Hurricane Harbor

A writer and a tropical muse. A funky Lubavitcher who enjoys watching the weather, hurricanes, listening to music while enjoying life with a sense of humor and trying to make sense of it all!

Monday, March 23, 2020

The Beat Goes On.. We Pray, We Share ONLINE, We Write, We Sing... Stay Alive By Following the Rules Stop the Spread.......Now!

Everything seems cancelled of late.
But what isn't cancelled is Spring.
That tree comes alive every day.... a different way. 
Today it's yellow bordering on Spring Green.
The leaves are hanging limp from rain.
Quiet, steady drizzle reminding me of Seattle.
It's so gray today and quietly gray.

In Monsey NY it snowed.
Barely snowed all winter so...
...caught everyone's attention.
Homes far apart.
Deer wandering through the woods.
Snow covered woods.

A friend in Crown Heights saw sleet.
She told me on the phone while we were talking.

My brother in Greece is a writer.
He's a singer.
Our Mother was an Artist.
Okay she was a Writer/Artist/Singer.
Nuff said....
You get the idea.
So while watching the rain.
Listening to my brother sing.
I decided to write a blog today.
No hurricanes anywhere...
... but writing is good for me.
If it helps you some, good.
I figure we all have time to read these days.

You can watch this ten times...
..and see different things in his collage in motion.

You also order his book.
He could use the money in Greece...
And we all know what needing money is like.
Good poetry. A very good read.
And online there's no germs :)

So as I have been a student of history.
I wanted to look back at our history.
Not talking about ancient history.
History has been filled with plagues.
Somehow we naively thought ...
...we were past that.

So in ways we are distancing............
.........yet we are socializing together long distance.
Estee's mother is cheerful.
She has a business online.
She and her husband make me smile and laugh.
And that's really good.
Eventually I'll buy one of those dresses..
...the dresses with pockets.
But for one minute last night.
It was as if I was there with them in Toronto.

Now back to our regular program...
Corona Time. 

When I'm in Key West I go near this tree.
Huge poinciana tree.. one of many.
I smile realizing I'm looking up at blossoms...
..from a tree my Ancestors looked at also.
The Royal Poincianas of Key West are glorious.
My family had one outside their house on Whitehead Street.
They also had services in their home until a Synagogue was formed.
Pioneer Days in the 1880s.

A plague is a plague by any name be it a virus or some disease we thought we got rid of and thankfully we have gotten rid of quite a few. Yet somehow viruses find ways of evolving into a new disease that we have no immunity to and as our scientists race for a cure while many of us pray and try to help others and others research or write or sing songs as life goes on even in these social distancing times. My son helped a friend put on a Bas Mitzvah Party for her 12 year old daughter who had her whole Bas Mitzvah online on Zoom with famous singers coming on singing for her as well as her relatives far away unable to attend but who were together online. In her house the family dressed up, danced, sang songs and she gave her Speech to her class and relatives online and she was happy. I mean really happy... and for the first time in quite a while I smiled, laugheded and felt uplifted. There is something magical about sharing in someone's joy... even while physically we are socially distancing but our hearts are together as one. Trust me... we are way better off in 2020 than when my Great Grandparents suffered through Yellow Fever in Key West.

Growing up in Florida my Grandmother Mary explained to me endlessly with great emotion as she told the story explaining that the reason our family moved to Tampa was because Tampa had "runnin water" as in Key West they did not and her mother almost died from Malaria (that's what she said) from drinking water from the cisterns. She had been deathly ill and the Sisters at St. Mary's nursed her back to health and when she found herself pregnant with my Grandmother it seems the main nun came to their tinware store on Whitehead Street and insisted they leave immediately and go back up north if they wanted this baby to live. Grandma described it with great flourish...they swept in with their long black dresses and big white headpieces and the Mother Superior was adamant they leave. Apparently Mary's mother Ida had left the sick house to go and help deliver a baby on Aronowitz Lane across the street and had fallen sick again and they nursed her back to health again. Now once healthy and pregnant they decided to take a stand so they marched into the family store and told them War was coming and that would bring more disease and she needed to leave the Island. So they packed up their fine English pots and pans as Grandma said and took a ship up to Philadelphia and NJ where they had some property and after delivering my Grandmother safely they eventually moved to Tampa where they had "running water" and no more drinking from cisterns. Below is from a book telling their story.

