“I think more than anything, there becomes a new OK when people ask if you’re OK,” Hart told Yahoo News on Monday. “You’re like, ‘We’re alive. We’re safe. We’re dry.’ That becomes the new OK. We don’t have anything except for each other.”
She doesn’t know what will be left of her home when she comes back. When people now ask her how her family is doing, Hart said, “I just say I’m OK. We’re OK. We will be OK.”
Thirty-six hours earlier, when Hart woke up Sunday at 3 a.m. to feed her 5-month-old son, her husband, Nick, came home soaking wet.
He had been in the street, in waist high water, helping free people trapped in their vehicles who had been trying to flee the flooding.
Hart said their house is on one of the highest points in Dickinson, and no water had flowed inside yet, but “it started to creep up our driveway, and it just kept rising faster and faster.”
Over the next couple of hours, water crept into their garage and eventually their house. Within an hour the water rose from the level of their ankles to their shins. They decided to leave. When her husband went outside, the water in their driveway was as high as his chest.
After Hart packed a diaper bag for their son, Gunner, the family waited on their porch, trying to flag down a passing boat. Hart said she saw neighbors wading through the streets, towing their children in inflatable pools. She pleaded to be rescued on Facebook, where she said her post was shared 50 times — an experience she said was “overwhelming” and “humbling.” Two relatives finally showed up in a boat to rescue them.
“We walked out to the boat almost to our neck in water, and the worst part for me was probably holding my son up above my head,” Hart recalled. “I had to give him to the people on the boat. But I knew at that point he was safe, so it was scary but in a sense it was a relief as well.”
They rode a couple miles to “the first dry land available,” and then walked another mile on the highway in pouring rain to where another relative was waiting to drive them.
Now at an aunt and uncle’s home in Santa Fe, Texas, Hart said the water in Dickinson is still rising and they don’t know when they’ll be able to return home — or what they’ll find when they do.
“As far as what we think we’re going to go back to, we’re hoping for the best, but we really don’t have anything to go back to,” she said.
Hart is a native of Galveston, Texas, and said her family “lost everything” and was displaced for nine months when Hurricane Ike tore through the Gulf Coast in 2008. But she said Harvey’s destruction dwarfed Ike’s.
“Back then, we knew a hurricane was coming,” she said. “We evacuated, we got out of there way before [it hit].”
This time around, Hart and their husband didn’t even grab their wallets before fleeing their home.
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