Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Columbus Day Storm of 1962


Tis' getting cloudy and windy outside, herald of a storm moving in tonight. It won't be near as bad as the storm which hit the Pacific Coast Columbus Day, October 12, 1962.

I was only four, but I remember the sky overhead bubbling like a pot of stew. The clouds were an odd yellowish green color, and the trees swished with a peculiar swinging motion.

Then Mom whisked my baby sister, little brother and me, with Zat the Canary, into a corner next to our big oak China buffet. 

As the wind began to howl, Mom remembers she said, "Let's pray," and my little brother and I dropped to our knees.  I don't remember praying, but I do remember feeling totally safe--as though we were in a place where harm could not stray.  

In the living room, we watched the wind bend the glass of the wall-sized window inward, until it shattered into a million pieces. All that glass flew past us, crashing out through the big kitchen window. Miraculously we weren't touched.   

Thinking back on my memories from my child's eye view, I strongly remember the sense we were inside a warm bubble of protection. I wasn't afraid one bit.

Then there was a lul in the storm. We crawled out the back window of the bedroom and walked to the middle of the field between our house and my grandparent's home.  The wind must have began again, but I don't remember feeling it against my face.  From my child's perspective, though I could see the wind bending the trees so their tops nearly touched the earth, we were still standing inside a bubble of still air.

We remained in the middle of the field.  Poor Mumsie was afraid to go inside my grandparents' place, because of what had just happened inside our house.  We watched as Grandpa's two-story barn sagged to its knees. Tons of hay blew out of the peak to hang in a giant hay ball in the sky--it looked just like a huge  bristling baseball. Then the top of our house peeled back like a can of sardines and flew away.

It is amazing that everyone, including Zat the Canary came through that storm in one piece.  As a kid, standing inside that warm bubble, I loved it all.

After the storm, Mom and Grandma cooked dinner on the old wood stove.  They had found meat in the freezer and had pulled fresh vegetables from the garden.  The stew was hot and good.

In the days after the storm, I have memories of sleeping in the living room to the music of rain dripping into cans everywhere on the floor. We didn't get our electricity back for quite awhile as I recall.

I hope we never have another storm like that one--I think I would have more sense to be afraid now that I'm an adult!!  Thinking back, I am grateful for that wonderful feeling of protection.  I am convinced God's mighty power kept us from harm that stormy day.

Funny thing, I've loved storms every since.  I suppose my heart still remembers how I felt as a child during that wild storm.

Here's a link to a great website with some extraordinary stories of survival during the great Columbus Day Storm of 1962:  http://www.opb.org/news/article/columbus-day-storm-more-memories-from-1962/