For those of us who were lucky enough to know Thia Maria, we'd all agree that she was a force of nature - and not at all in a bad way. She was very active in the community and our church. She was also a businesswoman. Thia Maria owned the knit shop on the G. She taught me how to knit when I was about 6 or 7. When I was about 11, she would have Theo Demas pick me up on his way home from his half day at "The Wharf" on Saturdays and bring me to the shop. I would answer the phone, help restock, bag yarny purchases and generally breathe in all the yarn fumes. Then, more often than not, I would get to go home with her after the last customer would rush over, fresh from a game of Mah Jong, to get her fix of yarn to last her for the weekend. Frequently, I would get to spend the night. We would stay up late, long after Theo Demas had gone to bed, watching old movies and knitting or needlepointing.
Thia Maria's four kids are a few years or so older than me. When the first grandchild came along, it was my biggest delight when her parents would bring Stephanie over to visit her grandparents while I was there. Then came Stephanie's little brother, whom everyone called Baby Demo. (He was named after his grandfather.) To this day, people call him Baby or Little Demo. In fact, he just got married in June. When I got to the church, there he was standing in the back and it caught me by surprise. (I don't know why it would. Afterall, I was there to witness his nuptials, and his attendance would be expected.) "Baby Demo!" I exclaimed and gave him a big kiss before I helped my momma to our seats. Anyway, two more grandchildren came along - Angie and Marika - and both joined their cousins in being my baby dolls.
Stephanie and her husband live on the G. Her husband is an ER physician at UTMB. Stephanie and their two children evacuated, but B had to stay behind - although the hospitals were evacuated of patients and to date, are not officially open for business, as only a portion of the main hospital is running on generator power. Still, because some people chose to stay, and there are many people there in official capacities, there are plenty of minor emergencies that are being addressed tirelessly by B and his crew.
I spoke to Stephanie today for the first time since the storm. I had heard from my brother that her home was hit hard in the hurricane, and she directed me to a website with pictorial evidence. It is not pretty and my heart goes out to Stephanie and B. The power of that wind and storm surge was beyond belief. The hurricane-grade windows and doors were blown off with the framing. One wall is only studs.
The devastation in Galveston is very hit and miss. We are hearing more and more encouraging news about my momma's house. She lives hear the Yacht Basin. Friends that live on the water near the Yacht Basin and about a mile from my momma's house reportedly had five feet of water. Other friends who live two streets closer to the Yacht Basin from her had about an inch of water in their house. Stephanie informed me that my momma's neighbors, across the street and two houses down from her had no water in their home. My SIL told me that George, Stephanie's uncle, went by my momma's house today and as far as he could tell from the outside, he didn't think any water had gotten into her house. We continue to hope for the best and prepare for the worst, until someone actually gets into the house and knows for sure - but things look hopeful. I hope to speak with George myself tomorrow. I have to thank him for checking on the house, and to find out how his home fared.
Keep those thoughts and prayers coming for all the people touched by the storm.