Excellent book to read while you are socially distancing.
Trying to avoid CNN MSNBC and FOX...
(except when Cuomo is on ..of course)

This was always family legend until it was actually in a book written a few years ago by an author who lives in Key West who included it in his book on Yellow Fever epidemics and how they impacted the residents of Key West. Not that I didn't trust my Grandma Mary but to see it in print was crazy and I thought (last year) ... "how does someone live through 104 fever for 4 days and live?"  The footnote explains the details are from the meticulous records of the Doctor in Key West. Sadly... he didn't understand the disease had nothing to do with how anyone was living but it had been the wettest summer in years (historically so) and the mosquito population was alive and well breeding in the cisterns that was the only means of water to drink in Key West. Understand Key West has no river... the rain water was collected in the cisterns and they drank the water and Yellow Fever was a reoccurring theme known often as "tropical fever" so you'll see. Really it's an awesome read about Key West history through the lives of the Jewish Pioneers who were there quite early and involved in the Cigar Business as my family was... and supporting Jose Marti's struggle to liberate Cuba rum running and smuggling people in from Cuba who were stuck there escaping from Nazi Germany to the modern time that you all know when strolling down Duval Street and watching the sunset on Mallory Square .. may we be able to do that again soon!  My family was naturalized at the Government Building there as Citizens of Key West and the United States so .. I'm a Conch ;) 

So understand this was what life was like even in the paradise back before there was running water or means to get rid of the mosquitoes and before we had antibiotics and the list goes on. Yet, here we are in 2020 temporarily stumped by Covid-19 racing to find the best way to heal those who test positive and find a way to protect those from not succumbing as the author said... to this horrible disease. Yet, despite how horrible it is we are finding ways to learn together, work together and share joy even on Zoom or Twitter or Instagram or choose your way to share the joy.  A friend wants to come over later this week with her children who play musical instruments and play music to me from down below the balcony. We are all awesome, socially distant but connected with love in prayers and sharing what joy goes on.

I have a commemorative book from Key West.
It was put out by the diocese on an anniversary.
I was doing historical research in the office...
...and was able to obtain the book.
It speaks of the earlier history of Key West in the 1870s.
The times the word "YELLOW FEVER" comes up..
...are too many to count.

My family was there in the 1880s.
and the beat of "Yellow Jack" went on and on.

Years ago plagues were isolated.
Plagues were locational.
Key West and New Orleans had...
Charleston and Savannah did not.

Before my family went to England...
...they came from somewhere in Russia.
There were fires that burned the village down.
There was persecution ...
There were wars and plagues.

The other day while trying to escape a bit..
I picked a book off the bookshelf.
Opened it randomly......
It was about Rabbi Avrohom David who lived long ago.
It was a random page mind you.
In the Kherson region a plague broke out.
Early 1800s I believe.
His heroic work to help many everywhere..
..was honored when the plague was over.
Again.....he survived.
Life went on.

So it is what it is... even random history books.
Bring you back full circle. 

We just have to get through this... our ancestors did.
Okay we are humbled and stumped.
But nothing new under the sun.

Mother Nature continues showing us that.
Rain, Snow, Sleet eventually Hurricane Season.

I'm friends with the Chabad Rabbi in Savannah.
His brothers are Rabbis in Athens Georgia..
..and Charleston SC.

A few months back I was speaking with his son in Savannah.
My husband and I were sitting in their living room.
The walls filled with images of their students in happy times.
I told him my Grandmother's Grandparents lived near Leeds.
He said he's ask his father...
... he obviously recognized the name.
The Abrahams family there was well known.
We wished each other a good sweet year.
Their work in Savannah is inspiring.
Though they were closed this last week...
... they sent food to those who needed.

Hard for clergy to escape this... 
.. many who nurture others were first hit.
And the list goes on and on and on.
I'm praying for so many... many I know battling this disease.
So many I know trying to avoid it.

So what can you do?

I write so I wrote.
I'm here today and thankful.
I'm saying prayers TOGETHER with friends on WhatsApp.
I'm remembering my family's history...
... rejoicing in people who are trying to celebrate today.
Birthdays are celebrated online ...
... my grandchildren in Coconut Grove say prayers online
Chabad School there on Zoom.

An article from Chabad of Beijing.
They did and many did not get the disease.
Just follow the rules. Please.

Yes, life must go on...
Life evolves.
I pray we come out of this better, wiser, kinder people.

We are a global world.
People travel.
The virus traveled... all around the world.
Now may the world heal!
May the message and the cure travel as fast.

Do your part.
Apparently Neil Diamond is...

He wrote a song (like my brother)
About ..washing your hands.
So rather than reach out... 
..reach out online or on the phone.
Wash your hands!

With prayers for your health!
@bobbistorm on Twitter and Instagram

Ps... Reach out with your heart...
.....reach out with your words and songs.

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