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Sanja Hunt and Maja Hunt interview about the Midwest floods of June 2008, Iowa City, Iowa, October 7, 2008

Sanja Hunt and Maja Hunt interview about the Midwest floods of June 2008, Iowa City, Iowa, October 7, 2008


Sanja Hunt and Maja Hunt interview about the Midwest floods of June 2008, Iowa City, Iowa, October 7, 2008


Interview with mother and daughter Sanja Hunt (57) of Zagreb, Croatia and Maja Hunt (32) of Iowa City, Iowa
Sanja (age 57) and Maja (age 32) Hunt, who own and operate the floral shop Every Bloomin' Thing, recall attempting to cater three weddings the weekend that their shop was flooded. Maja's home was turned into the store during the flooding. Sanja discusses preventative measures taken when restoring the store's building, so that restoration in the event of a future flood will not require as much time and resources.
We own the flower shop Every Blooming Thing. From our porch can see the river. On Friday the 13th of June time was like a whirlwind. We started evacuating 10 days before flood (00:50:00) -- Maja was called Thursday morning for notice of evacuation (00:01:47) -- The grass got so saturated, could not get into driveway. Had three weddings that weekend. On Saturday there was five feet of water in the store. Getting flowers ready for weddings was a problem. The store was evacuated on Thursday; weddings were to be on Saturday, didn't know where the weddings would take place (00:02:05) -- Receptions: IMU reception canceled; Englert changed; reception at the Marriot canceled; Maja called Sanja at 8 a.m. asking for help, they pulled it off - 3 weddings completed; married just before thunderstorm came through 3:30 p.m. (00:04:11) -- Water was low enough for ducks to swim; water receded to ankle deep; every single thing in the store was upset; unbelievable stench; had to step over everything; everything collapsed into mud and water. The funny thing that the front door was not busted. The store clearly did not have rushing waters, but was still devastated; flowers were dying of thirst; water was coming in from every crevice it could find; cooler doors were broken (00:06:20) -- Sanja - I did that on purpose (leave the lights on) (00:10:13) -- Maja - "Honey everything is floating" I did not have the emotional strength ; 1993 went over the road and then went down, it was nothing like '93; eerie quietness, everything was silence, we are used to hustle and bustle for weeks it was like that; the stench was terrible; no action going on anywhere; water picked up the picnic table and was propped on the fence (00:11:02) -- Maja- It's been 4 months and we are still recovering; wore flashlight on my head like a miner; bus, worms, stinky, slimy; I know how much glass was back there; no way to bring machinery in. Had to pick up glass one piece at a time (00:13:50) -- I worked every night. Cost $625 to rent a Wetvac, it was the first thing I bought to suck out water (00:15:25) -- Every night for weeks I did not go home after dark knocking down dry wall; take & toss all electrical wires, every piece of wiring and insulation ripped out; the floor bubbled; it seems like it is still dragging on & on (00:16:12) -- If we flood again we will rip the building from the outside. We have rubber wall & everything on wheels & stainless steel. Everything can be power washed (00:17:20) -- I lost count at 16 dump loads of trash taken out from the store, everything toast (00:18:00) -- I don't ever remember having been so scared moving the coolers so no one will get hurt (00:20:00) -- All brides got married, & daily flower delivery; business dropped off 30%; routed drivers (00:20:52) -- Sanja's whole house was full of flowers. As devastating as it was, we found ways to make changes for the better in the store. The flood as "a break & learning experience" - Sanja - when lost employees I learned things I never would have learned otherwise (00:22:00) -- "Non-stop, everyday" (00:23:00) -- So much stress accumulated. Got quite a few calls from individuals in the neighborhood worried about our business; people stopping by & letting us know they cared (00:24:00) -- Maja - I thought I could whip everything in shape, but no, it is painstakingly slow, slow progress; cooler has been there for three weeks & still not done; "If it floods next time, Coralville City will be knocked out;" I would go crazy if we had to suffer through a new flood (00:25:00) -- "Barely be ready for Thanksgiving;" nice to see businesses come back in the area (00:28:00) -- We lost everything that could disintegrate in water - baskets, ribbons, stuffed animals. "Everything gone," documents lost. Maja - I thought water was going to be 3 feet in the building, brought everything up to 4 feet high. We lost all our cards; had just paid $625 for new cards, just paid the bill. Lost every balloon…"the little things I forgot about." Every time I turn around I see a new thing; lost all paper to wrap plants in (00:29:00) -- The ceiling sagged from moisture. Ripped out the entire ceiling, it is now bare. But it looks good now; high efficiency windows; a lot of energy improvements (00:35:20) -- When people come in they like it, airy, space, floor, "I think floor looks great." Sanja - we've learned a lot; place looks great; learned how to run the place & how to rely on each other. "This event in people's lives, go into a state of shock, and you just do, you react." "What are you going to do if you flood next year?" "Can't worry about it" (00:37:00) -- I don't think we could have relocated. The location was very important for our store. Four weddings & a party using only Sanja's kitchen 8 x 12 feet, no garage, nothing, used entire house, created a green house in bathtub, converted one of bedrooms into a cooler. Are glad to have customers and be back in business (00:40:10)


Hunt, Sanja; Hunt, Maja


University of Iowa. Dept. of Anthropology; University of Iowa. Libraries. Digital Research & Publishing




Saide, David


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Iowa City Flood
Flood Oral Histories






Oral histories (Document genres)