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John DiCarlo and Pam Becker were slated to close on the sale of their house in Moretown Village on Monday, August 29, the day after Tropical Storm Irene ripped out their foundation, tore off the back of their house, destroyed all their belongings and turned their lives upside-down.
DiCarlo and Becker were recently married and had planned to sell the house John had long lived in in Moretown so that they could build something together.
With the remarkable equanimity of a longtime practitioner and teacher of Tai Chi, John said that Irene’s destruction of their house gave them a chance to build a new house together.
“One of the reasons we stayed and decided to rebuild here was because of the outpouring of support from the community,” he said.
In the immediate aftermath of the storm, as he and his wife considered whether to rebuild and what to do, his wife suggested they could rebuild and rid the house of the negative energy of the storm by burning a sage stick.
“But then after so many people did so much to help us put the house back together she decided she didn’t want to get rid of all the good energy that had come into the house,” he said.
The foundation of their house was damaged during the storm and has been rebuilt to allow water to flow through it. Still visible from the newly constructed basement are walls from the old foundation.
“This house was not the original house to sit on this foundation. The house that first sat on the old foundation was swept away during the 1927 flood and it took out the bridge that used to lead to Grandma’s, north of the Moretown Town Hall,” DiCarlo said.
His house was brought to the site from elsewhere in Moretown Village and never fit properly on the foundation. Now it does.
“One hundred percent of what we had on the first floor was taken away. The decisions about whether to keep mementos from our parents and other stuff were all made for us. We had to embrace that freedom and the opening up it created for us. It’s a brand new house in an old shell and I think we were meant to be here,” he said.