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Monday, September 13, 2010

Hurricane Frederic, 1979

 Actual satellite photo of Hurricane Frederick Sept. 1979

It's funny the things you remember from your childhood. When James Bond and I were both 6 (and unaware that our paths would cross in 1992) and living in the same area. My dad was stationed in Pascagoula, MS, but we lived about an hour away in Daphne, AL, where both my parents had grown up, in a "garage apartment" (a two car garage with an apartment over it) on the street where half my dad's family still lived (and do to this day). James Bond was living out on Hollinger's Island, AL, where his family still lives. Since my dad was in the Navy, he had to go to his duty station, in Pascagoula and my mom and I went to my uncles house down the road.
A few days before Frederick hit, I had been in the hospital due to a very bad asthma attack. I think I may have been in ICU, but can't quite recall. I was hospitalized several times for asthma (stupid non-working lungs!) but they all kind of run together. Anyway, I got out of the hospital just a few days before Frederick hit and one of my doctors orders was that I say in a/c because the humidity was bad for my lungs. Enter Frederick.
I remember very little about the actual storm, other than laying in sleeping bags with my cousins in the long interior hallway at my aunt and uncles (we were supposed to be sleeping) and watching the huge slim southern pine trees bend so far over that they touched the ground out one of the big windows in the living room. I remember the wind howling and the rain beating against those windows. I also remember Bob Grip, one of the local news reporters for Mobile (he's still on the air, I think) standing in downtown Mobile and watching his hair move up in sheets in the wind because he had sooooo much hairspray. And really, that's it. It was a terrible storm, but really, I can't recall much.
Here's something I do remember though, in all its vivid horror. After the storm was over there was just wreckage everywhere and absolutely no electricity. It was hot. So, bloody hot. And humid. It was hard to breathe, but I did not want to go back to the hospital. They have needles there and aren't afraid to use them. Fortunately while our house was fine, the no a/c nearly killed me.
The pastor at the church we attended at the time lived up in Spanish Fort and had a generator. They graciously offered to let me stay with them (and their precious a/c which banished the terrible humidity) until the electricity was back. My mom agreed and we somehow made our way up to their house, even though the roads were badly torn up and trees were all over the place. My mom dropped me off and said she'd come get me when things were back to normal. Or, you know, as normal as they can be after such a devastating storm.
Again, I have little recollection of the time after Frederick except for one thing: milk. I hate milk. Hate it with the heat of a thousand suns (unless it's in cereal or has chocolate in it). The pastor and his wife (whose names I can't recall) put a glass of milk at my plate every freaking night with dinner. I told them I didn't like milk, but "milk makes you grow strong healthy bones" so I needed to drink it. Ack! I stared at that milk every night, practically gagging at the thought of actually drinking it. I was not allowed up from the table until the milk was gone, and since I didn't want to drink it, this usually meant it was luke warm by the time I actually got around to choking it down. Sure, I suppose I could have drunk it right away, but I was 6, what did I know? Also, there was the lingering fear that if I finished it before I was done with my meal, they might pour me more! I dreaded dinner time. I pretended to be sick. I cried, I begged, I pleaded, but to no avail. I had to drink my milk.
I was with them for a week or so and all I can remember is that damn milk. A huge, crazy, damaging hurricane ripped through the gulf coast and at the time, was the costliest hurricane to every hit, and my memories all revolve around having to drink milk. Shudder. Isn't it funny the things you remember?


cfoxes33 said...

Isn't it odd the things we do remember? Thanks for the stories.

Sarah said...

I can't stand milk either. Blech. (Unless it's in my cereal, then it's ok because it's sweet and mixed with stuff.)

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