Ruby (86 years young) Still Stranded by Sandy
Organized by: Ruby Kast
Ruby Kast via Crowdrise
August 07, 2015
In her own words...
"I am an 86 year old widow and a life-long resident of Massapequa. I taught elementary school for 25 years and currently work as a substitute - yes, still working at 86. Why? Because my home was completely destroyed by superstorm Sandy and condemned by the state. I have been displaced 3 times, and am currently living in an apartment that I am very fortunate to have. It's been almost three years and I'm trying to rebuild, but I have run out of money. In addition to paying rent, I pay taxes, home insurance and flood insurance for a house I do not have. I have dealt with the bureaucracies: FEMA, NY Rising and the Town of Oyster Bay. I have filed document after document and I'm told I still am a few documents short. I am getting so tired. Many ask why I just don’t give up and stay in the apartment - it is because I cannot bring myself to leave the past, the life we worked hard to build, what made us who we are, in rubble.
My husband and I, along with our two sons, lived in our home for 58 years. I met my husband in college when I was 17 years old, and he was a 22 year old just returning from serving in the Army Air Corps during WWII. He served as a navigator on a B17. While on their 8th mission, his plane was shot down and he was captured and spent 10 months in a German prison camp. While at the camp, he was not properly cared for and suffered several bouts of pneumonia, along with so many other things. As a result, he had lifelong lung problems. We married in 1949 and had a miraculous marriage. He was truly the most wonderful person I ever knew. I taught elementary school for 25 years and was fortunate to be able to retire with my love for 9 years before he passed away. He died in 2003 and I lost my soul mate, best friend and partner. How lucky I was to have had such a great love.
After Wally died, I went back to work that September. I was 74 at the time, but I knew I couldn't stay home alone. Working as a substitute teacher was the perfect solution. I love the children and feel so blessed to be able to do this work, but the reality is that I have to. I am truly trying to help myself. I don't, nor have I ever wanted handouts, but each day, it becomes more difficult. Prices of building materials go up, more permits are required and the money provided by all the organizations who are there to help, just doesn't cover all of the unexpected costs. I just want to get my house built so I can return to my home - not my house, but my home where I raised my family and celebrated life with my one and only love!"