by Andrea Kelton
Andrea woke up at the regular time. But her room was dark. The house was dark. She looked out the window at an equally dark world. Sleepily, she made her way to the kitchen and crawled on her mommy’s lap. “Good morning, baby” her mommy whispered, nuzzling her close. “The power is out. There’s going to be a storm.”
Putting Andrea in her chair, her mommy made breakfast. No power meant no “Howdy Doody.”No”Romper Room.” Andrea could only sit in the kitchen and eat her breakfast. Mommy lit candles and warned Andrea not to touch them. Mommy put candles around the house. When Andrea finished eating, she skipped to her mommy’s bedroom. Where mommy was making the bed. Andrea climbed in. She loved it when her mommy made the bed with her in it. Her mommy was a nurse. She would pull the corners really tight-like she did in the hospital. Bed made, mommy told Andrea “now you’re snug as a bug in a rug.” Andrea lay wrapped in love until her four year old self grew restless.
She squeezed out of bed. Brushed her teeth and dressed. Loud, banging outside the front of the house drew her back to mommy’s bedroom. She dragged mommy’s vanity bench over to the window. Garbage cans crashed and flew down the street. Strong winds bullied the old, tall trees. The branches shook violently. Then they were forced to bend over and touch the ground.
Big rain blobs joined the wind. Water danced to the left. Shifted to the right. Suddenly smashed against the house. Beating the window like a drum. Fireworks lit the sky. Lightning turned the world ghostly white. Thunder exploded. The house and windows groaned.
Mommy scooped Andrea up and moved her to the safer interior. Andrea played. Mommy read stories. The hurricane lasted FOREVER. Mommy couldn’t use the electric stove. She couldn’t call daddy at the Coast Guard base. Andrea turned cranky, hungry and cold.
Finally, the rain stopped. Mommy said they were going to “venture out” and “try to find a hot meal.” They didn’t get far. The New London, Connecticut, streets were littered with fallen trees. Andrea saw heaps of lumber where buildings once stood. No stores were open. Mommy turned for home.
As mommy snaked the car down their dead end road, a neighbor came out. Andrea liked theelderly woman. The grandmother often invitedher over for cookies and milk. Sometimes, she even entertained her by taking out her teeth. “Do you have power?” she asked. When mommy answered “No” the invitation was extended once again. Grandma had a gas stove.
She heated up a can of Campbell’s Cream of Tomato soup. Yummy soup warmed Andrea’s tummy and toes. A satisfied child thanked her neighbor. It was “Mmm Mmm GOOD!”
Andrea Kelton was diagnosed with uveitis in 1974. She teaches Adult Basic Education at Literacy Chicago. Andrea has attended a memoir writing class “Me, Myself and I” taught by author, Beth Finke.