Hello Harvey

By Lynn Chorn

You’ve all seen the horrific pictures and heard the gut-wrenching stories of Hurricane Harvey. It was every bit as devastating as you saw.

My home is two blocks from one of the main waterways in Houston, Braes Bayou. Thousands of homes drain to this bayou. Living so close means that water fills our streets very quickly and drains in minutes, even as the bayou stays full for days. Our 55 year old house had never flooded before, but the rainwater has come close because our back patio is low. We hoped that if we kept the water off the patio as we always did, it would be fine as it has been in every other flood.

But on August 26, the rain became torrential, and it didn’t stop. At one point we had two inches in eight minutes. My whole family took shifts sweeping the water away from our back patio and clearing the drains. At about 3am, we sent the kids to bed. The whole night, we kept the water off the patio, but the water in the street continued to rise, and slowly crept up our front lawn. At sunrise, the water obliterated the last tiny dry patch on our front porch. We’d failed to save our house and we were flooding.  It was slow, and agonizing to watch. We sat on the couch, soaked, exhausted, and defeated. I wept and said to my husband “This is the last time our home will be pretty.” We finally woke our kids and told them our house was, indeed, flooding. They started crying too, but we told them it would be OK, and that there was work to do.

As it turns out, we were lucky. We were able to stay in our house for three days and our lives were never in danger, while we saw helicopters airlifting our neighbors whose homes were completely under water.  We lost power, the sewer backed up into the toilet, the hot water heater, dishwasher, and refrigerator  died, and we eventually had to abandon our home and dispose of most of our furniture.  But we were lucky, and I am thankful. It could have been much, much worse.

During the flooding, I kept checking the cameras at Where The Winds Blow remotely but couldn’t see much. I knew it was on high ground, and we’d secured the merchandise and the store, but you always wonder. A staff member was able to go there and saw very little damage, to our HUGE relief! Another reason to feel grateful.

The whole city was under water for four days, completely shut down. But on Wednesday, even though almost nothing was open, many dedicated Where The Winds Blow staff whose homes didn’t flood came to work to pack orders and answer emails, even though USPS, Fedex and UPS weren’t even operating yet. I am so appreciative for their incredible commitment to our customers!

And to you, our Mah Jongg family. There was an outpouring of love and concern from customers, suppliers, and friends in the Mah Jongg community, asking us if we were safe and OK. You are such an amazing group of people! I can’t tell you how moved my staff and I are by your kind words and gestures, and how honored I feel to be part of such a special group. Again, lucky and grateful!

Houston will take a long time to heal as the scope of the disaster is nothing that we’ve seen before. We feel strongly about helping, and we are committed to doing so. We invite you to help us be a part of the recovery process. For the entire month of September, we are donating 5% of all sales to Hurricane Harvey Relief efforts.

Thank you for your support, and for your business.

Lynn Chorn, Owner, Where The Winds Blow

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