This past weekend has been a memorable one for all of us in Memphis, I’m sure. We’ll probably be telling stories for years about where we were when #MEMSTORM hit.
I was looking forward to stopping by 901Fest (the finale of Memphis in May). I had just come back from working in St. Louis and could not be there for the entire festival, but caught the fireworks just in time. Downtown was more packed than usual due to it being Memorial Day Weekend with everyone (and their momma, aunty, cousins and such) attending some function or another. I thought about getting some ice cream at Margie’s 901 on Main (formerly Maggie Moo’s), but changed my mind and went home instead.
My boyfriend Kamarr happened to be in town and I knew I had ice cream at home. I stopped to get some outdoor chairs for my balcony so we could eat the ice cream outside and just enjoy the nice, calm, quiet evening. As soon as we got home and I took a chair onto the balcony, wind started coming out of nowhere. Then I felt the rain. We ran inside but kept the screen door open for some air because at this point, the rain just added to a slightly romantic ambience. But not for long.
As if God himself wanted to take a shower, so much rain began sweeping Union Ave. Never have I ever seen the trees bend back and forth as they did near our building. I suspected that this was more than the average storm. Seconds later, the power went out. Being from NJ and experiencing hurricane Sandy in 2012, I always know to have candles around the house, one for every room/area. I almost wasn’t going to use them because the lightning was so strong and recurring that I practically could see everything in my apartment.
The next morning, there was still no power. I quickly checked Facebook to see who else was on the struggle bus and all the Memphians immediately started helping and sharing info. It felt a little better to know I wasn’t alone in the storm, and all of us with electric stoves were going to have to figure out how to get a hold of some food. Being in a blackout made me long for luxuries like taking the elevator instead of now climbing up five flights of stairs. I can’t imagine how it felt for those residents who live higher than that. To get a nice hot meal meant I had to call around and see what was open. We waited about an hour for Another Broken Egg by Park Ave and it was swarming with people waiting. We drove around after breakfast and saw how badly Memphis was hit and that the storm had knocked over many trees in such a short amount of time.
We made it to Memorial Day, still without power, and tried to stay optimistic. We continued to eat everything that didn’t require cooking. We decided to go across the street to Kroger, and bought some deli meats, rolls, cheese, mustard, bottle of wine (it wasn’t Sunday), a hammock to be used as a blanket, and fruit snacks. Overton Park felt like the right place to get away from the situation at my apartment and enjoy the daylight. Kamarr and I weren’t the only ones there either. Lots of people were hanging out on the grass enjoying their snacks and the weather.
More than 150,000* homes lost power. I say all this to say that yes, it’s annoying to hear that your power could be out for a week because there’s so much to repair, and you’ll have no TV, no internet, and have to hunt for places to charge your phone. Yet, it’s important to make the best of the situation. Even though it was difficult, it could have been much worse. To be honest, the month of May has been a challenging one, but it’s one for the books, and one to say that I too overcame this moment. I’m heading back out of town now to go to grad school for the summer but I’m excited to come back and see what other adventures I can conquer. Stay safe!
Editorial Note: Official number of customers without power was 188,000. As of 8:15am on May 31st, crews have managed to restore power and decrease that number to 44,000.