On this exact date 17 years ago – the 22ND of August of 1992 – also a Saturday – we were given our final instructions and orders to evacuate the air base as quickly as possible due to the impending arrival of Hurricane Andrew. We had no idea what Andrew would bring, and it ultimately brought a once-in-a-lifetime storm of mass destruction to the base and the surrounding South Miami-Dade countryside.
It was the most horrific experience of my entire life – a Sunday night / Monday morning that I never went to sleep. I never wish to relive that night or the nightmarish week that followed. I don’t like to write about it, and I don’t like to talk about it. A lot of good ultimately came out of that storm. I’m pretty sure that I wouldn’t be living and working here in Homestead today 17 years later if it weren’t for Hurricane Andrew. I’d be elsewhere. But it happened, and here I am.
One song in particular was receiving heavy airplay on the radio during the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew. It’s the duet of Patty Smyth and Don Henley. Together they sang “Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough”. Patty co-wrote the Grammy-nominated song that played out like a post-love song. It was the story of two former lovers who were moving away from their relationship together and moving on with life.
I interpretted the lyrics in a slightly different manner:
‘I don’t wanna lose you.’
‘And I don’t wanna hate you.
I don’t wanna take you.
But I don’t wanna be the one to cry.
That don’t really matter to anyone, anymore.
But like a fool I keep losing my place.’
‘It makes a sound like thunder.
It makes me feel like rain.’
‘And there’s no way home.
When it’s late at night and you’re all alone.’
‘There’s a reason why people dont stay where they are.
Baby sometimes love just ain’t enough.’
This was treated at the time as my farewell love song to Homestead. I didn’t want to leave. But I had to. The Homestead that I had known for nearly 5 years prior to that was all gone. She was completely destroyed. My home was inhabitable. My job was non-existant. I looked at Homestead one last time in my rear-view mirror, as this song played on the radio and made me cry.