Sunday, March 05, 2006

First Update from Dantzler UMC, Moss Point, MS

Sunday ~ March 5, 2006

Hello from Dantzler Memorial UMC in Moss Point, MS!

We arrived on Wednesday, March 1, got settled in and started to work on Thursday. There was a group here from Brookville UMC in Frederick, MD we teamed up with and shared meals and work duty.

The “in-charge” man here, Frank, has a HUGE list of things to be done. He informed us that Rev. David Greer (pastor of Dantzler UMC) has groups booked into 2008!

Frank asked Ken what he could do and when he saw that Ken brought his power miter saw his eyes lit up and was so excited when he found out Ken could do crown moulding. He knew exactly where he was going to put us…FINISHING!

Frank assigned us to put the crown moulding on in one of the houses belonging to an 83 year old woman named Eliza Fitzlea. She had about 4’ of water in her house. We were shown where the crown moulding was ~ in a stack without markings as to what room and what walls they came from. First we had to identify these pieces and there were not a few – there were three rooms and a long hallway. Ken being the ‘engineer’ in the group measured and layed out the pieces – it was like putting a puzzle together. Once these were identified as to the rooms, then the task was to put them up – easier said than done. The original walls were paneled and ripped down and sheet rock was put in, making the moulding necessary to be re-cut and ‘coped’. Along with that, we had to glue pieces together because they had split. I even got to run the power miter saw! I’ll tell you, I’m not sure I want to do a lot of that – it is a big machine and can do a lot of damage to fingers! I did the “smidgen” cutting. I was helping Ken glue some of the pieces together and in order to get a better grip, I sat down on the grass. Before I knew it, I had red ants all over my shoes and my hand. A little remembrance of being in the south. Needless to say, I ran into Eliza’s laundry room to make sure they didn’t crawl up my legs. Shudder!

Eliza was quite a spry woman of 83. She was always up when we got there at 8:00 and left the house to go do “work” – not sure what her work was, but we caught her outside picking up limbs and puttering around outside her house. Her daughter lives next door so she was over there a lot. She was telling us that every Friday she has to make a lot of pies for the soup kitchen. This particular Friday she made 50 little “tart” pies. A man comes around to all the houses on the street and picks up the pies to take them to where needed.

While the team from MD did drywall, spackling and priming we were able to get two bedrooms and half the hallway done. I’m sure that is where we will be this next week, finishing up the rest of the crown moulding in the other bedroom and dining room and hallway.

On Friday, since we were at a standstill at Eliza’s house, we went down the street about two houses and started on a house owned by Mrs. Kirkland. This had been almost all gutted with the exception of the ceiling. We tore the ceiling down and removed all the staples used to hold it up. Someone got a little happy with the staple gun. I’m going to try to attach a picture (not sure if it will work). But, this house looked like it had been an old barn – the slats on the walls you could see right through.

Mrs. Kirkland is an 85 year old woman who had been married for 65 years before she lost her husband. She had moved to this house in 1948 and the water had come up over her windows…and this is only two houses from the house with the 4’ of water. She told us that she has never been flooded before. The street we are working on sits on a bayou and the water surge and wind was so powerful it flooded its banks. Mrs. Kirkland said her brother got out of MS and moved to Aliquippa, PA and planned never to return to MS.

Ken and I spoke with Mrs. Kirkland and she said that we looked alike – like brother and sister. I told her we were married and she said it was because we were married for so long we were beginning to look alike – minus the beard.

We took a trip to outside of New Orleans to see the devastation and there were two bridges still out. We drove back on Highway 90 and the amount of rubble along the beach is horrific. TV just doesn’t put it into perspective…you really have to see how badly they were hit. On our way over, we noticed that a shrimp boat has been stuck under I-10 and they cannot seem to get it out of the muck and mire.

There are about 60 people that have arrived for this week from OK, NH, VA and PA. Some of the teens that have come are on spring break from James Madison University.

That’s all for this week – watch for an update on Sunday.

Julie & Ken


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