Squawk Radio

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Leslie Update!

For anyone reading the blog who might have discovered us recently, we adopted a family after the hurricane devastation in New Orleans. Our family is a single mom named Leslie who writes historical romances with her mother Christine; their writing name is Christine Holden. Leslie and Christine evacuated from New Orleans with Leslie's new two-week-old baby, her three-year-old and nine-year-old daughters. We decided to better Leslie and Christine's experience -- of losing their home and finding themselves in an unfamiliar state -- as much as we possibly could.

There was a lot we couldn't do. We couldn't make Leslie feel better about the dogs she left at home, thinking that she would only be gone a night (but this blog celebrated when Gigi found her way home after swimming out a window!). We couldn't help the fact that Leslie ended up living in a garage apartment way down a dirt road deep in the Texas countryside. But what we could do was rally to her side with as strong a show of sisterhood as this blog is capable of.

And let me tell you... WE ARE ONE STRONG SISTERHOOD!

There's all the bidding that lit up Ebay which Elizabeth described. But in addition women from all over the country send Leslie things, many of which made her burst into tears from the pure kindness of it. I can't possibly mention everyone (the thank you list that Leslie is working on contains 153 names). So let me just tell you about some of the things we received. Anke sent a TV and VCR she had in her basement; Peggy sent a Barbie stable and a laundry basket; Susan sent sundresses, and Nicole send videos. Erin send clothes, and Elsie sent half the Disney store. Franzeca sent the research books Leslie lost, and Debbie sent books she loved (and baby clothes). Andrea sent girly toys and videos, and Teresa sent a lovely quacking duck and kitty stickers. Jessica sent baby things, and Nancy sent a "strength" notebook and an encouraging note for Leslie's nine-year-old. Karen send jasmine candles, and Teresa sent beautiful soaps; Rex (or maybe Rex's wife?) sent a huge number of children's movies, and Kim sent beautiful embroidered t-shirts. J. sent measuring spoons and cups, and Anna sent socks and bath soap. Beth sent books and Elaine sent the first four Harry Potters in hardcover (!). Janet sent kitchen cloths and cookbooks, Andrea sent children's clothes. And there were more things as well... an outpouring of support and encouragement that made every day a little easier.

And finally...Laura T. decided to buy Leslie's family Christmas presents and make presents for her family this year instead. I don't have words for that generosity.

And these are just the physical things we sent. From all over the world -- seriously -- came cards for $10, and cards for $100; cards for the Gap and cards for Target. Cards for Walmart, and cards for Waldenbooks.

I can't tell all of you how much this meant to Leslie -- or what she would have done without it. As a young woman with a serious heart ailment, she's on disability. She and her little family have stretched each nickel that entered their house, and losing their house (it went entirely under water), has been a terrible blow. She's used the money we sent to buy gas to drive her daughter to school, and food to feed all of them. She's used the CVS cards to buy heart medicines.

And finally after all these months, FEMA just announced that they found her an apartment! It's unfurnished...and so now those cards will come to the best use of all, buying sheets and chairs and tables for Leslie's precious little family.

I asked her what she wanted to say and she started to cry.

But she rallied to say God Bless you All, and Thank You.

Eloisa James, 5:40 PM