This week is the 40th anniversary of Hurricane Anges. I know it was a tragedy and very costly natural disaster but personally, I have good memories about the occurrence.
I was just a kid and was spending the week in Carlisle with my great aunt, always a wonderful time. Her next door neighbors had a daughter my age and I looked forward to spending time with her. Her mom babysat small children, four and under so Crystal and I were generally sent out to fend for ourselves. It was a safe and friendly neighborhood at the time. We’d been roaming during my visits for years so everyone knew us and where we belonged so we were given pretty much freedom. If we were going further than around the block, either walking or roller skating, we had to check in first although there was a pre-approved corner store on the same street a few blocks away that we didn’t need permission to go to.
The year of Agnes it rained. Non-stop. Not that we let that stop us from meandering. But it rained so hard we were required to wear high rain boots and slickers. The boots, we kept on even when splashing in puddles that were extremely deep with water pouring in over the top. The slickers, more often than not, were left behind on the porch where we’d been sent to get us out from underfoot of Crystal’s mom and the kids she watched. Yeah, I admit it. We were really no help to her. We were too involved in our own games which the other kids were too young to include. Irva took us to ladies luncheons with her and my grandmother visited, teaching us to knit as we sat on the porch and watched it rain.
Fun but that only lasted so long before we were off to play in the never-ending storm. In the evenings, Crystal’s dad would come home with news of the latest flooded areas around town which led to excited chatter, okay outright begging, until he piled us in the car and took us out to see for ourselves.
The trip home was fascinating. We had to cross the Susquehanna River at Harrisburg. I can still remember the feeling of awe when I saw the extent of the area the floodwaters had claimed. I’m not certain but I believe I had to stay a few extra days that year, waiting for route 81 to be passable around the bridge.
Yes, Agnes did a tremendous amount of damage and was a horrific event for so many people. For that I’m sorry but I must admit I enjoyed it. It’s all in the perspective.