Knew Nothing about Andrew…Too Much About Woody Allen

Zoe Boyer-LaPointe had little hurricane experience until she witnessed the impact of Andrew from an airplane window returning from Greece.  Here’s a flashback to the days before a global communications system that make every major news event local, no matter where you are.

Most Hurricane Andrew stories come from memories about “where you were” when it struck South Florida. In August of 1992, I was happily sailing around the Greek Islands. Sailing into Poros – the only thought I had was, “where can we get some ice to keep our drinks cold”? We were blissfully unaware of everything going on in the world except the wildfires that were burning up the Greek mountainside.  I didn’t know a thing about Hurricane Andrew but I knew plenty about Woody Allen.

When we returned to Athens, I was able to watch some television and read a newspaper or two. The headline on TV and in the papers was that director Woody Allen was in a relationship 21-year-old Soon-Yi Previn, the adopted daughter of Mia Farrow. I recall that there seemed to be more attention given to this sordid affair than the wildfires that were burning in the Aegean Islands and the Attica Peninsula. There were no reports of the impending hurricane bearing down on the Florida coast so I knew nothing about Hurricane Andrew.

As my two-week stay in Greece came to an end, we packed up and headed back into Miami to catch our connecting flight to Orlando. As we were approaching Miami, the pilot made an announcement and said that a hurricane had struck South Florida and to look out the windows. The aerial view took my breath away and I remember everyone gasping.  I had never seen anything like it before. I suspect many people on the flight lived in South Florida and I wondered how they must have felt.  Up to that point in my life, I can’t remember even hearing anything about major hurricanes much less experiencing that level of devastation. Growing up in Orlando, the only thing I knew about getting ready for a hurricane was to have a flashlight and a deck of cards on hand so you could have a hurricane party!

When I think back to that trip I have a lot of fond memories.  I realize, for better or worse, I will never be able to disconnect that way again. Cable, email, Twitter, Facebook and cell phones make it impossible.

Tomorrow, Bruce McCullen discusses the pull to help storm victims, how our best intentions may create greater challenges for disaster relief volunteers and the best way we can show our support to those in need…

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