Neighboring Grandparents Hit by FloodsMay 7, 2010 - 7:19 PM | by: Brooks Blanton
For John Singleton’s family — four decades of memories are now laying in piles — mud-soaked, molding and ruined from the historic floods that ravaged much of Tennessee last weekend. Singleton spent many boyhood days playing while visiting grandparents in Bellevue Manor Estates, a suburban neighborhood just west of downtown Nashville. Each day this week, he has been here from sunrise to sunset cleaning up what the floodwaters destroyed.
“Sunday morning they woke up probably about five or five-thirty and the water was already up to their back door,” Singleton said standing in a gutted out living room. ”The water got in this house about a foot and a half from the ceiling.”
The loss from the torrents of muddy water that ripped through this neighborhood of brick ranch-style homes is especially hard for Singleton’s entire family. Both sets of his grandparents live on Bellevue Manor Drive. In fact, they live right next door to each other.
“There was about two feet of water standing in the house and my grandmother asked me ‘do you think you could get my chest that has the pictures…the old pictures?”
His grandparents — all in their late 80’s — have lived side by side for more than four decades. While he works day and night to clean up the damage to his mother’s parents’ house, his uncles are next door, clearing out his father’s parents’ house. The massive task of completely gutting and cleaning up two flood-damaged homes has proven to be quite a challenge for his family.
“My father’s parents had four boys and cousins on that side so they are kind of focusing on my grandparents to the left,” Singleton said. ”And on the right, my mom’s parents — my brother and I are kind of focusing on them.”
With the help of friends and fellow church members — Singleton and both sides of his family are discarding memories of their entire lives onto the street to be carted off by garbage trucks.
“Everything here is a loss pretty much. And we’re just — the family’s just gonna come together and we’re gonna make it happen some how,” Singleton said.
Despite the enormous loss of family pictures, heirlooms, antique furniture and nearly every memory that two sets of grandparents accumulated over six decades of life — Singleton is just grateful all of them made it to safety during the storms. Neither set of grandparents has flood insurance, but Singleton says both sides of the family will stay strong to help them rebuild and recover from their losses.