Hubbard Creek Meets Sandy (With me In It)
By Barbara Bozzello
One spring day, months prior to Hurricane Sandy, My husband and I were driving on Red Creek Road in Hamptons Bays, off of Route 24 towards our home. It was a brilliant sunny spring day with the “Hampton Clouds” big cumulus clouds floating above, puffy whiteness against the blue sky. We saw a US Postal truck pulled off to the side of the road, by a small creek, Hubbard Creek. There were numerous birds fluttering above the truck and creek, my husband laughingly said maybe the mailman is delivering letters to the birds and squirrels. It was like a Walt Disney movie, I could almost see the multiple colour ribbons around the letters as the birds carried them away in their peaks to deliver to the squirrels and fish in Hubbard’s Creek. Little did I know what significance this road and creek would come to be and how much I would yearn for the normalcy of that day.
Hubbard Creek is nested in Hubbard County Park, boarders Flanders and Hampton Bays, NY- Hubbard Creek ascends from Grass Pond located in Sears Bellows Park in Hampton bays, winding salt marsh channels travels North West, vein-like under route 24, surrounds and goes under a small portion of Red Creek Road, until it ends in Flanders Bay, one of the Peconic estuary systems located on the eastern end of Long Island between the North and South Forks.The colour of Hubbard Creek is a rusty red, as well as the dirt and water, I always wondered if Red Creek Road was named after this creek; it is a deceivingly small creek, almost invisible that was until I saw it swell, mid-morning, the day of hurricane Sandy 10-29-12.
Nearly two hours before high tide, waters were rising in Flanders Bay ahead of hurricane Sandy’s predicted arrival. I was heading home on Red Creek Road I saw what appeared to be swallow waters across the road, not realizing that it was the creek. Other cars were passing through it so I proceeded and unfortunately my car stalled, then as the saying goes, I was in the creek and it was rising. Now completely alone I could see the water rising rather quickly, I could see the water steadily coming into the car. I called the Police and they told me that I should get out of the car if the water reached the level of my car seat, then he asked me if my name was Doris and was I stuck again and if I was blonde! Granted I am blonde but my name is Barbara and under the current circumstance I thought this was no time for a dumb blonde joke-although laughing inside maybe it was. Apparently there had been a blonde named Doris that the police just towed form this very spot. I called my husband and told him to meet me in the woods.
I got out of the car while the water was at the level of my knees and waded through until I reached the pavement of Red Creek Road. By now the Hurricane was in full swing, the scrub oak trees were leaning completely left then right then back again, as Sandy blew her song through Hubbard Park. I saw my husband Ray and we headed home together through the trails.
Needless, to say my car was totalled from the salt water.
The next day I met ‘Artie and the swimmer’…
at Rapid Recovery towing in Hampton Bays after they towed my car from Hubbard Creek,
when I first arrived after being directed by my insurance company to get all my personal
belongings and license plates from my car-I met these two men.
Artie was a big bear type of men and the swimmer was a kind of slimmer type-
he was called the swimmer because he was the one who would “swim”
and connect the cars to the tow truck that were under flood water. When I arrived they were told,
I was one with the dog paw on the back of my car, and they both were eager to help me.
As we walked into the back of towing yard,
there were many cars and they began to to tell me stories of each of the cars- from the hurricane-
one car as the swimmer explained, had water up to mid front windshield-
the owners had made a turn and entered a flood area,
tried to steer when they realized they were floating. There was a sad Jag setting there too,
but they couldn’t remember her story.
There was a car with its roof crushed from the aftermath of a tree.
They said I was smart because I got out of my car while the water was still to my knees outside of my
car, they said many stayed too long in their cars and could no longer get out without being rescued.
They stayed with me as I emptied out my car….
Things I found while emptying my car,
I found my mothers lipstick case with her pink lip stick and the mold of lips and remembered driving her to the Town of Southampton Senior Centre’
I remembered to take out my husband’s favorite sunglasses and thought of his kind eyes and thought of that beautiful spring day when the birds were delivering letters and knew normalcy would return again.
Artie kept reminding to keep looking because there are lot hidden spaces in your car
odd thing to say or maybe not,
I took theses precious memories from my car along with the multi brushes and nail files from my glove compartment. One last look at the drivers side,
I noticed a curled up piece of paper and realized it was the “lucky dog” scratch off $1.00 lottery ticket that I had brought the day of the hurricane-it was water soaked, but Artie and the swimmer were so excited that I found it and then promptly instructed to take it home to dry out-later my husband and I discovered we won $2.00 on this ticket, the way we reacted you would have thought we won a million dollars-or maybe we did.