Roy Nimmo has lived long enough to keep things in perspective.
He built his Williams Township home in 1948, after World War II, and spent his first two years there hauling his own water. In the great flood of 1955, the creek behind his house overflowed and inundated his first floor.
Even though Nimmo, 92, was without electricity Tuesday, with trees and limbs down across his Browns Drive property, he was able to grit his teeth and bear it — as residents across the Lehigh Valley were forced to do in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
The hurricane roared into the area Monday night, with wind gusts of up to 80 mph that snuffed power to hundreds of thousands of people. Two area people died, a teen from Wind Gap in an all-terrain vehicle crash, and a Berks County man when a tree fell on him.
"I've lived through worse times than this," Nimmo said. "But you always find a way to survive. That's the name of the game, I guess."
Stories like Nimmo's were easy to find in the region as widespread outages closed schools, businesses and stores for a second day and took people back to a simpler time before television, the Internet and long commutes to work.
Then there were those who felt lucky to be alive.
Joe Konrath of Allentown was on his way home from work as a product manager at Backstage Library Works in Bethlehem on Monday evening when he came upon a red light at W. Union Boulevard and Pennsylvania Avenue. As he waited, a tree at the corner uprooted and crashed onto his car.
"It was one of the scariest things I've experienced in awhile," Konrath said.
Trying to contain his panic, Konrath dialed 911 on his mobile phone after realizing he couldn't get out through his door. He said he squirmed to the back, where he was able to exit via the rear passenger door.
Police said Konrath could have been crushed if the tree had snapped. Instead, it just fell down in one swift motion, with the roof of his car taking the brunt of the blow.
About 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, water began coming through the ceiling of the 13th Street apartment building in Allentown where Carol Schenck was staying. Someone knocked on the door and gave Schenck the news: Wind had ripped off the roof.
Schenck, her fiancee and children Ashlee, 6, and Alyssa, 9, packed a few things in a bag and headed for the Red Cross shelter at the Allentown Fairgrounds. The family crept through a darkened room amid about 30 people trying to bed down for the night and found a few Army cots.
About noon Tuesday, Schenck and her family were still there, among the 19 adults and six children sleeping on cots and eating donated chicken noodle soup. Schenck's fiancee had gone out to get food and Ashlee and Alyssa played Monopoly on the concrete floor next to the cots.
"It could have been worse," Schneck said. "I could have been in New Jersey."
Nestor Lugo, who lives on Sixth Street in Allentown, said he lost the roof of his apartment building Monday night. He heard a crashing noise and "all the people go outside," he said. Emergency workers allowed him to go back into the apartment to get two bags.
By midday Tuesday, nobody had told him when he might be able to go back to the apartment.
Schenck and Lugo were exceptions among those who visited shelters. The Red Cross opened the shelter about 11 a.m. Monday, said emergency management coordinator James Spang. Evacuees came and went. Many came in to get warm, charge cellphones or "regroup" Spang said.
Others decided to rescue their pets. When the power went out at their home on Hastings Road in Bethlehem, Cindy Segar and her daughter, Danielle Vega, packed up their 7-month-old cockatiel, Marco, and headed for the Red Cross shelter on City Line Road.