Hurricane Irene and the Dowager Duchess Face Off


Jerry and I just watched a live broadcast via MSNBC.  The reporter was standing on the Coney Island Boardwalk just down the street from my mother’s apartment.  The view was from the exact location of a photo in my 5 July post.


My mother’s neighborhood has had a mandatory evacuation in anticipation of Hurricane Irene.  My mother and many of her neighbors, however, stayed put.  They usually feel invincible from the weather, living in their high-rise apartments.  My mother could go further into Brooklyn to stay with her sister who has had home care for a few years, living with the advanced stages of dementia.  My mother loves her sister but didn’t think she could cope with staying with her.  Her other option was to go to one of three shelters designated for people in her neighborhood.  That was even less appealing to my mother, the “Dowager Duchess.”


Many of my mother’s friends are staying home as well.  Her next-door neighboor is 89 and is in poor health.  She refuses to go to her niece’s home away from the ocean.  Too many impossible stairs to climb.  My 84-year-old mother is going to take care of her, if she should need any help.  They live on the 17th floor and the winds are supposed to be worse up high.  The central hall is completely interior with no windows.  My mother says they’ll just drag chairs out there if they need to. But, my mother is not at all concerned.  She worries my brother doesn’t eat enough.  She worries Jerry and I spend too much money.  She worries she won’t get the self-defense class she plans to take this semester at Kingsborough Community College.  But she doesn’t worry about earthquakes, hurricanes, or any other natural disasters. She’s a New Yorker.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

17 thoughts on “Hurricane Irene and the Dowager Duchess Face Off”

  1. How cool is that that you have a photo of the same view. How organized you must be to recognize it and know where that photo is! How many moves since it was taken???
    I love the expression on Jerry's face in the photo with your mom 🙂 Self-defense class??? Awesome!
    Glad your mom is ok. That howling would have been enough for me to tuck tail and run – what WAS that??? Creepy

  2. Linda:
    All is well in Brooklyn. I just spoke with my mother and she said the streets are already dry. When she was 71, my mother took a Spanish culture, history, and language semester, part of which was 10 days in Spain with a group of mostly young college students. They couldn't keep up with her.

  3. Peter:
    You know the Brooklyn Cyclones! I'm very impressed. My brother is a baseball fanatic (well, any sport). He and my mother have gone to Cyclones games but not this season. I've only just walked by the field a few times.

  4. Linda:
    I do have a great memory… for some things. I knew I had posted that picture just last month. And then there's that great "search" function on my blog (since I couldn't remember the name of the earlier post). I simply search "parachute jump" and there it was.

  5. Judith:
    We loved Downton Abbey. The Dowager Duchess is my mother in so many ways. When Maggie Smith as the Dowager Duchess said "What is a week-end?" we both roared and said "Mimi" (that's my mother)! I even told my mother her new nickname, although not ALL the reasons why it is so appropriate.

  6. Mark:

    My mother always compared herself to the princess in "The Princess and the Pea." So "old broad" doesn't really work, but she can be… daunting.

    Hope you weren't without power very long!

  7. Glad the Duchess is well. The storm doled out disasters intermittently – some areas were devastated while others were barely touched. New York State, Vermont were unlikely targets but got flooded pretty badly. Here in CT it was hit and miss as well.

  8. FDeF:
    Haven't connected with our friends on Long Island Sound (in the woods) in Connecticut, but have seen some awful images from Vermont. Hope you guys didn't suffer too much!

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