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Letter to the Editor

Virgin Islands Daily News (Oct. 28, 1995)

For those of us who were there, even for part of the wrenching task of rebuilding after Hurricane Marilyn, Charles Consolvo's letter to the editor of the VI Daily News is especially poignant.

Some thoughts after Hurricane Marilyn.
The sudden shock as the winds from this "little" hurricane started to tear things apart at 11 p.m. Friday night; the agonized cries for help on VHF from boats in the harbor; four adults, three children and a wet dog huddled in a bathroom with mattresses as the freight train winds shook and tore at our haven; finally collapsing on wet bedding in a back room for an hour until dawn; the tentative venturing out as gray, windy light broke through the glass and debris of our home to the gallery looking over town, and absolute incredulity at the massive damage visible on all sides.

Houses gone, trees twisted and downed, poles broken, the harbor swept clean of boats, seeing first one, then another and then another neighbor, taking joy in our survival and comfort in sharing the ordeal.

The Bryan clan firing up their pickup and chain saws and clearing the road, top to bottom; finding the propane tank in tact -- hot coffee! And breakfast for the kids; going out to find friends, fellow workers and survey the structure of our livelihood -- some with houses gone, some with only water damage, but nobody hurt.... People coming together in small communities of common interest to help and share. Anger over the looting, especially our government's failure to anticipate and prevent it, balanced by gratitude for the rapid and massive infusion of federal assistance; my Daily News delivered by 6 a.m., four days after the storm; the pleasure of watching the sudden blossoming of leaves on naked trees, balancing fatigue and occasionally the despair of wondering how to put everything back together again.

The sweet and sour blessings of a generator. ... A Main Street landlord showing up on the doorstep demanding his rent for October. The curse of traffic and lines, the aftertaste of siphoned diesel fuel; and, finally one morning, a dawn of Homeric proportions, truly "rosy fingered," a poignant reminder of the beauty and potential of life.
Charles Consolvo
St. Thomas

Charles Consolvo, a St. Thomas businessman, is a member of the Board of Trustees of Island Resources Foundation and has served as the Foundation's legal counsel for almost 20 years.