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My City Was Gone

September 15, 2008

Galveston, Post-Ike

I was born in Galveston, as were both my parents.  My father is buried there.  It’s hard for me to put into words how I feel about the destruction left by Hurricane Ike, but I’m going to try, all the same.

Though I only lived there for the first six months of my life, I returned several times a year to visit my grandparents and various other relatives, so it’s really like a second hometown to me.  And though I haven’t been back since my father died in early 2001, it still feels like a piece of me has been washed away forever.

Sure, Galveston will rebuild and become a vibrant Gulf coast city once more, but it won’t be the same in many ways.  My paternal grandmother was a local artist and amateur historian, who could tell you just about anything regarding the people and landmarks of Galveston.  She used to regale us with tales of the legendary Balinese Room, a one-time speakeasy turned high-profile nighclub on a pier over the Gulf of Mexico.  Frequented by the Rat Pack and immortalized in song by ZZ Top, it had survived many previous storms, including the powerful Hurricane Carla in 1961.

As much as I miss my grandmother and my dad, I’m glad neither were alive to see the Balinese Room destroyed.  The extent of the devastation to the entire island is difficult to fathom, but the loss of a landmark with such historical and sentimental value really drives home just how disastrous Hurricane Ike truly was.

I’ll miss the Galveston I once knew, just as much as I miss my grandmother and my dad.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 5, 2008 11:14 pm

    Pictures just do not do Galveston justice. I think it’s the combination of the sounds and smells and seeing the damage every which way you look that cause the pangs in your belly.

    They’ve got a lot of recovering to do.

  2. Gisela permalink
    September 15, 2008 6:47 pm

    I feel your pain and sadness , because I live in Miami Fl and we are very familiars with hurricanes like Andrew, 1992 and all the destruction it brought to our city.I am also cuban and before Ike heat Galveston last saturday it went through the our island from one end to the other and destroy whatever found on his deadly way, leaving people with absolutely nothing.
    Like you say Galveston will rebuild and I will be there to see it because I’m retiring in the next few month to move to Houston were part of my family already live.
    Keep the memories of all the beautiful time you spend there as a child and all the stories your heard from your grandmother and father, those will go with you forever and let the builders make a new Galveston to start making new history

  3. September 15, 2008 3:23 pm

    The lesson of New Orleans: If people want Galveston back, they will make it come back no matter what obstacles nature, government and stupidity put up in the way. Good luck.

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