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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim, Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

Dispatch from Lamar

To think that I would be counting down the days until I could be sitting in a classroom, listening to lectures about pop-culture theory was a thought that hadn’t crossed my mind all summer. However, returning to face-to-face classes at Lamar University has easily been the highlight of this entire Hurricane Harvey ordeal. No more worrying about damage, no torn up flooring, no basking in the tomb of my empty home, just simply engaging in the normalcy that comes with being a college student.

Walking through the doors of the communications building at Lamar breathed new life into my battered lungs. Seeing the familiar faces of professors and students settled my mind, and allowed me that sense of normalcy that had been eluding me ever since the rains began to fall. I was even able to make it to the television studio at Lamar where I spend a large portion of my school week. My mind was filled with memories of long Thursday nights spent at the studio. Even though those nights were chaotic and stressful, today I welcomed and even yearned for them.

The school days came and went that first week back, but the conversations with friends and mentors stuck with me. It didn’t even need to be a long discussion or what many would consider a meaningful conversation. A simple talk with people who I hadn’t seen over the course of that week
of isolation made me smile, and brought a sliver of joy into my days of recovery.

Tyler Hargraves room after Hurricane Harvey (Photo by Tyler Hargraves ’19).
Tyler Hargraves room before Hurricane Harbey (Photo by Tyler Hargraves ’19 ).

After a particularly rough day at school, I decided to travel out to Fannett, Texas and visit my home. I already needed to go out there to pick up some items, but I also felt drawn back to my home. Something felt different as I wandered the halls of my home by myself, though. I let my eyes linger on the concrete floors and misplaced items as I stood in what was once my living room. I examined the destruction through eyes that were unable to
filter out the pain.

I could feel the home hurting. It was stripped of all it was, helplessly abused by torrential waters that settled painfully into its being. I made my way through every room taking in all of that suffering. The agony and pain only sunk its hooks deeper into me as I moved from room to room. There was something about being alone in the house that tore away whatever protection another person’s presence had offered before.

The only room left to take in was my bedroom. I walked through the threshold of the doorframe and stood directly in front of my bed. A sense of melancholy settled into me. My room was unlike the rest of the house. The water-soaked floors, wet drywall, and waterlogged furniture still remained.
The place I would go to escape life and the world lay in utter ruin. Tears quietly ran down my cheek as I realized my place of comfort was no more. I would later return and piece-by-piece take apart my bedroom just like that storm had done to me. After hours of laboring I let out a deep sigh for I knew that, despite all the pain, within this empty room there was a road
to recovery.

The Dispatch from Lamar will be a weekly feature in The Hawk. Tyler Hargraves ’19, is a Lamar University communications major with a focus in film studies. Hargraves lives in Fannett, Texas.

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