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Sifting thru the Underwear Drawer

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty

By now you’ve all (hopefully) heard about the flooding that occurred here in the Nashville area last weekend. My family and I are fine, thankfully. Many, however, are not.

Saturday I got a call from a friend from church.  She was with a group doing cleanup in an area of west Nashville called Bellevue.  They were working at the home of a woman whose home was flooded and she wanted to know if I could wash some flood soaked clothes.  Of course I said, anything to help. 

Her son in law dropped the trash bags at my house.  They were full…and heavy…and waterlogged.  They smelled of wet and mildew and mud and a week’s worth of 80+ degree weather. I Googled the words “Flood damaged clothing” and found a slew of information about how to care for these articles.  Then, I set about the task of sorting the bags. As I sifted thru her most personal items, I kept asking myself: Who is this woman and what can I learn about her?

The first bag must have come out of her top dresser drawer.  It was full of socks, pantyhose, and other unmentionables. She appears to be about my size. The second bag was full of sweaters (some with the tag still on them), shirts, gloves, and shorts.  I could tell by the 4 mud crusted lanyards and various T-Shirts that she is a Tennessee Titans fan, just like me. There was one set from the inaugural game back in 2006.  My husband and I were at that same game with our two sons.  One lanyard had a pink ribbon pinned to it and I wondered if she was a breast cancer survivor.

I could not help but pray for her as I sifted thru the things that must be most personal to her. All the trappings of an everyday, ordinary woman. Just…like…me.

My washer is running and the smell of Lysol permeates the downstairs of our home. Flood soaked and mildewed clothing sits neatly sorted into piles on the sidewalk outside of the front door.  My hands smell of latex and rubber from the gloves I must wear so as not to get contaminated water on my skin.

I’m not out there ripping out drywall, subfloors, and such. MANY volunteers are helping with that. Two back surgeries prevent me from participating in those kinds of things. What I CAN do, however, is help bring some semblance of normal back to a woman I’ve never met…starting right there in her underwear drawer.

To read more about the flood or to donate time and/or money to flood victims, please visit Hands on Nashville.

Posted by


Beth Torrence, Broker, ABR, GRI
Keller Williams Realty
MAPS Coach
9175 Carothers Parkway
Franklin, TN 37067
615-403-6736 Phone
615-690-8994 Fax

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Diane Williams
Pell City, AL

What a kind lady you are. Clean clothing will be the start of that woman picking up the pieces of her life.  What you are doing is huge to her. God Bless you.

May 09, 2010 04:02 PM
Ken's Home Team LLC. | 360.609.0226 | Portland, OR & Vancouver, WA Real Estate Team
Ken's Home Team LLC. - Vancouver, WA

YOU ARE AN AMAZING PERSON, thank you for this, I know it is hard to do but you are doing it!! My wife and I were talking about that today, I am from GA and I know it is hard.


Thank you for you helping people! it speaks about you

May 09, 2010 04:04 PM
Beth Torrence
Keller Williams Realty - Franklin, TN

@Diane, It seems so small in the scope of things and yet I know every little bit helps.

@Ken, you probably went thru the same thing in GA last fall.  You just never expect it.


Thank you both for taking the time to read!

May 09, 2010 04:09 PM
Joanne Crum

Bless you Beth! I had a co-worker that suffered a house fire a few years back. The one thing that we could help her with was trying to salvage the family clothes with many cleanings. It's not easy work, but I can tell you that it mean't the world to her. You are truly a blessing!

May 09, 2010 04:56 PM
Joanne Crum

It certainly makes you count your blessings!

May 09, 2010 04:58 PM
Larry Brewer - Benchmark Realty llc
Benchmark Realty LLc - Nashville, TN

Beth - It will be a happy day for her to get her clothes back in good condition. The Bellevue area was really the worst for homes owners. This community seems to deal with disaster a lot differently than some of our neighbors to the south.

May 10, 2010 01:46 AM


Jul 30, 2020 12:44 AM


Jul 30, 2020 12:44 AM