She can still remember how the clouds looked that day, rain falling on her community like someone was pushing, forcing it down with malice. It was an angry sky.
She got out of there, so she missed the initial deluge, but when she returned home soon after, she found her home mostly destroyed.
Annette Dorey looks at what’s left in disbelief. What was once her sanctuary, her deck by the brook is now condemned and will soon be torn down.
“This was my solace,” Dorey said at her former home on Brook Street. “A lot of memories. I miss the brook; I would listen to it every night.”
The brook, now calm, makes soothing sounds as it laps over rocks and cascades down tiny waterfalls. Looking past the obvious destruction, it’s peaceful.
But it’s hard to miss the debris. Fallen trees, tipped over structures, and the bank of the brook, which is now dangerously close to her mobile home.
Dorey laments about her treasured plants, including hosta, hibiscus, and a burning bush, now languishing in what’s left of her garden.
“That rose bush around the power poll,” Dorey says, pointing. “I got a slip of that from a client in Brookfield and it grew from that. Beautiful little roses every spring.”
Although the storm of Aug. 7 has long passed, evidence of the destruction it wrought can still be found everywhere. A wall of wooden planks and debris buffets Dorey’s former home.
She knows it’s time to move on and start the next chapter in her life. But at the same time, just seeing rain puts her on edge. She says she likely has PTSD and is inquiring about treatment with her doctor.
She lived in her Brook Street mobile home for 15 years after living in Truro and Brooklyn.
She retired from the Victorian Order of Nurses in 2011 and has been focusing on her gardening and reading ever since.
Brook ballooned into raging river
“I left here about five minutes after three o’clock… and I looked up at that sky and it looked like the froth from the ocean. It looked like we were just being dumped on with a pan or something. It was an angry, angry sky,” recalled Dorey.
“I’ve never seen anything like that.”
She drove in the torrential rain to Windsor and when the rain stopped, she stopped thinking about the wild weather she witnessed. Then she started getting some bizarre messages from people in Newport Corner.
She found out that a bridge, near her home, was out.
“I was outta there; I wanted to go home.”
She left Windsor around 3:50 p.m. to head home.
Nobody else was home at the time of the flood — except for her three cats, and she was worried about them.
When she arrived, she found that the small brook had ballooned into a raging river, surrounding her mobile home.
“My trailer looked like it was in a fishbowl,” she said. “It was surrounded by water.”
In her kitchen, the water was up to her window.
Her cats had to be corralled out of the building — all three made it out, wet and scared, but safe.
She didn’t come back until the next day to survey the damage.
“It’s amazing what water can do.”
Her home has been condemned and will soon be levelled. Many of her possessions were lost in the storm.
Some of those items have been found downstream, including her bicycle, which she’s hoping to get fixed.
“I don’t know where everything is; I’m looking for my socks,” she said. “It’s coming together.”
What items she has left are scattered amongst totes and bins spread out amongst family and friends. She’s slowly putting the pieces back together. She’s staying with family while she plans her next home — possibly heading back to the South Shore where she’s from.
She’s also dealing with her insurance company to come to some form of agreement, but she can’t talk specifics at this point.
One of the things that helped her get through the trauma was a little act of kindness.
During the deluge, a woman approached Dorey — someone she didn’t know. She took her hand and gave her a $20 bill.
Dorey attempted to refuse, but the woman, who identified herself as Marilyn, said, ‘no, you’ll need this. Take it.’
She gave her two big hugs.
Dorey says that woman was her angel.
“She turned around and walked away,” she said, with tears in her eyes.
“She was my angel,” she said. “I don’t know who she was, but I think about her all the time. She really helped me.”