Tomorrow night, I should be meeting my writing group at an amazing local coffeehouse in Historic Ellicott City. But I can’t, because it is functionally gone.
As a military brat, I’m only a transplant to Howard County, Maryland. I’ve been here since I finished undergrad, because it was where my parents happened to be stationed at the time. I stayed in Howard County despite over 10 years of working in Baltimore City, meeting and marrying my husband here. He’s been an Ellicott City resident since birth, and I finally put down real roots when we had a house built here (a few miles away from the flooding). It took a long time for an introvert such as myself, but I eventually pulled together a circle of local friends. I had things like a local pizza joint, a sushi place where everyone knew my name, and the beloved indie coffee shop that every writer needs. One day, I looked up and realized that I’d spend over a third of my life here. For this reluctant wanderer, it was amazing to finally have a home.
I’ve experienced loss of the physical in my life. My mother and I evacuated Clark Air Base during the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991, leaving everything we owned behind. A few years later, when my stepfather was transferred to Ft. Lewis in Washington State, our moving van caught fire during the cross-country drive and we lost almost everything again.
And even with that, I have absolutely no idea what the residents and business owners on Main Street must be going through. I know just enough to barely grasp the scope of it. I know enough to want to do what I can to help those people recover. I know enough to know that the city will recover.
She might be the artist of the group, but as someone who has also lived in Ellicott City her whole life, who has spent over a decade with Bean Hollow as opposed to my handful of years, Julia says it best:
I am still in disbelief that I won’t have the smell of Bean Hollow lingering in my hair and my clothes and my backpack Wednesday nights. That I won’t get to have the best damn corn muffin or hot chocolate that’s ever been made. That I won’t be sitting at that back table with my writing group tomorrow. That I won’t get to see awkward first dates falling in love with what I and many others call ‘my coffee shop’. Disbelief that the place I always feel at home in, no matter how far away or how long I’ve been gone for, is wrecked. I am glad everyone made it out of the building safely (and from Discoveries). I hope they frame the phone and put it back in the shop when it is rebuilt. I can’t wait to get back to my coffee shop.
We’ll miss you, Bean Hollow. We can’t wait for you to be back.
From the Howard County Government Facebook page:
Those looking to donate money or food can contact the United Way of Central Maryland which established a fund called “ECStrong.” Donations will be used exclusively to support humanitarian relief for the victims affected by Saturday night’s severe flooding. Those who wish to contribute financially can text ECStrong to 51555 or follow the link below:www.uwcm.org/ecstrong