The Effects of Irene
by Bobbie Torstenson
Six weeks ago today, we were sitting home listening to the rain but waiting for the expected wind and for the lights to go out. We noted increased traffic on our back road, which runs parallel to Route 7, and thought there might have been an accident. We had no idea until a friend called from out of town, saying “Brandon was cut off”, that anything was wrong. We went downtown to investigate, finding a large section of Route 7 was washed out; then news reports started to come in, and the significance of the severe devastation everywhere became known.
Personally we lost little, except for our Kitty who was a victim of the increased traffic. However collectively, the effect has been over-whelming and for some will never again be the same. It took 5 days for Bert to even reach friends by phone in the Rochester and Granville areas; and although traffic was restored relatively quickly thru downtown, other roads are still impacted. When the call for volunteers went out, I helped to co-ordinate assignments, the distribution of donations and services, and the feeding of the workers. It was exhilarating yet humbling to be a part of such an effort; we had people coming to help from Middlebury College, local businesses, families from Hinesburg, Cornwall, and Shelburne, and donations from as far away as Essex Junction. The sense of community and the amount of dedicated service was wonderful. I have since traveled to Springfield via Route 103, seen the extensive damage along the Cold River and heard of the upheaval in Cavendish from Diane. More recently I was still not prepared for my first trip over Route 4 through Bridgewater, Killington, and Woodstock!
For MVP, our hearts go out to the Gillam family for their over-whelming loss, to the Bones family for their increased stressors, and to Gary and others who overcame the challenges presented by closed roads or businesses. The Brandon Town Players’ storage area in Forestdale was fully engulfed in flood waters, with significant losses of furniture and set materials. The Brandon Thrift Shop remains inaccessible, and the House of Pizza is gone......still lots of changes to come. For multiple reasons MVP decided to cancel our planned Fall production for mid-October, and I for one am grateful for the reprieve. This has been a time to reflect and re-establish priorities; to help define our goals and expectations, and to determine a means to reach them. We need to strengthen our MVP community and develop a re-newed sense of purpose. We need fresh ideas, and more energetic individuals, who are focused and dedicated to live Community Theatre. Please join us in this effort.