LIANE HANSEN, host:
This is Weekend Edition from NPR News. I'm Liane Hansen. It's been a week since Hurricane Ike barreled through Texas. Officials are beginning to allow the more than 40,000 residents of Galveston to return home and assess the damage. Last week we spoke with Merri Edwards, a local historian from Galveston. She and her family evacuated to Houston on the eve of the hurricane, and she's been giving us updates on our blog, "Sunday Soapbox." Merri is on the phone. Hi, Merri, how are you?
Ms. MERRI EDWARDS (Historian, Galveston, Texas): I'm fine, Liane. How are you doing?
HANSEN: I'm doing well, thanks. So what did you see when you went back to your home in Galveston?
Ms. EDWARDS: I saw a mess. A friend of ours had told us that it looked like there was about three feet of water on the outside of the house, and that some of the furniture had moved around inside when he was able to see through a window. But it didn't mean anything to me. I just couldn't imagine what he was talking about. And there are not very many pieces of furniture in our house that did not move. I had a couch that floated up a step, a bed that's sitting on its end. I had an enormous plumeria in my backyard that was just full of blooms this summer, and it's - there's very little evidence that it was ever there. And there are piles and piles and piles of carpet and appliances, furniture, all - you know, all the stuff we live with piled into people's front yards waiting to be picked up.
HANSEN: Did you lose a lot of personal stuff?
Ms. EDWARDS: Oh, yes.
HANSEN: Books, I imagine. You're a historian.
Ms. EDWARDS: Oh, lots and lots of books. I had a nice collection of children's books from my childhood, as well as my children's childhood, and others that I've collected through - you know, through grandchildren and stuff. And they're all gone. They were on the bottom shelves so they were easy access for the kids. And well, all of my research notes are underwater.
Ms. EDWARDS: Or were underwater.
HANSEN: Have you been able to talk to some of your neighbors who did not evacuate about what it was like for them to weather the storm?
Ms. EDWARDS: Well, I had an email from a man who lives in our neighborhood. And he said that before the eye, he had just a little bit of water in the house. And after the eye passed over, he ended up with about two and a half to three feet in his house as well.
HANSEN: Has anything positive come out it this for you?
Ms. EDWARDS: Yes, well, our roof didn't leak. So I'm very glad about that. We won't have to make tough choices about what to save or what not to save because it's very, very obvious. But on a different level, people are so nice and so kind. I have been overwhelmed by the kindness, not only of strangers, but of also of people I've known for a long time. (Unintelligible) our families have been wonderful.
HANSEN: When we talked to you last week, you were thinking of leaving Galveston for good. I mean, you weren't sure then what the damage was going to be. Is that still your plan?
Ms. EDWARDS: Oh yes.
HANSEN: Where are you going to go?
Ms. EDWARDS: Oh, we don't know yet. We will stay in Texas, but we haven't decided where we want to move. I just - I expect there will be a lot of people who will be leaving the island.
HANSEN: Merri Edwards, a resident of Galveston, Texas, who evacuated during Hurricane Ike. And she joined us on the phone from her stepdaughter's home in Austin, Texas. To find out more about Merri Edwards' experience, visit Weekend Edition Sunday's blog at npr.org. Merri, thanks again very much, and the best of luck to you.
Ms. EDWARDS: Thank you very much, Liane.
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