Over the weekend, the New York Times blog published a piece of writing by one of the many victims of Hurricane Sandy who has been given shelter at the Park Slope Armory. Miriam Eisenstein-Drachler, whose home at the Belle Harbor nursing home in Far Rockaway was rendered unlivable, writes something on the border of personal essay and thank you letter, and which she describes as “A Short Autobiography and a Richly-Earned Expression of Gratitude.”
The piece, titled “With Heavenly Help,” links Miriam’s experience of the hurricane to the memories of her emigration from Poland, and muses on the importance and necessity of neighbors taking care of one another. Perhaps the most poignant aspect is Miriam’s closing plea for the continuation and growth of compassionate community:
It is with feelings of gratitude and love that I dedicate this article to all the men and women who run this magnificent, heart-warming place known as the Armory of Brooklyn. May you go from strength to still great strength in your magnificent, all-inclusive pattern of selfless dedication and help to other selves. May the world outside these walls incorporate the outstanding dynamics of the Armory in its daily flow of human interaction. This, I believe, is the basic need of the present. May it be realized in society-at-large.
It is a humbling and worthwhile read. A nice piece of closure to the story is that Miriam and the other remaining evacuees who found themselves at the Armory were moved out of the temporary shelter yesterday.
Photo via Haruko16