploaded) and found out that Kathy and Lyn are still not done with the door. They took Emma back with them to have her do some sort of painting….as they continue doing battle with the door. We had workers at the house when we returned. The window guys. They are putting the new windows in. We are rather concerned that the windows have neither tarpaper nor flashing. Hopefully, whatever they do will be enough.

By the way…. check back next week after we get back. Since I don’t have much Internet time, I can’t always get photos uploaded. I will be adding photos to most every day’s blog entry.

I haven’t told you about the school yet. Parkview Magnet School. What used to be a school, rather. It is boarded up and mostly chain link fenced. There are several holes in the chain link fencing. We drove past it the first day we were here. Yesterday, Carla and I stopped to take photos. I ducked through a hole in the fence and got some photos ‘inside’. I didn’t go into any of the buildings…. the boarded up windows and doors were still boarded up…. not to mention the safety factor. I was uneasy walking under the covered pathways as it was.

There will never be children here again. The only option here is to raze these buildings. God FORBID there be any children in these buildings.

I could feel the mold in my lungs and I was outside with a breeze. The mold is visible on the buildings. The siding warped. On the lawn, a classroom door….water damaged beyond any hope of repair.

This was a happy place.
Children looked forward to the first day of school here. Did they even get a first day of school in 2005? The Storm hit on August 29. Had school started? Or were they just eagerly looking forward to the first day ‘next week’? Was that happily decorated door ever seen by the children it was to welcome to class?

In an ironic twist, this sign was still there.

It hadn’t been washed away by the flood. It hadn’t been bent by the winds. It hadn’t been consumed by moss or mold. It was the cleanest thing in a sea of things that hadn’t been clean for 32 months. It looked like it had been put up yesterday. No children will learn here again..

Meanwhile, on a lighter note….

I made my blog entry last night and then put away my computer. It was then we started talking to the film crew. The Mixer, Walter Anderson, was in the hall and so we could see and hear what was going on upstairs. We were able to watch the scenes being rehearsed and filmed. We all will be able to say those lines along with the cast when we go see this movie. Mr. Anderson explained to the group of us gathered about how a movie is put together. He also told us he was sure that Forest Whitaker would meet us. Oh… and you might want to go upstairs and wait up there because they were about to wrap up for the night. Remember… this is movie making. They’re done when the Director is happy with a scene… no matter how long that takes. Upstairs we went anyway…. this is an old church with narrow stairs and passageways. There are rooms that are hallways (like the shower area) and small nooks and crannies. Several women are sitting on director’s chairs in one of these narrow passageways just outside the gym door.

(the set in the gym)

Emma has brought a pad of paper and is hoping for autographs. She is, however, far to shy to actually ASK for the autographs. We don’t recognize any of the women and we don’t know if they are actresses waiting for their scene or what. They were crew… Make-up Dept. Head, Key Make-up, Hair Dept. Head, Key Set Costumer, Director’s Assistant and one of the Producers. Kathy asked if they would give Emma their autographs.

We started to wonder if they were going to be done before midnight. We were tired. We were sleepy. There was a break in the action while they moved cameras to a new angle. The Make-Up Department Head, Debra Denson went in and asked Mr. Whitaker if he would do a quick meet and greet. Which he did. He was very gracious and gladly gave Emma an autograph and posed for a photo with those of us still awake… which included our roommates, Chris and Quincy from New York.

It was an interesting end to an interesting and emotional day. Earlier in the day I had walked around this flooded out elementary school. I spent the evening listening to a movie being made about the days following this flood. I heard a little girl say “Daddy… is that our house? Daddy… I want to go home.” This movie is based on real events. Today, they moved to a cemetery for a funeral scene. Next week they film the scenes before The Storm hits. At some point they will or have already filmed the scenes of the family returning home after the flood. I can guarantee you this will be filmed on a set. I can also guarantee you that the horror you will see on the screen will not capture what these people faced. We are even getting the cleaned up version. And there is still a smell in the air. Faint as it may be, it is still there. The piles of debris in the street that has been there for weeks, if not months, gets rained on and bakes in the heat and humidity. As I sit on the front step of our house I have to wonder what goo was upon this step. I wonder what has soaked into the ground here. I wonder if this faint smell will ever really fade. I look at the houses that are still empty, with broken windows and falling in ceilings and collapsing walls and am reminded of something George Carlin said; “…the earth will survive… we don’t need to “save the earth”, we need to save the people…”

The earth will survive. It will take back that which belongs to the earth. These things that are of the people, will not without help. We need to save the people. Earth will take care of herself.

Today’s Volunteer Labor Debt Reduction:

8.5 hours x 9 people x $18 = $1377

1 comment:

CloverGirl said...

What a wonderful service you're doing. I admire all who go there to help out and change lives.

I also think it's incredibly awesome that you met Forest Whitaker. WOW!!!!!