“Bob”–A Hurricane By Any Other Name

In June of that year, my fiancée and I bought our home. It had been 3 years since my 2nd husband died of cancer that went the route–lung…bone…brain. My fiancee was a widower whose wife died of breast cancer. This would be our new beginning.

We’d gone ahead with purchase, since we absolutely loved the house. But we weren’t married yet, since we were Catholics and I awaited a technicality—the annulment of my 1st marriage. My fiancee didn’t care about a Catholic wedding; he wanted to go before a Justice of the Peace but I wanted it. I was told I’d soon have the annulment and we made plans accordingly.

Two other buyers wanted the house but both were conditional sales. We came in at full price—the only contingency being our ability to get a mortgage. Since both of us had excellent jobs and great credit scores, that would not be a problem.

But, in a colossal turnaround, the house we’d selected—the one we were told we had—was suddenly ripped from under us and it went to one of the other buyers.

Over the next week, a crazy situation played out, when the other buyer defaulted. The house came back to us; we signed documents; it was ours.

But then a far more terrible thing happened.

My fiancée died. He suffered a heart attack and lived one day. When he died, I absorbed the twin trauma of losing this man I loved and becoming solely responsible for the mortgage for this new house. Compounding that, I still owed a mortgage on the other home I’d just vacated—a 3-story Victorian in Edgewood.

Because our “new life” was so cruelly upended, I determined to take whatever funds I could and go to the Balsams Resort, in New Hampshire, up by the Canadian border, with my 2 girls to enjoy a few days away. My older daughter would only be with me for 2 more weeks (from her college in Pittsburgh); my school year as teacher would start; I could deal with the looming financial crisis later.

So, we went.

On our 2nd day, in the little room on the ground floor, 20 or more people gathered around the lone TV set (no TV’s were in the rooms to encourage outdoor activity). All was focused and eerily quiet. It was then I heard from the national weather forecaster: “At this moment, Hurricane Bob is breathing down the neck of Rhode Island.”

I stood, frozen, unable to believe what I was hearing.

Our 2 homes (the ones I owed massive money on) were both unprepared and vulnerable. I saw our new home with the 2 large picture windows and the big inground pool, with giant trees ringing the property a disaster zone. I envisioned the patio umbrella a javelin into some neighbor’s window.

The name of the Hurricane? Bob.

My fiancee’s name? Bob.

This happened on August 19, 1991, 30 years ago, today.

At the time, I railed at God, wondering when He was going to stop testing me.

It had been a long road already.

P.S. I got the annulment–one month later.


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