Friday, September 01, 2006

Swimming to Work

A year ago today I swam from my flooded house to Xavier University. It's not something I would recommend. I saw several dead bodies and the scenes still sort of haunt me. I wrote a note about my name, address, and contact info for my parents in Nebraska, and put it in a plastic bag and duct taped it around a string that I wore around my neck. Looking back on it I wish I had brought my camera. But I was afraid, and didn't want to carry anything that might attract attention. I did bring an inflatable pillow to help me swim. At Xavier I went to my office and looked for students to say hi to, but they were all gone. They had been evacuated a few hours earlier to a bridge nearby where they spent the night, and then got on buses. When I swam home it was dark. Sometimes people would shine a flashlight on me from their house, just to see if I was a troublemaker or whatever. It was pretty scary. Today I'm in Omaha, visiting my mother. Tomorrow I drive to Columbus NE to see my dad. He's got quite a few cancers, and is pretty ill. With everything so busy with school, this was the first chance I was able to see him in a few months.


Anonymous said...

I'm happy to have you here in New Orleans, working at Xavier, still. I'd be lost without all the cool heads that are rebuilding Mid-City.

Anonymous said...

You swam to work and then you swam back home. That breaks my heart. The idea of you tying the string on your neck. It is chilling.

Anonymous said...


I had the pleasure of meeting your family in person at the Zephyrs baseball game last night. They were all having a great time, and like my kids, hitting the concession stand pretty hard. Your post explains why you were not there as well.

Hope everything back home is as good as can be.

"Andy P."

Schroeder said...

Sounds like something courageous/stupid I would do, but I think my ex- would have bludgeoned me to death for doing it. Alas, I no longer have such fears to keep the wreckless urges in check. Therese is a strong woman to put up with you.

Anonymous said...

As you can see, this post touched me quite deeply.

Anonymous said...

Good grief, Michael. I'd say that's unbelievable but it's all too beliveable and incredibly poignant. I am so glad that you survived that and I'm quite sure it still haunts you.

Schroeder, no swimming in flood waters allowed, ya heah?