Wimberley family reunited with decades of memories

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WIMBERLEY, Texas (KXAN) — Families in Wimberley are picking up the pieces after their homes and things were swept away, but insurance policies don’t cover memories.

“We left in the middle of the night when the water came in the door,” said Rick Byars, a Wimberley flood victim. “Took our cars and took as many photographs as we could, loaded things money can’t buy.”

Byars and his family live 30 feet above the Blanco River, which is above the 100-year floodplain. They never expected a flood could be this devastating to the home they have been making memories in for 23 years. When they returned the day after the flood, those memories were still under water, but one item was missing.

“‘Oh, my God; it’s not in its space. This box is gone,'” recounted Byars. “And I came in and told Monica, ‘The box with our stuff is gone,’ and I just knew we’d never see it again.”

Little did he know, the box floated 19 miles to a home in San Marcos, the contents unharmed. It was a military surplus box he got 30 years ago, and it was packed with memories.

“It was the best storage I knew of to keep stuff from going bad over time, because that’s what happens. You put it in a cardboard box, and bugs get in it.”

Diplomas, report cards, wedding pictures — all still safe in the box.

“It just gives you hope that in all this disaster, that there are stories like this; this is just one of them,” said Byars. “Good things do happen.”

Experts with the University of Texas School of Information say wet papers, photos, books and other sentimental objects should be frozen — if possible — and not thrown out.

“Without archives, we don’t have our history. That goes for cultures and family photos, as well as personal archives,” said Karen Pavelka, with UT’s School of Information.

UT plans to host salvage workshops in areas most affected by flooding during the next few weeks. Anyone interested in hosting or attending a salvage session should contact iSchool.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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