Thursday, August 26, 2010

We're in Hurricane Season

The Great Hurricane hit the New England coast on September 21, 1938.  

A week or so later my mom and dad were married - October 1, 1938.  Often through the years they shared recollections about that storm.  They lived in Hartford, CT at the time.  The photo on the left shows Hartford right after the storm.  

I know my mom was worried that they might have to call off the wedding.  Fortunately, that did not happen and they ended up celebrating sixty-four years of marriage.  

Except in their sixty-fourth (2002) year both were suffering failing health and both passed on the following year (2003.)

Forecasters are telling us we are in hurricane season and to be prepared. 

Storms have always held a fascination for me.  I think because my sister and I while growing up heard the relatives talk about the Great Hurricane.   They told us it was as bad as it could get.  

This photo shows East Hartford, CT.   It shows the Travelers Tower, a place where my sister worked in the mid 60's.  It shows houses submerged under water.  Yet, I spent many summers there at a soda shoppe where my Aunt Mamie worked.  My sister and I stayed with her for a time when my mother was very sick.  This occurred in the early to late 50's.  I remember the old fashioned paddle fans whirling above the formica covered counters.  I remember the red stools that we often played on, twirling around in time with the fan.  My sister and I would tuck ourselves into one of the dark oak booths, enjoy the sundaes my Aunt Mamie made for us.  When we reached the age where we could read, along with those sundaes we also enjoyed all the comic books that filled one wall of the shop.  We had to be careful though.  Couldn't get any ice cream on the pages so that all could be returned to their respective slots after having been read.  Our favorites were Archie and Veronica.  Remember Betty, Jughead?  Also, Superman comics, Little Lulu, and many others.  We did end up buying more than we returned.  
I look at the photo of this bus with people trapped inside.  I heard about this story and thanks to the internet was able to find it and post it here. 

I remember taking the bus often from Windsor Locks where my Aunt Mamie lived to East Hartford where she worked.  I remember the smell of diesel fuel, and something else, I think pop corn.  I'm not sure why the pop corn.  I think because she would take us to lunch as Kresge's and there they had a huge pop corn machine.  Or maybe the recollection comes from those times Aunt Mamie took us to the theater (The Strand) where we watched the latest flicks and enjoyed that popcorn.  

I can only imagine the fear these people felt trapped in that bus with the rising waters swirling around them.
Yes storms hold a particular fascination for me perhaps because of these stories of people getting stranded, trapped, and eventually becoming rescued. 

When I started to write my story Stormbound at first I tentatively titled it Christmas in July!  Somewhere in my subconscious the story instead headed into a slightly different direction.  I had this cast of characters who become stranded inside a farmhouse.  (Did I mention the house my Aunt Mamie lived in we called, "the Farm!")   Each characters added to the story through their own quirkiness, flaws, and of course a few redeeming qualities.  

Storms test the spirit, as well as our ability to survive what they can throw at us.  I cannot look at photos of those who endure Katrina's wrath without wondering how they ever endured all those days not only during the storm but afterward. 

Storms remind us that we are not always in control of our destiny.  Storms come in many forms as well, not just those caused by meteorological occurrences.  Every person will at one time or another experience some form of storms within their lives. 

One of the things I came away with after writing my story STORMBOUND was that we can react like an oak tree, straight and strong, yet we may still become broken by the heavy effects of the winds.  Or we can allow ourselves to bend, to become pliant, enough so that whatever strong winds blow our way we in fact do survive.  

Hurricane seasons reminds us of that fact.  

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