Evacuation lets couple spend holiday with their parents

Improvised holidays


Tim and Caren Gallaudet don't always get to see their families for Thanksgiving. He is a commander in the Navy and has spent holidays on ships in the Pacific and in the Persian Gulf region. The Gallaudets have lived in San Diego and, most recently, Bay St. Louis, Miss.

But this year, Gallaudet and his wife are home. Sort of.

Their house in Bay St. Louis was washed away by floodwaters from Hurricane Katrina. The Gallaudets, their daughter, Laurel, 5, and their six dogs stayed for a week in a Pensacola, Fla., hotel before finding a family on Kent Island that would take them in.

Tim Gallaudet's parents live in Annapolis, and his wife's live in Southern Maryland, so, for the first time in a decade, the couple will be home for Thanksgiving. They will be at his parents' house today and her parents' home tomorrow.

"It's great for us to be with both parents," said Tim Gallaudet, 38. "Last year my parents came for Thanksgiving and Caren's parents came for Christmas. Now we'll have to lean on them because we don't have a house."

Since September, they have stayed in a furnished pool house that belongs to Pat and Mary Schimpf, who own a Kent Island horse farm.

The couple will move again soon. The Navy has transferred him to San Diego. They will move in two weeks and will celebrate Christmas there, on their own. But for now they will savor this Thanksgiving.

"It's nice to come full circle, to be back here with our parents and share this with them," Tim Gallaudet said.

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