I know I’ve been lucky

I have been reading of earth quake stories on various blogs. I have seen the pictures of Japan, the tsunami rolling over and entire village sending cars and houses tumbling like toy villages . I watch the news of the nuclear power problems. I watch, but there is little I can do from here except watch and feel for those people and contribute to the organizations that are trying so hard to help.
I have experienced one very tiny earth quake. We had lived in the north-west for a few years when one night, my husband and I were asleep when we both felt the quake. We woke up, turned to each other and said “I guess that was an earth quake.” It was, but not even big enough to do any damage.
I missed the recent Nisqually quake. Amelia was in preschool and had the children crawl under a table (the current advice then) . She crawled in there with them. One child asked her, “When will this game be over?” I am certain Amelia was as anxious for it to end as was the child.
I wasn’t there when a tornado hit my home town in Massachusetts. I was at my dad’s 25th college reunion. We returned home to find houses demolished a half mile up the road. Neighbors told stories of houses destroyed, yet glass milk bottles upright and untouched on the back steps.
I wasn’t there for my first hurricane on the Cape, but when we went to see the damage, I recall seeing the boathouse and boats destroyed. The planks that were used to make the pier to deep water every summer were strewn about.  Nails that had been in the boathouse in tin cans were scattered everywhere.. Granny paid my sister and I a penny a nail to find them. I didn’t become rich collecting nails, but I do recall sifting through the sand finding them.
The pier was never  built after that. The sand had drifted in so much, the deep water was too far away for a pier. The rocks where my sister and Helen and I played house were tumbled about. The rocks were huge. My “house” was a huge flat rocks set out like a desk. I found it after the hurricane. I could see the crayon marks so I knew it was my rock. It was toppled over, no longer placed like a desk.
I was a college student  the year Hurricane Carol hit the Cape. My husband-to-be was at summer school in Boston. He watched the boats smashing against the breakwater. On the Cape we had no power. We brought in an old kerosene stove for cooking. It took forever to fry an egg.  Going to the bathroom meant going to the back yard to the hand pump where we would pump a bucket as full as we could carry and haul it  to the bathroom. We also had to get water there for drinking as the usual source was full of salt water. It wasn’t hard on me but I am glad I didn’t have to cook. I do remember standing on the beach against the wind and just leaning, letting the wind support me. Cool!
My most interesting hurricane experience was at a lake in Maine. We were at a Day Sailor regatta. The winds blew in. The boats were on dry land and we were marooned with sailors and crew and two of my kids, then pretty grown up. The camp had gas stoves so we were well fed and we just waited it out ’til the wind stopped, stuck the boats in the water and went on with the regatta. It was a wonderful party. We returned to the Cape to learn that the power had been off most of the time we were gone. If we had stayed home, a tree would have demolished our car. The boat would probably have drifted to the shore and been damaged.
We had another hurricane in Florida where the police banged on our door at 3 AM and told us it was mandatory evacuation from Long Boat Key. My son, Bill, was visiting, for the Labor Day regatta. We stuck our stuff in the car and headed over the bridge to the mainland. We got the last motel room at the closest motel.We had beds but Bill got the floor. At some point they recommended evacuation again but we stayed. We bailed the water from the floor by the door overlooking the bay using the ice bucket. We walked to the harbor and watched boats smashing on the beach, and some boats being run against the waves by some poor soul who didn’t want his boat to join the rest. We returned when we were allowed back to Longboat Key. Nothing was hurt at our house.
I have had enough hurricanes. Now that I live in the west, I really don’t want to experience an earth quake.
My heart goes out to the people of Japan. It is hard to imagine, even with all the pictures on TV. I guess I have been very lucky.

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4 Responses to I know I’ve been lucky

  1. caroline524 says:

    It is always a good thing to take a few moments and think about how lucky/blessed we have been.

  2. Tam says:

    With all those events close to home, you can truly imagine the devastation in Japan. It made me think of not ever returning to the life one knew, and for some, that included family. You’ve connected me again to being blessed–thank you.

  3. Wanda Brown says:

    Here in the northeast, the hurricanes are not often or as severe as they are in the south, the floods not as bad as they are in the midwest, we don’t have mudslides or huge fires or earthquakes like they do out west. Our tornadoes are usually only F1. We have snow and ice but are used to it and it does not devastate vast amounts of people. Like you, I feel blessed to have escaped the kind of tragedy that is playing out in Japan. I don’t know how those people are going to find the strength they will need to endure but I hope and pray that they will.

  4. jodimahoney says:

    Watching all of the news reports is heartwrenching. It does make us take time to reflect on our own experiences. You’ve done such a nice job of putting together small moments and reflections about what could have been and what was from your viewpoint. Count your blessings.

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