Coming to grips with what was lost
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Being on the mainland afforded Dunn’s family a bit more protection from the storm, but not entirely. The house in Westchester went without power for 11 days. She couldn’t get to her house for six days. After seeing the damage, Dunn’s family and some friends ripped out the house. It was somewhat surreal, she said. “Everything seems like a fog, after six days I can’t remember, like birth. We did our whole house ourselves and with friends. Took out everything, floors, drywall, insulation. Everything. Beds, dressers, kitchen cabinets, refrigerator, stove, the hot water heater. I lost a dock and my deck. No boat, thank god, or it would have been in my back yard.”
And the house wasn’t her only concern. “The children [her students] lost so much time, we were barely two months in, I had been ill the week before, I hadn’t seen my students in three weeks. It’s back to square one. I still don’t see some in the rhythm of things. Students haven’t sat down and gotten serious about school. Their lives have been disrupted. Socialization seems more important than learning.”
In addition to worrying about her students, Dunn thought of the marine life she has living in nine tanks in her classroom, along with many plants and an ongoing tomato project. “The custodial staff feed the fish and watered the plants,” she said. “It is one less thing that you have to deal with. It’s an incredible relief the marine creatures weren’t dead.” Custodians Royal Pearsall and Jesse Stevens were the Good Samaritans.
LTA helped displaced teachers
Dunn has had company as more than 50 Lawrence district teachers were displaced due to Sandy, and approximately half that remain out of their homes, according to the Lawrence Teachers Association. “Nobody can understand what we are going through except for us and it’s not over yet,” said Dunn, adding that five other science teachers and a lab aide were displaced.
A large portion of Lawrence teachers live or lived in Long Beach, Oceanside and Island Park, said LTA President Lori Skonberg, who is displaced from her Oceanside home and living in Mineola.