Editorial: Flooding? These homeowners just deal with it

  • Mani and Susila Subramanian look over the flooding outside their home on Big Bend Drive, where they've lived through periodic floods since 1984.

      Mani and Susila Subramanian look over the flooding outside their home on Big Bend Drive, where they've lived through periodic floods since 1984. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

The Daily Herald Editorial Board
Updated 7/19/2017 10:14 AM

After days of reading articles about flooding, sandbagging, record crests, disaster declarations and cleanup efforts and knowing this has happened several times before, there was a simple question a Daily Herald editor wanted answered.

Why do they still live there? After all, residents on Big Bend Drive in Des Plaines, for example, have seen the devastating effects of a swollen river that surrounds their homes on three sides in 1986, 1987, 2008 and 2013. That's a lot of 100-year flooding in 30 years.


The answer was a simple one. And it should stop the questioning from that editor and anyone else who wonders the same thing. Because, as the saying goes, a man's home is his castle. And who cares if that castle has a moat that floods.

"In some ways, it's the most beautiful place to live," said Mani Subramanian of the house he's owned since 1984. "This is so serene outside."

He told Daily Herald reporter Christopher Placek that he chose not to apply for a voluntary city buyout program (yes, some did and are thankful for it) because of the memories he and his wife and family made in that house. He's staying put. "This is my first house and this will be my last house," he said.

It was a similar story told to reporter Lee Filas in Fox Lake by homeowner Louis Igyarto, who has seen waters rise often in his 25 years on the lake.

"I love pushing my canoe in the water, paddling around the lake and going somewhere," he said. "Anytime I want, I can put the boat in and go. It's freedom."

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He adds, "It's heavenly to me."

For landlubbers in the suburbs, such an attitude may be hard to fathom while watching reports of the last week. But whatever the reason you bought your home, it's not always easy to pack up and say goodbye, despite what Mother Nature throws at you. That's why California still has homebuyers in the land of earthquakes and wildfires and why people rebuild when tornadoes roar through rural towns in the Great Plains.

And those who choose to buy and stay in areas that potentially could flood are kindred spirits with their neighbors who have chosen a similar path.

"We've lived here a long time. We've gone through a lot of floods and after a while, you just know what to do," said Barb Lindahl, who lives along the Fox River in Algonquin. "You just get used to it, and you do what you can for your neighbors or anyone else that needs your help."

Beautiful indeed.

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