U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s visit to Reliant Park this morning offered him a glimpse of what it’s like to be living in shelter.
While on the tour with top administration officials from Washington, including U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao and U.S. Treasury Secretary John W. Snow, DeLay stopped to chat with three young boys resting on cots.
The congressman likened their stay to being at camp and asked, “Now tell me the truth boys, is this kind of fun?”
They nodded yes, but looked perplexed.
Just half an hour before I read this, Stephanie and I were talking about what it must be like for the kids caught in the hurricane. One of my most vivid memories from childhood is when I was five years old and our house was hit by a tornado. I remember my parents scrambling us down in the basement to hide under the workbench, and the look of fear on my Dad’s face, which to me was far more terrifying than the storm itself, because I thought (and sometime still do) my Dad was invincible. If he was scared, I knew something was really wrong.
I imagine all the kids in New Orleans have had that kind of shock and fear go through them, and for most it was far worse than what I remember. We had someplace to stay while my parents rebuilt our house; we went to live with my grandmother for the summer. But I also still remember all the things I had that blew away or were destroyed in the tornado; my pink piggy bank, my sonny & cher poster, lots of my clothes that had to be replace because they had broken glass in them.
It’s kind of silly to remember that stuff, but it had a lot to do with my feelings of place and security being gone.