Rumors of Hurricane Irene had been swirling for days. Finally, it appears that “Irene” might actually be a huge storm and is predicted to have a major impact on New Jersey, as well as communities all along the eastern seaboard – perhaps as far north as Maine – unprecedented.
So many times in the past, reporting about impending hurricanes sounds hysterical, but the reality was puny. As a result, some people have become complacent or sanguine. Despite warnings & official orders this time, many people determined to “ride it out” even knowing that they would be responsible for their own health and safety if that is their choice!
The two times in the past we were asked to evacuate (when the children were young - about 30 years ago) we did, and this would be no different. But this time, we are also responsible for Scarborough Inn guests and the International students on our staff!
On August 25, Cape May County declared a Mandatory Evacuation; later Ocean City also declared a Mandatory Evacuation beginning with visitors first. Some of our Inn guests were reluctant to leave, but were persuaded to do so and most everyone was checked out by that evening; others determined to depart early in the morning. Also on the 25th, we went to Sam’s to pick up our regular weekly order. With the safety of our international student staff members in mind, we also selected some apples, Granola bars, Chex snacks, bagels, and bottled water as non-perishable snacks. We also purchased some body wash and spray Lysol, and basic medical supplies like bandages, aspirin, and antiseptic. Gus reassured the students that we would stay together & keep them safe.
We packed personal belongings in small suitcases that evening, as well as rudimentary office items so we could run our B&B from the road. We were up until 12:30 handling dozens of details…and some accompanying feelings of concern. Flashlights? Check. Batteries? Check. Laundry finished? Check. Family and friends contacted? Check. Finally, we went to bed and tried to get some sleep.
The following day we would need to prepare the Scarborough Inn for Irene’s visit…