My Hurricane Story

Soon, all the survivors of Hurricane Harvey and Irma and maybe Jose will be telling their hurricane stories. I don’t want to be left out; so I’ll tell you mine. Well, at least part of it.

It was late in August and hurricane warnings had been up for a day. Hurricane Irene was the name of this one. I had walked downtown to the local bar, Tavern on the Lake (soon to be called Tavern In the Lake) to have myself a hurricane with rum to commence the activities. My former sister in law Patty, was with me. We were hunkering down at her daughter Melissa’s house. My son, Clayton was staying back at my house with his father to stand guard. My daughter, Delaney was staying with me at Melissa’s.

The winds began to blow and the rain poured down. The worst part I think, the most terrifying, were the incessant tornado warning alarms. In the dark they are the worst. The kids were hunkered down for the night and us adults stayed awake… waiting. I’m not exactly sure of what; but it was a good thing we did because Clayton called and he was afraid. The dam had broke and he said the house was taking on water. The house was in a floodplain, and had water get close before, but this was different.

I don’t know about you, but when your kid calls and says “come get me,” you go get him.

My niece, Melissa drove. We did the usual route: Lincoln to Bank St. to…(no it won’t be the usual route.) At the factory, where the stream goes under the bridge, the water was above the bridge; way above. There were torrents of white water popping up in the air almost 20 feet. It was deafening, and I was mortified. My child was just downstream .

Melissa had a plan. We back tracked to her house. Amid the trees bending down to the winds will she figured how to get to Clayton. I will say it is better not to be out driving in a hurricane at 2 .am., but sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do. We went out to Stockton, to Rt. 130 to Center Dr. , onto North Main. We were close, just two more blocks to go. Down Mechanic, turning onto my street we saw the churning rapids. Clayton was waiting for us, armed with a case of water and a rain poncho. We had gotten to him, now we had to head back to higher ground.

The wind had picked up, but the rain had eased. As we made our way back to Melissa’s on the flooded, deserted streets I saw something I had never seen before or since.  The shopping center on Rt. 130 had retention ponds and they were so full. They looked like a glass of water filled to the brim, almost like a bubble and the slightest breeze would send it’s contents flooding into the streets. We ran the traffic lights to get away from it.

I guess you can tell we survived. It was a mess for a while and I lost a lot of stuff. It turns out I didn’t need any of that “stuff.” We had survived it. The following year, Super Storm Sandy came; but that’s a different story.

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